#30dayeatinghealthy

If you follow my Facebook page you saw a little over a month ago that I decided to start holding myself more accountable with my eating by taking a picture of everything I ate and drank for the next 30 days.  Part of this was a challenge with my running group Run Grrrls Run.  I was inspired by having a night of over indulgence and feeling very sick afterwards because of over eating and drinking too much.  I was already struggling with having gained weight with my marathon training and feeling like my appetite was out of control.  I used my Instagram account Formerlyfatgirlrunning to document my journey.  It’s been more than a month now and I plan to keep doing it on occasion, but I won’t flood it completely with food and drink pictures now.  I admit that I stopped doing pictures of water, but the other calorie laden drinks I kept doing (read mostly coffee, smoothies, and alcohol).

30daysofinstagram

Today I looked over my photos and made a few observations and I had a few surprising results as well that I thought I might share with you.  First I want to ask you: have you ever tracked your food?  I know that many people working to get fit and be healthy start tracking their food along the way.  In fact it is sometimes a necessity so that we can really see where we are starting from.  It was a valuable tool when I started my journey because over the years as I got bigger my ability to eat more and more grew as well; my stomach inside and out grew.  So in order to really make changes I had to start with weighing and measuring.  One of my friends shared some articles recently about the-art-of-food-tracking, she had some great tips in it and shared that she does it a few times a year to figure out where she is at, a mini self assessment.  I see now why she suggests to keep doing it every once and awhile.

One of the things I noticed is that doing this in general made me much more mindful of how much I was eating.  I had this accountability whether real or imagined that people would suddenly see how I ate.  More than that if I really want to get back to a healthier weight for myself and have the fuel I need to do the activities I want then I had to start making some better choices.

The second thing that happened was I stopped taking little sneaks here and there of food during the day and while making meals.  I had gotten to where I was finishing little bits of the meal if there wasn’t much left or I was eating the “occasional” treat but it was slowly becoming more than occasional.  It was becoming a habit to eat a tiny piece of chocolate daily and sneak some chips daily.  I had clearly started slipping back into old behaviors and this made me stop and think before making that choice.

I also got more creative in dealing with meals that weren’t my choice to make.  I live in a large family situation and what I would eat that would be healthier isn’t always what others would eat so I had to take a look at how to improve it.  I literally pealed the breading off of fish one night in an effort to make it a healthier meal.  I ate smaller portions when the meal wasn’t that healthy too.

Finally it helped to continue my transformation in my relationship with food.  In the past food has been my comfort, my friend, and the thing I looked to when I wanted to change my mood.  Doing this experiment really helped me to shift my focus on eating to make myself stronger and satisfy hunger.  I started to slow down and recognize cravings verses true hunger better like I mentioned in a recent post.  In fact today did not start off in the most stellar way, actually it started with having a really rough night.  One thing after another seemed to pile up, all little things, but frustrating either way.  I had one last errand to run and as I walked around the store to get what I needed I strongly considered getting a candy bar.  The occasional treat is okay, but I was clearly considering it to reward myself for putting up with people and to improve my mood.  For the first time I thought to myself, “I’m really tired of allowing food to rule my moods”.  Never before would that thought have resonated so clearly in my mind.

What started off as an effort to get increased accountability ended up with an increase in mindfulness and *drum roll please* a surprising loss of 4lbs and 2 inches off of my stomach.  Yep, I managed to lose weight without doing the weighing and measuring.  I am so pleased with this.  I know that the increase of weight lifting has also played a good part of the loss, but I can’t help and wonder if I would have achieved it had I not gotten my eating habits under better control.  I’m not going to continue to post it on a regular basis now, but will probably use this as a spot check in the future.  I also plan to share some of my creative and new meals with my Instagram followers.

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