Healthy and Sane

Off the wagon

March 8th, 2012 · 22 Comments · chicken, Cooking Light

Hi hi! How are you guys? I missed you. I promise!! I realized the other day that I haven’t blogged in over a week (despite a serious back log of recipes, product tastings and events I wanted to share with you) and I figured out why. Since we’re all about honesty here, I thought I should just go ahead and over share… I’ve been struggling with my weight lately and writing about food was making me anxious. I’ve finally turned some things around (in a little sheepish way) but I’m feeling better and don’t want to feel like I’m hiding anything from you guys, so here it goes…

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I’m back on the dieting bandwagon. At least for a little while. I know I said I was done with dieting for good and maybe I forgot the struggles and ups and downs associated with restrictive measures (and need to relearn this lesson), but honestly – I got tired of the mental capacity intuitive eating requires. I still believe it should be everyone’s (including mine!) ultimate goal. I want to have the freedom to eat what my body and mind desire, drama-free. But in order to get “there,” you need to do a lot of digging and self-evaluation and discipline (yes, intuitive eating requires a lot of discipline… at least while you are learning the ropes of it) and at a time where I’m dealing with so many changes and emotions in my life, I just need a little break from all of this work.

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Leaving my job created a lot of possibilities, but also a lot of old and new emotions. I still struggle with unrealistic expectations about how much I can accomplish in one day (which bring about anxiety and disappointment), perfectionism (in every aspect of my life… which turns into a lot of discomfort when I can’t completely control everything that’s happening… even myself), laziness (yup, I said it… that carries a lot of guilt too) and loneliness (that’s a new one from being at home alone during the weekdays…hoping to change that when my business launches!). Guess what? To cope with it all, I found comfort in food. Followed by shame. Here I was, finally pursuing my dreams and still dealing with my shit in the same old ways.

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I tried pep talks and inspirational books, but like I said – it was all just too much for me right now. My weight gain was making me uncomfortable and I just wanted to get rid of it first and deal with my issues later. I know a diet is a band aid, but I feel like that is what I require right now. I own this decision. I think some of you may relate.

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So anyways, I tried going back to calorie counting. I couldn’t do it this time. It was too flexible. I was good for a few days, then I would totally blow it the next day (of course stopping tracking once I was over my daily allowance)… and starting over seemed harder and harder each time until it gave me so much anxiety I would start overeating right away (this is why I decided that I was done with the diets in the first place – it created this vicious cycle!). So I’m now doing something that’s a lot more restrictive just to shock my body a little and take certain trigger foods (chocolate, I’m looking at you!) out of the equation. On Monday, I started the 2-week phase I of the South Beach Diet. For the next 2 weeks, I am restricting my sugar intake and eliminating most starches from my diet (basically, it’s a low carb diet for the first 2 weeks) and then I can bring back some whole grains, fruit and booze back. This first phase is the one I’m most excited about because it is already teaching me that discipline I’ve lost (and the scale has finally reversed direction!). Because the foods I normally would turn to in my discomfort are not available to me right now, I am forced to find solutions that don’t involve food. And that’s the best “side effect.” I really am feeling better already! By the way, Adam is doing it with me so I’ve been extra motivated. There will be no cheating here!! We are in it together.

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PS – Even on a diet, I refuse to eat “diet food.” This chicken cacciatore recipe from Cooking Light was incredibly delicious, diet or not. Skinless chicken thighs are well seasoned and beautifully seared, then baked over a medley of peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms. I omitted the shaved parmesan topping because I was lazy and the meal was fantastic without it, but I think the cheese could add a nice sharp bite to the dish. Highly recommended! Smile

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Are you an effortless healthy eater or do you sometimes need the kick your own butt and get a little more “serious?”

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22 Comments so far ↓

  • #1 - Julie (A Case of the Runs)

    Eating right is definitely not effortless for me. I am just coming off of a month of “low bread and sweets,” and each day was so hard. And yes, I’ve been making up for lost time, but I get the sense that everything will even out soon. I always blame my job for the unnecessary noshing, so I think the change of environment would be good for you.

  • #2 - Amy

    I nodded my head right through this entire blog post. I am experiencing everything you’re describing! I too left my job and although for good reason and have plenty to keep me busy I also struggle with the back and forth of either trying to do too much in a day (and feeling bad when I can’t be superwoman) and laziness (and feeling bad even though in reality I’m not being remotely lazy). And I also had to “shock” my body to force myself out of my terrible eating/drinking habits. I went the route of a one-day-cleanse followed by restricting what is in the house. I hear you with the food blog it is so hard! So I decided to use my blog as a catalyst for eating healthy and I’ve been focusing on homemade veggie/fruit smoothies, homemade soups/salads, and healthy recipes.
    Sorry for the LONG post, its just so good to hear someone else talk openly about all the same things I’m currently experiencing. Good luck and keep telling us how it’s going! I’ll be rooting for you!

    • #3 - Elina

      I like long comments. Keep ’em coming 😉 Also love your approach to use your blog as motivation to keep eating healthy!

  • #4 - Colleen

    I feel ya…healthy eating is not effortless! I go through all sorts of ups and downs. I’ve been trying to keep things pretty strict with healthy eating during the week, but it’s so easy to blow it on the weekends (with booze, late night eating, brunch, booze with brunch, etc). And I think the “to diet or not to diet” question is really interesting, and one I’m really on the fence on. I find that I just can’t keep to a diet, but I know it works for a lot of people as a short-term kick-in-the-butt and there’s nothing wrong with that!

