Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What to Eat After You've Been BAD

I just came off of a weekend of rich dinners and cheese plates and fried chicken and wine and desserts galore... whew. It started an eating pattern - aka a "falling off the wagon" or "derailing of the train" that I've been feeling really guilty about.

(the most delicious, gourmet, healthy
and hearty thing you can dream up)
I first and foremost want to challenge and reframe (change the frame or perspective) on my own belief that "I was bad." This is all about compassion and realizing that even when it looks like we're self-sabotaging, we're usually just using the coping tools we know work best.

It's holiday time and it's stress time for many of us. My weekend of overeating rich comfort foods, especially chocolate and sweets, is my default way of - very literally - comforting myself, feeling soothed, and getting instant relief and gratification. I was giving myself relief in the way I knew was easy and worked.

At least for that instant... problem is, eating all that stuff made my body feel tired, heavy, swollen, bloated and achy in the joints. Plus guilty. A loud voice in my head kept saying, "There you go again! Can't you control yourself? How are you ever going to fix yourself? Get a grip! Green smoothies and salads for the rest of the week for you!" I wanted to punish myself.

But I know from experience that punishment and guilt wouldn't get me feeling better and back on the path to eating healthy.

So I got up in the morning and listened to my body and my cravings. I wanted tea so I had some tea. When I was hungry, I went to the kitchen to make up some breakfast. I wanted something sweet and rich... oh boy. But I knew, deep down, I wanted to eat something that would make me feel good and that I would know was good for me. I decided it was going to be an epic oatmeal morning. I could have it all: healthy, hearty, rich and with enough sweet to satisfy.

I don't mean to brag, but... I do make epic oatmeal bowls. This morning it was oatmeal cooked with cinnamon, nutmeg and a dash of salt. In the bowl, I stirred in half a chopped apple, a spoonful of sunflower seed butter (peanut or almond are so good too!), a drizzle of blackstrap molasses, a handful of granola and a few crumbled walnuts for crunch.

When circumstances feel hard, or you're being hard on yourself, know that it's a signal that it's time to be so good to yourself.

Remember to:   
  1. See yourself with compassion and understanding, you've been doing the best you could.
  2. Give yourself more goodness, not punishment: look ahead toward what you want, not back at what you don't. Make it as good as possible. The key to sustainable healthy eating? You're worth the best stuff out there, you deserve the fixings on your oatmeal, a little butter on your broccoli.
  3. Ask yourself what you really want and need to feel satisfied. Listen to your body and your hungers.What foods and - perhaps more importantly - non-foods, do you need to feel fulfilled?

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