I’m Breaking Up With Food

food

Lately it seems as though this blog has become one long Addicts Anonymous meeting, whether it be Chapstickers Anonymous (which actually exists btw) or Gossip Guzzlers Anonymous or the constant mentions of my Diet Coke habit. Jesus, when I see it all written out like that I’m amazed I can still hold a job or pay my rent. (Well…I could hold a job, if I had one that is.) All of those things are in good fun though. However, there’s one particularly nasty relationship that I’ve had for as long as I can recall and I’ve decided it’s time to end it. So as of today, I’m breaking up with food.

But you’ll starve to death!

OK, let’s back up. Obviously, I can’t break up with food all together. Nor do I want to. What I’m looking to do is end the abusive nature of my interactions with it. The anxiety that surrounds it. The cravings and then the bingeing and then the deprivation to make up for the bingeing and the guilt and the planning to be this weight by this time so I can enjoy an event where there’s going to be lots of tasty things or get through the holidays or ahhhhhhh! It’s enough to drive anyone mad and I can’t take the craziness of it anymore. I just want to be one of those normal people you see who doesn’t maniacally plan all of her meals to fit into a calculated caloric window and then desperately look forward to the day that she can eat anything she can stuff into her face because “I’ve been good all week!” Do you ever see those people? It’s like they just have lunch and then forget about it. How do they do that?

I’m fixed on finding out.

Because I’m not just talking about eating healthier, I’m talking about changing my entire relationship with food, mostly by changing the way that I think about it. My therapist once told me that by committing to making different choices in your life, you can actually change the neural pathways in your brain, so that those choices come naturally to you down the road. That is what I intend to do and this is how I intend to do it:

I’m Quitting Sugar

This may be the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Seriously. But the more I read about the addictive nature of sugar, the more I’m convinced it’s time to give it up. For now, at least. The idea of never having another peanut butter cup in my life is too depressing to deal with so instead, I’m doing Sarah Wilson’s 8-week program to stop my affair with fructose. I’ve been told I can look forward to better sleep, a more stable weight, healthier skin and more energy in general. Keeping in mind that it’s only eight weeks is less intimidating than saying “I’m giving up sugar forever!” but the intention is to no longer want it once you’re done.

Education

Every day I’m going to read or watch something inspiring to keep me on track. Whether it be this 60 Minutes clip on how dangerous sugar is becoming in our diets or this awesome article by Kelly Exeter on how she changed her relationship with food. Because of it, I’ve already cleansed my kitchen of all the crap I keep on a regular basis, including all of the “healthy” alternatives to junk like my Weight Watchers ice creams which simply replace fat with more sugar. Luckily, my brother was happy to take them off my hands.

JeffSugar

Write About My Progress

I’m hoping that keeping a brief journal of my accomplishments every day will help establish how far I’ve come during times when I’m not feeling so motivated to keep going. Just yesterday I planned on putting together a small outline on how to approach this incredibly intimidating endeavor but just by writing about it, all kinds of ideas popped up which may aid me along the way.

Meditate

Most days I would sooner agree to attending a Lileth Fair before I would commit to five minutes of mediation but we’re talking about one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever taken on in my life here, so it’s time to get serious. Being that so much of this change is rooted in what I’m eating, I don’t want to get stuck thinking of it as a diet. By taking a small amount of time every day to focus on the long term goal of changing my habits, it should be easier to continue to see the big picture.

Be Mindful

This means no more eating in front of the TV or while I’m looking at Facebook or on my phone. When I’m doing all of those things, I’m not experiencing the pleasure of the food itself, which makes me prone to want more later.

Water! Water! Water!

I hate water. But I know I can’t continue to drink diet sodas and expect to be healthy. I’m hoping that like anything else, if I commit to drinking lots of water every day, eventually I’ll get used to it.

Know That This May Be A Long Process

In the Kelly Exeter article that I linked to above on how she changed her relationship with food, she says it took two years to truly break her obsession. However, when I think of how long I’ve been reinforcing my own bad habits, two years doesn’t seem like much to rid myself of them. When I imagine spending the rest of my life after that not plagued by constant cravings, weight fluctuations, guilt and anxiety, it doesn’t seem like such a bad deal.

  • Erica Geissman

    ooo! Read In Defense Of Food by Michael Pollan. Highly recomended!

    • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

      Yes! Absolutely. I think I read that one a while ago but it would be an awesome refresher actually. Thanks!

