Thursday, February 17, 2011
So last time I posted in any real length, I had just finished my first Whole30, and was absolutely thrilled with the results - significantly increased energy, mental acuity, the avoidance (for the most part) of SAD and trichotillomania, general feelings of health and vitality and of course the slightly-more-visible abs in the mirror. I considered it a huge accomplishment and was immensely proud of myself. And, as a reward for "being good," I was going to stop "denying myself" all those treats I'd been avoiding.
Yes. I would reward myself. With food. (But in moderation, of course.)
Well...it just didn't work. It never has. And I'm ashamed at how many times I've performed that same routine, thinking that it would turn out better this time. Because at the very core of how I want to view food is the complete avoidance of seeing certain foods, especially ones that I know are bad for me, as "rewards," and seeing good, healthy, clean eating that makes my body work like it's supposed to as some incredibly tough act that I have to cajole myself into doing, and then praise and treat myself like there's no tomorrow when I actually do it.
But every time I do feel accomplished enough to treat myself and ease off slightly from strictly clean eating, that treat inevitably leads to a backslide. At first I am the very soul of moderation: just a dash of cream in my coffee on one day, then a square of dark chocolate another, then a glass of wine a few days later. And then my brain starts to warp, and I think, if I can handle this much "bad food" and still feel pretty good, what's wrong with a little more hedonism? I start to have sugar in my coffee a little more often, or duck in the back at work for a handful of chocolate chips just because I'm stressed and annoyed, or steal a few handfuls of my employee's fries even though I know there's delicious healthy food waiting for me at the house. Meals start being based around cheese and fruit (and chocolate) instead of meat or eggs and veggies. I start to feel worse and I have less energy, meaning I'm more likely to skip workouts, meaning I'm more likely to feel even crappier. My sleep and mood start to suffer. And then it all just goes to hell, by which I mean the breakfast of nothing but 6 cups of fully-caffeinated coffee with cream that made me (and my poor bowels) realise that it's high time to clean up the act.
I have to stop seeing clean eating as a finite act. If it's just a "bout" that I go through, whether it's for 30 days or a year, it ends up culminating in one brief shining moment of glorious accomplishment, followed by far too long a period of doing the one thing I should NOT do when it comes to eating, which is eating crap that I know will make me feel bad for no other reason than it tastes good right now and I feel like I earned the right to reward myself.
...wait. You know what this makes me think of?
There is no occasion whatsoever where a Bill Cosby quote (or even a full routine) is not totally apt.
But anyways. My biggest issue here is learning to see clean eating as not just something that I have to complete. It should be the means to an end: I should eat well so I AM well (and fit and happy), plain and simple. Is there room in that scheme for cookies and wine? Absolutely, as long as it's based on an event or something I'm sharing with a friend, and never just because I want to, or think I deserve it.
I'm gonna wrap this up here. I've got some other stuff (in particular, this photo-dieting fad and what I think of it) to talk about, but I think this is enough for now.
In other news, I made chicken soup from complete scratch this morning, with my own homemade stock, and I bet it was even better than Colin's. So there!