We eat for many reasons.

When we are happy.  Birthdays, Weddings, Holidays, Family Reunions, date nights, anniversaries, etc.  Nothing wrong with celebrating with food.  You deserve to celebrate and have happiness surrounding you.  My family is the same way.  We celebrate with food all the time.  You still have a choice as to what you eat.  I know that there are things people will bring (sometimes myself included) that is just so bad for you! But it will taste amazing! Will it be wrong to indulge?

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Tom & Chee: The Elvis (peanut butter and banana on glazed donut)

My answer has two parts: No, as long as you realize this can not occur everyday and you own up to the consequence in the gym.  Don’t cut anything out in the following days, gym time or your regulated calories.  Don’t let what you eat at a celebration be on your mind for days.  As long as you keep going, you will either lose what you had eaten or maintain your weight for that week.  If you find that you can’t be around food that is not a part of your healthy eating habits, bring something that is or choose from the array of foods people bring that you find stick to your plan.  Go you!  That way you can assure you have something you are able to eat.

Eating when you are sad.  Many people deal with stress and sadness.  I wish I knew the reason why food would change my mood.  There were sometimes during the months or weeks that I would grab stuff simply because I liked the taste or because I didn’t want to take the time to think.  Moms have it rough, we get sad.   I felt being the caretaker of everyone, no one cared to do anything for me.  No one to plan my meals for me, to clean up after and I was always left with very little time to think about what I wanted, everyone was ready to move on before I had myself fed.  So I grabbed at whatever was in front of me. The more I took care of everyone else, the farther I fell off.  I had the attitude that it didn’t matter what I had eaten, I would always be overweight.  I have learned that if everyone depended that much on me, they were going to have to wait for me.  I realized that I held the power.  If they didn’t want to wait for me to cook/assemble their food, well, they could do it themselves.  My daughter, when I first started my journey was a little young to take on making her own snacks or lunch.  It was my job to show her to either to make them safely on her own or teach her patience to wait when I could manage to get everything together.  You have to find a balance of not putting you or the kids/hubby above each other.  Everyone deserves to have a well made meal.   Also if you plan in advance for yourself, you take away the hurt feelings that you feel jipped.   Your meal will be ready before anyone else, so it won’t be so stressful getting your families together.  It took me a long time to realize that I wasn’t teaching my kids that other people matter.   I matter.  If I could be in control of everyone else, I certainly had the guts to have control over myself.  I quit whining about it and changed it.

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My daughter and our homemade taco salads!

If you have little ones, it’s hard for them to understand this. Get them involved to “help” you make meals.  It sounds stressful, but if you give them a task they will usually set in and try it.  For the toddlers, put them in the high chair with an activity or a couple of pieces of food to hold them until their meal is done and you’re ready to sit down with yours.    Still finding it hard to make ahead lunches and dinners? Do them during nap time, when your spouse gets home or get up a little earlier in the morning.  Still no time? Buy pre-made ingredients and throw stuff in bag.  Takes 5 mins.  Stress will always be, it’s the actions you take to deal with it.  Eating when you’re stressed does not solve the problems, it will create more.  Food will not replace what your sadness is caused by.  It won’t bring anyone back, it won’t give you more time and won’t take the pain away.  Look at food as a necessity for living, don’t live for your food.

Because I am hungry.  There are days were no matter what I AM HUNGRY.  My stomach will not stop alerting me to the fact that it is not satisfied with what I am eating.  Things staring at me from the fridge or pantry saying “that would be so good right now!”  The way I deal with hungry days: I evaluate.  Did I eat enough calories at this point today?  I’ve always added them in my head, I found if I wrote stuff down I just end up forgetting or I had already been doing it so long it’s a no brainer.  Anyway back to evaluating.  Am I drinking enough water?  Did I burn an excessive amount with a workout?  To many carbs in my meal?  Time of the month? Yes, it does make a difference.  Too much caffeine?  In the beginning these are hard to judge.  As you go along you will find out which one of these is the problem.  As far as dealing with each one of them:  I would eat if I was experiencing headaches or fatigue and water was not working.  If any of the others were an issue I cut back on carbs the next meal, loading up with lots of veggies and protein.  It seems like a constant juggle and so much to learn.  With time this will be easy, your body will adjust.  Do I still have hungry days, yes.  Sometimes it will hit me at night before I go to bed.  I just go to sleep.

