There was an entire table displaying hard back books with the words Paleo, Skinny, and Thin in the titles. When I walked over to the magazine racks, it was the same thing. It was a sad conclusion, but I realized it’s true. We are obsessed with dieting.
Every time I turn on the TV, get online, or open a magazine I see ads for diets, pills, and the new workout fad.
There is always the latest big thing. No carbs, low carbs, non-fat, or raw foods as touted by the celebrity of the moment.
And there is always some claim about how the diet will make us lose weight, gain energy, and love ourselves in a way that isn’t possible without dieting.
It’s begun to make me wonder when enough will be enough.
When can we just focus on eating healthy and stop buying into the latest trend?
Don’t we all know what is healthy? It’s not like fruits and veggies are a secret that only doctors and Hollywood know about. No one really thinks that fast food is good for us.
But then we feel guilty about a little too much dessert in December or one piece of birthday cake. So, we go buy that book with the tiny, muscular woman on the front. I know, I’ve done it so many times. I’ve cut out everything with fat and sugar, I’ve given up dairy, and I’ve tried no carbs.
Every time I diet, it works for a few weeks, and then I can’t do it anymore. I miss rice, chocolate, and cheese. And usually I end up eating an entire container of Ben and Jerry’s in one or two sittings.
Then I go back to just eating healthy. That’s what my body wants, anyway.
Balanced meals of protein, grains, and veggies. I eat yogurt, some cheese, and have a little bit of chocolate. I listen to my body and give it what it wants. Even ice cream.
The thing is, when I focus on what I can have, I eat healthy.
My body wants spinach, salmon, quinoa, nuts, fruit, and other healthy, whole foods. I don’t even crave chocolate and ice cream every day when it’s not off limits. Everything in moderation works.
Yet, this is a lesson I have to re-learn over and over.
Because I go into the bookstore and pass the magazine racks and see those commercials telling me I need to diet.
When all I really need to do is eat healthy.
Do you have any lessons with food you have to keep re-learning? Do you fall victim to those diet books and magazines? How is your relationship with food and with your body? I’d love to hear what works for you!
We all have a food we crave on a regular basis. And I don’t mean something “healthy” like salad. Something we want and love, but feel bad about eating. For me it’s ice cream. Something cold, creamy, and chocolaty. Preferably with ribbons and chunks of some kind. Like Phish Food, Chocolate-chocolate chip, and Moose tracks. Yum.
I’ve learned how to eat ice cream in small portions. I use the little white ramekin dishes as my ice cream bowls. And I choose an ice cream that’s rich enough that I don’t ever go back for seconds. So, why do I feel guilty for eating it?
It’s not because it’s bad for me. Hello, dark chocolate is an anti-oxidant. And I eat natural ice cream with a short list of ingredients. No mono-unnutrisized-globbins for me. If I can’t pronounce it, I don’t eat it. That’s my healthy eating rule.
But sometimes I fall prey to media pressure. Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers commercials telling us we’re all fat and we should be eating egg white omelets and plain baked chicken. I look around and feel like Everyone else is eating healthy but me. I start to feel bad, guilty, ashamed. And Everyone seems to LOVE eating healthy. They’re like “bring on the celery and kale chips, so delish!”
I really hate Everyone.
And then there’s me. I love chocolate, so I must be bad. Then the punishment begins. I throw away the ice cream I have and refuse to buy any more. I pass the freezer section completely at the grocery store. Don’t want to run the risk. The rest of the food in my cart is pretty much the same as what I always buy. Veggies, a meat, some grains. The truth is, I am naturally a pretty healthy eater. I love spinach and broccoli and seasoning with spices. I don’t like fast food or pop.
But Everyone doesn’t eat ice cream. So I go home without.
For the first few days I’m ok. I eat my dinner and have fruit or tea afterward. But, by the time the weekend rolls around all I can think about is ice cream. I eat it in my dreams. I try to calm the craving with anything sweet I can find. Hot coco, honey on toast, and a banana covered in almond butter and chocolate syrup. I know I’ve hit rock bottom when I’m dipping the baking chocolate in sugar and gnawing on the big slab.
And that’s when it hits me. I’m stuffing myself with replacements when eating the ice cream would actually be better for me. A small serving of ice cream is much healthier than half a jar of almond butter and a brick of unsweetened chocolate.
When I let myself have what I’m really craving, I’m satisfied when it’s gone. I’m not rummaging through the kitchen like a drug addict looking for my next fix.
The funny thing is when I have ice cream in the house and I know I can eat it, I don’t always want it. When it’s in the freezer it’s not a compulsion, it’s just dessert. The way it should be.
And really, who wants to be just like Everyone? Everyone is kind of lame.
What food do you crave? Do you have a sweet tooth? Does it make you feel guilty?
I have tried dieting many times in my life. The only
difference they made in the way I looked or felt were the cranky mood swings and hunger pangs. Until I discovered the Ben & Jerry’s diet.
I didn’t find it in a magazine or touted by a fitness guru from Women’s Health. I found it by following my instincts and listening to what my taste buds and stomach had to say.
It didn’t even start out as a diet, just an idea in the freezer isle at Winco, “I like ice cream, so I should have some.”
The movies always show the girl crying into a gallon sized tub of ice cream, while watching another chick flick. But the smaller containers are rich and creamy, and the Ben & Jerry’s diet isn’t about drowning any sorrows.
I started with Phish Food: Chocolate ice cream with a river each of marshmallow and caramel, and little chocolate fish swimming upstream. I made my way through Everything But The, Karmal Sutra, and Half Baked . Then I circled back around to Phish Food and my tongue declared it winner.
There was no measuring or calculations, I just ate some ice cream when I wanted some. I didn’t change any of the foods I was eating and I kept the same gym schedule, averaging four days a week. I’d come home after a workout and settle in on the couch with a bowl of Phish Food and watch The Biggest Loser. Something about watching other people exercise made the chocolate taste richer and the caramel sweeter.
My outer body transformed into the best shape it had ever been and my inner self was content. When I was eating what I wanted I didn’t obsess about food and I could have cared less what I weighed. My fingernails grew long and strong for the first time ever and my hair had a shine and bounce I had never known.
Maybe it was the added calcium in my diet, but I’d like to think it was a side effect of happiness. Happiness that comes only from ice cream.
What food brings you happiness? Any special diets that make you smile?