Category Archives: Hot Topic

A Look into the Mind of the Food Obsessed

Last night as I finished up dinner (Chipotle Burrito Bowl thanks to Andy!), I started to think about how my life has changed over the last few years.  I thought about how my views on myself have especially changed.

When I was in high school I had virtually no care in the world.  I was fearless and definitely had a zest for life.  Also at this time, I didn’t have negative thoughts about myself or my body.

I honestly can’t remember ever being worried about what I was going to eat next and how it would make me feel.Will I feel fat and bloated? Will I feel gross? Will I vow to not eat this much again? Those thoughts were non-existent in my teenage mind.  That is until this point in my life when tragedy struck and I began using unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with life rather than actually working through things.

From about 18 years of age until my early 20’s, I was pretty food obsessed.  Sure, I still enjoyed myself and I have a lot of great memories from this period in my life, but I struggled mentally with self acceptance.

Freshman  year of college, 2004

I started an online journal on a fitness forum around this time and was excited to interact with others that shared the same passion for nutrition and fitness. The forum is now deleted…and I am thankful it is! I don’t think I could go back and re-read my posts.

But to be honest, this was a very unhealthy time for me. The interaction with most people was based on strict dieting and obsessive exercise habits.  Most everyone was after the “perfect body” and being at the “perfect weight” and so almost everyone’s journal was about being on a diet.

Source

I admit that I got sucked into this life (or perhaps the life was sucked out of me?) and I read everything I could get my hands on pertaining to dieting and fitness.

I even toyed with the idea of competing in a Figure Competition and ended up training and dieting for 6 weeks (read more about it here).  I ended up quitting(not ashamed that I am a quitter! Best decision I could have made).

I  went through a period of being depressed and down on myself, since I was suffering a terrible rebound. This filled me with anxiety and more negative thoughts about myself.

Food Obsessed

During this time in my life, I think that food ruled my world.  As much as I enjoyed it, I feared it.  I thought about it constantly.  What will I eat next? Am I getting enough protein in this meal? Should I be eating carbs this late in the day?

On the outside I looked completely normal (at least I think!) and didn’t really discuss food and dieting with anyone around me (only online).  But there was certainly a mental battle happening inside.

A Look into the Mind of the Food Obsessed

I’ve tried to dive deep into my memory to show what it was like for a period in my life.  Here is what I have come up with. So let’s take a walk down memory lane into the mind of the food obsessed:

Alarm goes off, I wake up and go to the bathroom.  I pee first because I need to weigh myself.  Surely my pee weighs a few pounds and I want to get an accurate reading.  I see the number on the scale and hate it.  I should not weigh this much.  Why don’t I weigh 135lbs or less? I am 5’7 and I should weigh 135lbs, not 140lbs.

As soon as I wake up, I instantly think: When am I working out today? What will I eat for breakfast? It needs to have the perfect combination of fat, carbohydrate and protein.  And I need to make sure I am getting at at least a gram of protein for every pound that I weigh.

My workout will either be lifting heavy (no more than 6 reps because higher reps are useless) or I will be doing a 25 minute HIIT session on the treadmill.  Steady state cardio is for the birds.

I pack my lunch and snacks before heading off to work as a Graduate Assistant Heaven for bid I am without a snack or without a plan. I’d be lost without my protein shake. I need that protein!!

I am starving by dinner time.  But how could that be? I am eating enough (5-6 small meals a day..it’s the only way to eat) and a 300-400 calorie meal should be more than filling.  I had a tablespoon of peanut butter for God’s sake! That good fat should be filling me up. But I begin to daydream about pizza, cereal, and ice cream.

I eat the ice cream. Then the cereal. Then I lose it and eat whatever I can find. Toast with peanut butter? Sure, why not! I’ve already ruined my day. Oatmeal? OK! I am a loser and can not control myself therefore I will stuff myself senseless and go to bed upset.

I repeat this sequence of events for years…

During this time in my life, I still felt like I was a happy person. But my idea of happiness was all wrong. I believed I was supposed to feel this way about myself.  I believed that happiness came when I reached a certain weight and could maintain it.  I believed that if and when I competed in a figure competition everyone would praise me and announce that, yes, she has the perfect body! Hip hip hooray! I believed that happiness was based upon looks and appearances.