  • Awesomely Over-Zealous

    I’m a sugar addict myself – i’m here scarfing down happy hippo’s to taper off the hunger until I get home.. I’ve had an obsession with sugar since I was a kid, blame the damn Lucky Charms! I need to get off it too – I have a sleep disorder that I’m trying to find a natural way of eliminating and I know it has something to do with my hideous diet. I know it’ll take me longer than 2 years as well but for the end result of not developing anything mroe horrible and possibly not feeling like ish as soon as I wake up for the remainder of the day, I”ll prefer to let go of that addictive substance. Best of luck kicking that slutbag to the curb – it wont’ be easy! Happy Monday Kelly! -Iva

    • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

      What the hell are happy hippos?! Actually, don’t tell me. I’ll keep you posted on how kicking this slutbag (makes it easier when I think of it in those terms) is going and maybe you can kick sugar as well. Yesterday was damn near impossible. Sugar is in EVERYTHING. But after spending all day looking for things I could eat, I ended up with a really tasty dinner.

      • Awesomely Over-Zealous

        I won’t tell you, its just awful the first ingredient is sugar. I’m ashamed but it’s like crack. It’s really pathetic but I have had nothing but sugar all day – im going to crash when I get home it’s already happening. I feel as though I’m going to substitute my love for sugar with my already obsessive cheese habit, lol.. I’m just going to overindulge in cheese if I can’t have sugar.

        • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

          I’m trying really hard not to do that because I love cheese as well. The hardest part in the beginning is finding all of the ingredients that go in these sugar free recipes. Lots of them are fancy Whole Food thing that I have to go all the way into Manhattan to find. I just keep reminding myself that learning all of the things I can and can’t eat and becoming familiar with how to make them will be the hardest part in the beginning. I’m looking up Happy Hippos now.

          • Awesomely Over-Zealous

            http://www.amazon.com/Kinder-Happy-Hippo-Cacao-pieces/dp/B0010EGL0I – don’t try them, it’s hard to let go. Yes rewiring your brain is going to peeve you in the beginning, for a long time but there is light at the end of the tunnel!

          • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

            Holy shit. How have I never seen one of these? That’s incredible. Now I know what the first thing I’m eating in eight weeks will be. Ugh! No! There I go looking forward to food again. This needs to stop.

  • Food Booze & Baggage

    Wow! Such an impressive goal! We have taken to eating cleaner in the past year and it has been really good…though I have not cut out sugar or flour but no store bought box junk and we try to do mostly organic. I have to second Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma really made me look at what we were eating differently. Best of luck and can’t wait to hear about your progress! I have a couple of posts where I list some websites I have found helpful (http://wp.me/p47aVP-8x) in our journey.

    • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

      Thanks for the post link! I feel like I need as much help as I can get right now. The most challenging thing so far is figuring out what I can and can’t eat. Not to mention the wicked headaches I’m getting from the absence of caffeine.

      • Food Booze & Baggage

        Oh wow sugar and caffeine both! Brave girl!! Green tea has less caffeine to maybe help you step down. For me I had to take small steps in changing our diet…but everyone is different. Again, we are not “model” clean eaters by any means. Even though it has natural sugars I’ve found dried fruit helps with candy cravings (just natural dried fruit*make sure to look for no sugar added) I’m a fan of dried mango personally. Just don’t get too overwhelmed because even if they are small steps you are moving in the right direction :)

  • JanaStopMe

    I also have an unhealthy relationship with food. LOTS of mindless eating, eating when I’m upset, eating when I’m happy, pushing others to eat to make myself feel better about MY eating. I’m trying to stop eating so many refined, processed foods — but it is hard. If it is baked, fried, or has sugar, it’s my best friend! Still, when I actually manage to do it, it’s kind of amazing how full you get on whole foods. I’m also trying to not base my whole self-esteem on my success or failure with my eating plan — I beat myself up so much it’s exhausting!

    • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

      I beat myself up as well. Sometimes I can’t even enjoy myself on vacations because I spent weeks going to the gym in preparation for them and then I can’t help but eat poorly once I reach my destination and then I feel guilty the whole time for gaining weight. It’s crazy. I really just want to be normal and not look forward to food so much. I still want to enjoy it, but it shouldn’t be the center of my universe.

  • Cortney Steffens

    It is possible to turn things around. I have had to be dairy-free and then gluten-free and it changes the way you look at food and processed food in general. Once you take charge and realize who is “in charge,” you become a happier person.

    • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

      Cortney! I didn’t know you cut all those things out. Wow! I’m glad to hear how different you feel. That’s really encouraging. I’ve got my fingers crossed that this is going to be the change I’ve been looking for. I can’t stand the ups and downs I have with food. Thanks for the heads up. I’m looking forward to it.

      • Cortney Steffens

        Back o. Gluten so I can get a definitive test done in March concerning intolerance or Celiacs (which I doubt is the case).