Boredom.  This one I have a little experience with, but I have still done it.  The advice I have on this one, find something to do.  You have to find the power to change your mind.  The effort that it took you to find something to eat could have been spent walking the block/office or calling someone on the phone.  Make a choice, treat your health and your mind with activities instead of food.

It just plain tastes good.  If you have problems staying away from foods that are bad, don’t buy them.  If someone in your house requests them or brings them in ask them to keep them somewhere that you don’t have access to.  Or simply ask them to not buy them.  I am starting my 3rd year without Girl Scout Cookies.  I am sorry Girls Scouts I support you, I just can’t have your cookies in my house.  They are too good!  I have eaten an entire box at one sitting. Dang Samoas!  Find out your trigger foods and just don’t buy them.  Sometimes I look for things that are close.  If I have a craving for a candy bar, skinny cow has wonderful caramel chocolates, their version of a nutty bar and chocolate wafers.  You can usually find them for a buck!  They have healthy cookies too! Look for things at the store.  You don’t need to have a bunch of stuff on hand, just something every once in while to make it through those cravings.

I hope you all reading this don’t think I am talking “at” you.  This my chance to give this gift to everyone out there.  I have read some blogs and books, I’ve thought “yeah, right, this sounds too easy.  Just put aside all emotions and eat right and exercise.”  That is not what I want to come across.  I am asking you to put your health first.  Get your mind to understand you are not choosing the healthy solution.  Even if today you only have 10-30lbs to lose,  understand that some day there might be more so you need change your actions into solving your emotions.  Not putting them aside.  Treat your body like you would with a cold.  The symptom has to match the medicine.  Don’t overdose your body with unnecessary medication.

People tell me all the time they are picky eaters.  Well, I can be too.  Over time your taste buds will change.  Things you used to like will taste completely different to you later.  I used to like Cheetos a lot.  Now I can’t stand them.  All I taste off of them is oil and cheese salt.  That’s the only way I can describe it.  If you are hungry your mind and body will eat what you tell yourself you can have.  My mom and I used to joke when ever we were dieting, food always tasted so good.  It’s true.  Sometimes when you are really hungry you can pick out certain flavors you never noticed before.  Now I’m not saying that you have to absolutely starving for this to happen, but you will be always looking forward to something different than you have been eating.

Not eating can cause emotions too.  I don’t know about you but I get crabby when I’m hungry! So don’t be hungry.  Learn to be content with what you are eating.  Don’t go cold turkey on some things you enjoy.  Find a way to still make them and cut them down.  If they’re really bad, that’s where you have to pick the direction to go.  Do you really want it in exchange for weight loss.

Memories of certain dishes some one used to make for you, whom is no longer here, can be hard to do without.  Especially at holidays.  My grandma used to make a marshmallow salad for me every year at Thanksgiving.  This salad is loaded with marshmallows, fruit, whipped cream, sour cream etc.  You can not make with the reduce-calorie stuff either.  It’s just too watery.  I used to make it after she pasted away, but I decided that I didn’t need to do that to remember her.  I got a picture frame and framed the recipe that is in her handwriting.  It’s hanging in my kitchen.  I have many other countless memories to remember her by.  Holidays are for sure a reason to make our favorite dishes by some of our favorite people, I think I truly was the only one that liked that salad, so there would be too many leftovers I would have to eat.  As I said before it’s fine to indulge for certain celebrations but back on the wagon I go after that day is done.