This was my food obsessed mind at a glance.  Luckily, things have changed.

How to be Happy with Your Body

My title of ‘Best Rock, Paper, Scissors Player’ is no more.  I lostAgain.  Second time in a row I had to venture out in the blizzard to get a blizzard. But they are so good and ultimately I am a happy loser 🙂  Nothing beats an Oreo Blizzard with Reese’s Cups! Better luck next weekend! Now on to today’s topic…

How to be Happy with Your Body

It’s one thing to know how to maintain your weight. But it’s completely different to be happy with your body.

I’ve maintained my weight for years now.  But I have not always been happy with my weight per say.   Off and on I’d try to lose those pesky 10lbs (that don’t exist).  I felt at war with my body constantly.  I was never satisfied.   I’d look in the mirror and my eyes would automatically go to my thighs or my arms or wherever else I felt less than perfect.

Almost one year ago was when I had my ‘breaking point’ or my moment where I had finally had enough with my self inflicted misery of being unhappy with my body.  I was sick of dieting, I was done restricting what I could eat, and I had enough with the negative attitude. It was a moment in time where I decided to change my life.  And it has certainly changed for the better.

Here you’ll find my strategies for ending food obsession: Part I and Part II.   These have helped me (and still do!) with my every day view on my body and food.

Here are my tips on being happy with your body. And not the body that you wish you had or the body you are trying to get eventually.  It’s your body ALL of the time.  Right here.  Right now.

Acknowledge your body for what it can do

Take time to think about what your body does every single day.   It lives, breaths and carries us along.   It walks, runs,works, and loves.   For women it carries a life for 9 months. It’s our vessel.   Take time to appreciate your body instead of beating it down.

Treat your body with respect

Respecting your body means feeding it well, exercising, resting, and being appreciative.   Starving yourself, over exercising, taking no time to relax, or constantly being negative towards yourself are all things that are disrespecting to your body.   Treat yourself with kindness.

Be aware of you body shape and play up your best assets

I am not an expert in fashion by any means, but I do pay attention in what I wear and whether or not it’s flattering to my body shape.   Wearing flattering clothing allows you to feel comfortable in what you are wearing as well as feeling confident in yourself.   I think taking time to educate yourself on what clothes look best on you is a great way to increase body confidence. Plus, I find it fun to shop when you have a better idea of what to look for! Rock what yo’ mama gave ya! 😉

I have a “pear shape” body and so for me personally I try to emphasize my waist:


Exercise

This seems like a no-brainer for a health and fitness blog, but I honestly feel most confident when working out and making it a part of my weekly routine.


It makes me feel good that I am taking care of myself physically and in turns helps me appreciate and love my body even more.  Setting physical goals also gives me a sense of accomplishment.


Eating well without being food obsessed

Read my posts here and here. It explains my thoughts and feelings on this.  Basically, I like to eat well while enjoying ALL foods.  Nothing is off limits and I don’t obsess! With this thinking, I am able to eat in a way that makes me feel good without being restrictive or labeling food as ‘good’ or bad’.  When I did this in the past, I was the most unhappy with my body.  Now that I don’t follow food rules, I feel the best about myself.

You are more than a number

I do weigh myself once per week since I am at a happy weight for MY body.  But I am not a slave to the scale.  It’s merely a tool that allows me to maintain my weight.  It’s nothing more than a number.  It does not dictate what kind of day I am going to have.  I am the only one that can dictate that.   I am more than that number and so are you.   We are all much, much more.  Take time to appreciate ALL that you are: mind, body and soul.

Stop trying to live up to others’ standards of what a beautiful body is

Live up to YOUR standards.  I certainly don’t try and become a size 0 model on the cover of a magazine because I don’t want to look like someone else (And I don’t want to be a size 0! My body would suffer and I would go insane trying!)  I can only look like ME.  Knowing this makes my life a heck of a lot easier. I don’t set ridiculous standards and nor do I feel the need to live up to societies ‘ideal body’.  My body is just fine. As long as I am respecting myself and treating my body with kindness then I am OK the way I am! And YOU are too!

Question:

What are your tips on being happy in your own skin?