I’ve been debating on writing this post for awhile, but after reading a couple of others that relate, in some capacity, I’m going to give it a go.
It’s no secret that healthy eating and eating for fuel are two of my mantras, but sometimes, I, like everyone else, struggles with balancing that with the idea of moderation and giving an inch once in awhile. But that idea of ‘giving an inch’ once in awhile is actually a lot harder than I thought it would be. As some of you know, I track my calories in a food log and have, ever since starting the barre n9ne challenge last May. I never thought I would still be tracking my eats to this day, but then again, never thought I’d have seen such progress and completely changed my habits, my body, and my view on eating, either.
Why is it hard? Because anytime I have gone ‘log-less’ for whatever reason it may be, New Year’s Eve, for example, or a special evening out, where I know that while I will choose healthy options, and it won’t add stress to my evening (that can ruin it for me sometimes, to be honest. Getting all up in my head too much), I end up sometimes sliding into the idea that I have ‘freedom’ to go a little farther than I should, a couple extra glasses of wine, or a couple of extra snacks or bites of food that I would normally stay away from because they are my ‘trigger’ foods. Because, in my head, I’m thinking, oh, I am not counting calories today, I ‘can’ have that extra snack, or I ‘can’ have an extra drink. When what I should be doing is using these ‘log-less’ days to retrain my mind and use these days as ‘weaning’ days. A test. Can I go ‘log-less’ and still stay on track. Or is my log my crutch?
It boils down to mindless eating, in a big way, too. (Melissa wrote an awesome post on this today, worth checking out!) Something I thought I’d kicked pretty well to the curb. But on the occasions where I have gone without logging my food, looking back on it the next day, I definitely had an extra treat or snack, simply because I was not ‘counting it.’ Gah! Why is this so hard sometimes?
And as Tina (again, Tina, your posts have totally spoken to me lately!) points out in the last of her ‘stuffed with emptiness’ series (which are truly incredible to read), there are times when I just WANT to stray and I WANT to go back to old habits of eating half a bag (or the whole bag) of baked cheetos (another trigger food that I refuse to buy) or Starburst jelly beans (a handful here, a handful there…adds up. Hello trigger food!). And sometimes, I guess, there is something to be said for allowing that, even just a little bit. But when it becomes a habit, or returns as a habit, that’s when it becomes a red flag for me.
So where do I go from here? I am honestly not sure. I know that I have a good handle on what I need to eat in a day to calorically fuel my body. I generally know what to eat on weekends that balances being fueled with allowing for a couple glasses of wine, if I’d like them. But the idea of stopping logging my eats scares me…because I know my habits aren’t ‘fixed’ and there’s still some work to be done. I guess the only thing I can do is to keep trying to ‘test’ my log-less days (purposely giving myself them and at the end of the day, plugging it all in and seeing if I still come close to where I should be) and reversing the notion on my brain that these are ‘free’ days to do as I please.
Because ultimately, I always feel better when I eat healthfully, while also allowing myself to have that glass of wine, or that piece of chocolate. What works for me here, with logging, doesn’t work for everyone, and I know my perspective on this might even seem stringent to some. But I go with ‘ to each his own’ on this because everyone has an opinion. Everyone has an approach. But what works for me – this – may not work for everyone. And that’s okay. I just feel as though I need to put that out there because I can almost see the eyebrow raises virtually ;-)
I write this here more for accountability, and for thinking through my next step and where I want to go. How I want to possibly wean myself away from feeling the ‘need’ to log my food and just trust that what I have learned and what I have taught myself will ‘stick’ and keep me continuing on my forward path. Towards my why and living with intention. I think baby steps will get me there.