  • #5 - Michelle

    At least once a year, I go on a month-long Phase 1 of South Beach followed by a month-long Phase 2. I do it to get my eating back on track – especially meal portions. It also allows me to try new recipes. Do what works for you…and stay happy. :-)

    • #6 - Elina

      Interesting. I kind of like that as a reminder of what you’re aiming for all year long :)

  • #7 - Lauren at Keep It Sweet

    Thanks for the honesty! When I had tried intuitive eating a couple of years ago I had a very similar experience. Since then I have been back to counting calories / weight watchers. I will say, though, that the IE experience taught me to be more aware in these “diets” and I do still hope to one day be able to just eat intuitively as well.

    • #8 - Elina

      Same here. I’m still trying to eat mindfully and not just blindly follow a diet’s guidelines. There are lessons in every experience, right? :)

  • #9 - MelissaNibbles

    Healthy eating isn’t easy and it doesn’t come easy for anyone. We have to make choices at every meal about what is healthy for us at that time. I don’t know very much about the South Beach diet, but I hope it’s something that’s more of a lifestyle and something you can live with because otherwise it will be hard to maintain. Good luck, I hope things get easier for you!

    • #10 - Elina

      Yup, phases II and III are pretty much how I like to eat anyway with a few minor adjustments, focusing on lower glycemic load (so adding protein or fat to sweeter things). I don’t even know if I will be following the diet to the T after the first few weeks, since I’m comfortable with how I eat… minus the overeating on the sweets. That I will continue working on. No whacky diets here 😉

  • #11 - Rhonda (@diningalone)

    You just have to do what works for YOU, don’t worry about anybody else. That chicken looks awesome, thighs are always tasty…skin or no skin. Good luck!

  • #13 - Ali

    Bravo for putting it down on paper, hon. That is step one. In any case, I am looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday and catching up! xoxo

  • #14 - DeeDee

    This post is a page out of my life….every single word. I am ‘on the wagon’ right now with IE. All this information out there about what we should and should not eat has made my food issues worse. I have always had a slight problem…but why is it SO much worse now? I feel that I have been trying too hard to eat right and then when I mess up one little bit, I lose contorl completely. So, I cannot mentally be on a diet, I just cannot. This week, I have been taking Omega 3’s and drinking a honey/cinnamon tea in the AM and PM to help with mood and energy, which gives me the ability to eat intutively. The binge feelings dispappear for the most part which makes me wonder…do I really have an emotional binge eating disorder or is it truly an imbalance that the Omega’s and the honey/cinnamon even out. I have NO idea, these are just things that are going on with me now. Good luck and thanks for your honesty.

    • #15 - Elina

      Good luck with figuring all of this out. It’s definitely a worthy goal!!

  • #16 - Lydia

    Hi. I thank you for the post and I can relate to it. I think the problem is that we all have endless choices about what to cook and eat. Period. I am starting to realize that it doesn’t matter what you CALL it (diet or IE), I still have to eat healthy, sensible portions to maintain my weight loss. That means some sort of structure. If I want to maintain, I cannot eat whatever I want, whenever I want. I can plan for and include foods that are less nutritionally-sound and enjoy them. How is that a diet? I guess I don’t understand the “non-diet” bandwagon. As you show, there are plenty of lower-calorie satisfying and nutritious meals to enjoy.

  • #17 - Laura Khait

    Hi Elina! Thank you so much for sharing this! I can so relate to the tumbler of eating philosophies that are out there and I probably own a book on each one. It is so important to stick to something that does not make us crazy and gives us some serenity around food. I too, once thought that diets were evil and that I was done, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with being on a diet, per se, as long as we release the judgement around it. Plenty of people go on diets short-term, and if it is not super restrictive, it can definitely catalyze a long term weight loss, which is probably what you and I both want. I find that the less I harshly judge what I’m doing, the better I feel and the more readily I can stick to something. I commend you for your honesty and for trying something different. Declaring that you were done for diets may have been true for the time before, but now you have evolved towards a different approach, and what’s wrong with that? Best of luck and looking forward to hearing about your progress!

  • #18 - Alaina

    For the most part it’s pretty effortless for me to eat healthy, but there have been weekends or week long vacations where I will just eat and enjoy myself, but then have to get back into eating better when I get home. But I think, for me, that’s the key to a healthy lifestyle. :-)

  • #19 - Sophie @ Love Live & Learn

    I’m sorry that you’ve been struggling with some negative emotions lately, it’s never easy to have change because it will always bring to light certain issues. I think you’re handling it in a really positive way though, it seems that this is the right thing for you to do right now!

    Lent for me has proved the perfect way to bring back some discipline to my eating. Since my condition has started getting worse I’ve struggled with my weight and I too want to get back to a weight that I am comfortable at.

    I hope things continue going well for you :-)

  • #20 - Megan

    I definitely have to force myself to eat healthfully. It does not come naturally at all. I often crave tons of veggies but I also crave tons of dessert. I really would like to eat better but I just give into whatever I’m craving at a particular moment.

  • #21 - shannon

    that looks delicious!! still a struggle, for sure. hopefully this helps get you back to a good place!

  • #22 - Deb (SmoothieGirlEatsToo)

    Effortless- HA! That’s funny! It takes a tremendous amount of effort to eat clean and be prepared.

    I totally understand that sometimes you just have to go for the strict regime- if it gets you back on track then it’s the right path for you right now. Some people just do better with having parameters and rules so that there is less to think about.

    I’m hoping that you find an easy way to find a good balance that keeps your body AND soul happy!