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I love food freedom. It’s great, and I’m not knocking it at all. Not having to count calories, or eliminate food groups, or beat myself up for one little cheat here or there…I totally choose that.
In the Trim Healthy Mama community, a lot of emphasis is put on the women who come from a background of dangerous food choices that border on or become disorders. I get that. There are many, many people out there who have a hard time believing that they don’t have to keep track of every single thing they put into their mouths. We need to convince them that food is not to be feared; it is given to us by God and should be enjoyed.
However, today I would like to address the other side of the coin, which is where I find myself.
My family has always eaten well. We rarely eat out and make most things from scratch. We have never excluded any food groups. We grow a lot of vegetables in our garden every summer and have over 20 blueberry bushes. We don’t eat organic, we don’t worry about GMOs, we’ve always been healthy people for the most part…we ate normally. Trim Healthy Mama fits into that lifestyle very well, I think. Although the price of the flours and sweeteners makes me gulp (hence why you rarely see almond flour in my recipes), it can be doable and there are things that have been at least partially cut out of our grocery lists that help make up the difference.
I started Trim Healthy Mama because I had a little extra weight that I wanted to get rid of. It worked well and I feel great. I started my blog because I enjoyed cooking and thought that sharing recipes in blog format would be a cool creative outlet. The longer I go in Trim Healthy Mama, the more I see it as something to do for life. I put my scales away because it no longer mattered to me and I kept tripping over it in the bathroom. I continued eating, and testing recipes for my blog, and eating, and eating…
And then I woke up to the fact that while I was mostly eating on-plan, I was gaining some weight. I knew why: I was totally over-doing my portions. Food freedom, right? And while Trim Healthy Mama gets your metabolism going but good, even it cannot make up for just plain gluttony. And gluttony is sin.
Waking up to that was the first step in my recovery.
(This post obviously needs pictures of some sort, and since I only decided yesterday to post this, I didn’t have time to take very good ones. This is why you get some selfies taken with a 35mm prime lens. I.e. it doesn’t zoom out.)
It’s been about 2 months since my “revelation,” and since then I’ve been working at reducing my portions to a normal amount. It’s definitely a work in progress…I mean, food is so good! I don’t like to tell myself, “no.” Few people do, in any area of life, but it’s a good exercise.
“No, I will not eat three on-plan cookies.”
“No, I will not eat half the can of peanuts.”
I’d like to offer some suggestions for those struggling with the same issue I am:
1) When you’ve had what your brain tells you is a normal-sized helping yet you’re still craving more, just STOP. Get up and leave the table and do the dishes. If that would be rude and you want to participate in dinner conversation, make yourself a mug of hot tea. I do this at least once a day at lunch or supper, and sometimes both.
2) Cut out some of the extra richness from your diet. We Trim Healthy Mamas love our S meals, don’t we? It’s the license to eat all the fats we want! *buzzer* WRONG. Have you ever noticed how often in the book Serene and Pearl talk about consuming needless calories? Especially from things like peanut butter and cream? Try to keep most of your richness in the form of coconut oil, butter, eggs, and richer meats like beef. Not only will that help you keep your portions in check (because for some reason it’s not as tempting to eat too much steak as it is to have three slices of cheesecake), but it’s a different kind of fat that I find digests better for some reason and doesn’t leave me so over-satiated. Don’t get me wrong: I love peanut butter and I will continue eating it. But I don’t need to consume 1/4 cup per meal. I’ll give you a hint: doing a Fuel Cycle will help you remind your body of what the good fats are, because that’s what Deep S days are all about.
3) Don’t reward yourself with food. I like to give myself excuses like, “I rode three horses today in the cold and I am exhausted. I deserve an extra cookie.” Nope. Can’t do that. That’s how I gained weight – by thinking I was burning off things that I wasn’t.
4) Try to do something in the form of exercise every day. Even if you have an active job. I train horses, but doing 15 minutes of intense exercise (sit-ups, push-ups, kettle-bells, jumping rope, leg lifts, squats, and other such painful things-sprint intervals are great, too) not only helps me tone muscles I wouldn’t otherwise but also gets me into a “fit” mindset which then helps me make the right eating choices. It really is psychological.
5) Do not pass go, do not eat at night. This issue is covered quite well in the book, but for some reason I always forget. When I start snacking at night, I gain weight.
And this one isn’t really about gluttony, but it’s just a general weight-loss trick I’ve found to be really important (but then I usually forget again): EAT YOUR COCONUT OIL. It does amazing things. I quit eating coconut oil for awhile (instead I was eating peanut butter and cream cheese) and I actually lost my taste for Skinny Chocolate. I never thought that would happen, but it did, and even now I can’t quite stomach it without peanut butter on it. But I’m forcing myself to down a small piece every day to try to regain my love for it because coconut oil helps so much. I guess I should use it to cook with more, too. Sneak it in wherever you can.
So what am I eating these days? Well, here’s what a typical day looks like for me:
8:00 AM – chocolate oatmeal of some sort, either overnight or just a quick microwave version if I forgot to make it the night before (I used to add a piece of toast to this too but have now started eating some cottage cheese to help fill me up instead) or sweetened and flavored Greek yogurt with a slice of toast (or two)
12:00-1:00 PM – leftovers or a cold sandwich on half a Joseph’s pita or flatbread; celery with peanut butter or some sliced apple, depending on what kind of meal I’m eating; a piece or two of dessert of some sort, depending what it is; this is often where I’ll pull the hot tea out to curb my cravings. Overall I’ve just decreased my portions at lunch, keeping my sides to smaller portions, declining seconds, and not taking thirds on dessert.
3:30 PM – snack of some sort; leftovers I pull out of the fridge, a piece of whatever blog stuff I’m testing, some Greek yogurt, etc. I try to keep this pretty small instead of another full meal, and I try to keep it fairly close to Fuel Pull. I had been totally over-doing my snacks, both in quantity and quality.
6:30ish PM – supper, usually consisting of some sort of meat, some sort of vegetable or two, a piece or two of dessert, and maybe another mug of tea (usually mint, this late at night, since Oolong is caffeinated) if I’m really craving things – again, I’ve just been trying to control going back for second helpings
9:30-10 PM – the snack bug usually bites but more and more I am able to either squash it, just drink a mug of tea instead, or stick with just a tiny snack – previously I was not eating tiny snacks. Hello, half-empty can of peanuts…or worse yet, sugar-laden ice cream out of the freezer….
So I’ve changed my eating habits. Am still changing my eating habits. What are the results? I don’t feel so heavy and over-satiated. I have lost a few pounds, even without a lot of extra exercise (those 15 minutes I recommended – mostly I don’t get around to that, but it does help when I do). My face, which was filling out again, is returning back to its normal shape. It’s definitely a journey. Gluttony is definitely something that I am prone to. But with God’s help, it’s also something that is fixable.
Here is another photo of my silly self. Please grandly ignore the alien invasion on my forehead. No doubt it was caused by the sugary dessert I had on Sunday.