On habits and ‘weaning.’

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.

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21 thoughts on “On habits and ‘weaning.’

  1. I could see where it’d be difficult to not log after it’s become such a habit. It really keeps you in check very visibly. I think you’ll get to a point where you don’t have to log though. It might take time, but I know you’ll get there if that’s that you want. You’re pretty determined ;-)

    1. It is a habit, absolutely. Yet, before, I never would have done this, ever. I think it’s fear of weight gain and bad habits, and I just need to trust myself. Thank you!

  2. i don’t track my eats because i know it doesn’t work for me personally…but i’ve seen so many people have success with it and i think that’s awesome. i also think it’s awesome that you’re trying to wean yourself off now that you have a good handle on what you need. i view it as similar to people who weigh themselves every day and decide they want to cut back on it. maybe just trying going logless one day a week, then two….and seeing how well you stay on track. you might find that you can work up to easily going 4-5 logless days per week, but still need those 1-2 days in there to balance things out! and that’s perfectly fine. or you may find you still need to do it every day. that’s fine too! either way i applaud your efforts :)

    1. Thank you Lindsay! I think you are right, I just need to test it out, a few days here and there, and see how I do. Because I almost use the log as a crutch so I don’t slide into bad habits, but so then when I don’t log, I just instantly WANT to slide into bad habits. It’s a tough call. I just need to do it when I am ready, and not become fixated on it. That’s my only concern that may be starting to happen.

  3. Thought for you…do you think that you get so off track (although having an extra glass of wine or a few other things isn’t “SO” off track, but you know what I mean) because you only allow yourself a few cheat days ever? Maybe if you stopped tracking and it was your norm, you wouldn’t have the ability to say well it’s a free day I’m not counting…because you would never be counting. I’m not a counter, but I did used to allow myself “free” days or even just looked at the weekends as a time to ‘what whatever I wanted’. Now I take one meal at a time and if I want something like wine or chocolate or whatever…I have it and remember to eat great for the next few meals. It took me a long time to get here, but it really is freeing not having free days or cheat days and just taking it one meal/day at a time. :)

    1. That’s a good point too. It might be because I am viewing them as cheat days when I really should use those ‘log-less’ days as days to test how much I have learned and applied. And allow myself those treats here and there too, of course. Which I do. I just don’t want to do it TOO much either. Ya know? Thank you!

  4. I have been having a really hard time with food lately. I started my official training plan Monday, and I have been running in the mornings and doing barre during my lunch hour or in the evening before I go home, so I feel like I can eat more, but instead I’m just ruining my hard work! I feel AWFUL about it.

    It is such a struggle for me, and it requires a lot of focus to be good about it

    1. It is hard, especially when you are starting up half marathon training, where you will naturally be hungrier! I feel you, I really do, I just need to remember to eat when I am hungry, not ‘just because’ I can or ‘just because’ I ran more or something. That’s where I can see the struggle happening a bit.

  5. This is why I know I’m not ready. I still have an emotional tie to food that I haven’t quite broken yet. It’s MUCH better than before, but it’s still lurking. I need to get to the root of that first before I’ll feel confident that I can maintain this lifestyle without having to count every single day. Ideally, I’d love to use the log as my tool for 80% of the time and use what I’ve learned from the tool to guide me the other 20% of the time, but without the safety net.

    1. I agree, the emotional tie is lurking but I almost think it lurks in part because we do log and because we are using it as our crutch, at least a little bit. I think we need to eventually wean away from it and just trust ourselves and eat evenly every day, no peaks and valleys. That is my end-game, but when that is, I am not quite sure.

  6. Can you try to eat as healthfully as you do now without actually logging it? Like the test days that you are referring to, I guess. I think that even if you aren’t quite as strict with yourself, you’re still going to retain a lot of the healthy habits that you’ve developed.

    1. That is what I am wanting to do…but every time I have done it, I haven’t done the greatest. But that’s also probably because I have done it on days where there were too many temptations to begin with. I need to do it on a weekday to start!

  7. Gosh, I’m trying to be OK with the days I don’t track my food. I’m trying to be OK with where my body has settled. Of course, I’m TRYING, but it hasn’t actually happened yet. :)

    1. It is really hard, isn’t it? I just need to settle my mind a bit and just trust myself. It will take some experimenting I think, but eventually, I think I will get there, as will you!

      1. I like the idea of experimenting to see if you can go off-log for a few days without going off-plan. Also remember to cut yourself a little slack as you try to figure out whether the log is a crutch or a motivator. xoxo

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