  • http://jaybirdblog.com/ Alicia | Jaybird Blog

    This sounds like a wonderful, healthy goal. I’m not a yo yo dieter but more like a yo yo health nut…I know exactly what it takes to make my body the healthiest it can be, but I don’t always do it. Quitting sugar makes a huuuge different, and so does dairy for me!

    • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

      One of the things I’m saddest about was not being able to make your purple sweet potato muffins! I could stomach leaving out the raisin, but what do I use to substitute the honey with? This new no sugar plan tells me I can use rice malt syrup for stuff like that. Any thoughts?? I really want to try them but don’t want to sabotage myself right away.

      • http://jaybirdblog.com/ Alicia | Jaybird Blog

        Hmm. I’ve never heard of rice malt syrup but you could always try it! Honestly otherwise I’d consider making them without sweetener, as long as you’re OK with them being a much more savory muffin…like a muffin-roll hybrid, haha. You could add a little extra puree, which is pretty sweet on its own. The vanilla brings out the sweetness too.

        • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

          Ok, I’ll try this. Or maybe just reduce the sweetener to a level that’s acceptable on the program. I kind of can’t bare the idea of them not tasting as close as possible to what they look like in your photos.

          • http://jaybirdblog.com/ Alicia | Jaybird Blog

            I pretty much shoved four of them in my mouth right in a row…not sure if that’s program-friendly. 😉

  • Christina Mc Bride

    The “long process” part is probably the most important point, and is often what I have trouble with when making positive changes in my life. Like I just expect that after a few days of making the better choice I can just do it naturally from then on. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and let others support you! :)

    • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

      Yes! I’ve tried to do things like yoga and meditation in the past and when I’m not perfect at it right away, I get frustrated. Thanks for that!

  • http://www.wanderlyn.com/ Eternally WanderLyn

    This is a great goal! I started trying to be healthier last year and it really makes a difference. I’ve fallen off the bandwagon the last few weeks, but I’m looking forward to starting it up again. I think changing our relationship with food is a great idea for a lot of people. And it also looks like you pretty much made your brother’s day. :)

  • http://www.thewineglassmanifesto.blogspot.com/ Alisha KP

    Oooh. Interesting stuff!

    Firstly, don’t get sucked in to rice syrup – here’s why http://instagram.com/p/j8hWvCxn-s/#

    (that’s all I know about the subject so can’t say I’m an expert, but be careful…)

    Also, I was going to suggest squeezing some lemon or adding mint and strawberries to water to make it more appealing to you (I do this at work and it make me feel like I’m drinking a cocktail but I’m not. So sneaky) but can you even have that on IQS? It’s all a bit intimidating to me!

    I bought Sarah Wilson’s !QS cookbook and it’s pretty amazing – the coconutty granola has actually changed my life. Looking forward to hearing how you go!

    • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

      Oh no Alisha! I spent two days looking for rice syrup because it seems to be in EVERYTHING in this I quit sugar sweets section. I finally found it with the help of a very nice employee at my local organic store and even when he pointed it out to me I was skeptical because the label said it had a decent amount of sugar. But then I though well maybe if you’re only using a small amount in a large recipe, it’s not so bad. The guy told me something about it breaking down in your body slower or blah blah blah, stuff I didn’t understand and bang, I was sold. So now I have this huge jar of rice syrup in my cabinet. Oh well. There’s a big learning curve with all of this. I just saw I could still eat Cheetos! Sweet! Thanks for the tip though!

      • http://www.thewineglassmanifesto.blogspot.com/ Alisha KP

        Oh no! Well, I know approximately nothing about all this so I am not the best person to be proffering advice but I did see that pic and thought it was a bit rubbish and people should know about it! I think there’s probably better natural sweeteners to go with if you’re trying to stay away – bottom line is that anything processed is really not great for us. But I’m not ever going to give up the things I love so I’m not one to preach.

        • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

          You’re not the first person I’ve heard say this so I’ll have to look into it more. I just made the caramelized berry cream thing though. Holy shit, it was soooo good. I have to try not to eat it all now.

  • http://www.lifeinprogress.ca/ Kathy@Vodka and Soda

    sugar detox is hard; it takes a good 2wks for all that shit to fully leave your system but it’s all about a balanced diet of fresh, wholesome foods. having sugar with your coffee won’t kill you or make you gain weight; it’s all about a healthy perspective with food as well. eat a balanced meal, go with the 80/20 rule (80% clean eating, 20% whatever) and you’ll be fine.

    • http://www.therheeldaze.com/ RheelDaze

      I’m feeling really tired right now. Haven’t been able to get to the gym since I started this thing so it’s good to hear there will be an end in sight. Thanks Kathy!

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