Diary of a Fit Woman: Fighting Your Food Demons
Let’s be real people. We all have a type, i.e. certain things we like that we gravitate towards over and over again. No, this isn’t about the kinds of people you date. This has everything to do with food!
We know exactly what our food weaknesses are. These are the kinds of foods we can’t resist unless there’s some monetary prize involved in staying away from them. Or maybe your issue is not knowing when to stop or eating for every reason other than being hungry.
There are food demons, those cravings that keep us from being great. The most common ones for anyone’s diet tend to fall into the category of sweets, fried foods and over or emotional eating. Here is how you can fight each one of these demons and get past one of the most challenging obstacles you’ll face while becoming a healthier you.
I start with this one because it is my daily struggle. I don’t think I’ve gone an entire week without some form of chocolate. Only one time in my life have I done a really strict diet where I went without sweets for 21 days. Needless to say when those 21 days were up, I’m pretty sure the first thing I ate was chocolate.
The challenge with sweets is they tend to come in bite sized servings, like a mini candy bar or a donut hole. You rationalize having a few, but they add up. Then you have to take into account the sugar in other items like soft drinks, juices or even yogurt. Even when making healthy choices, you can take in quite a bit of sugar.
Fight your sugar demon by cutting out all sugar intake through beverages. The best way to do this is to only drink water or sparkling water. Only allow yourself to have one sweet treat a day. A treat would be considered a muffin, cookie or candy bar. That means turning down the cupcake after you had banana bread for breakfast. Stay strict and don’t allow yourself anything else sweet besides fruit or yogurt.
If you’re a lover of savory flavors, you probably struggle with fried foods. There’s something very satisfying about salty, crunchy fried foods. The bad part about it is you can’t have just a little bit of it; just one potato chip won’t do.
The challenge with fried foods is they tend to be light and airy making it seem like you could eat more. Not to mention the crazy amount of fat frying adds to anything. All of that extra crunchiness and flavor are really just calories adding up to weight gain.
Fight your fried foods demon by cutting out fried foods all together. There’s no point in trying to wean yourself off of these kinds of foods, but if you must start slow, try only having one fried food item like french fries. Swap fried meats like fish and chicken for their baked alternatives. Satisfy your crunchy cravings with homemade baked potato chips, or hard vegetables seasoned with a little sea salt like carrots. Swap out the unhealthy snacks for salted nuts like almonds or pistachios.
There are certain habits we have with food that we aren’t truly aware of until after the moment. Have you ever ate too much, leaned back in your chair at the table and said to yourself, “I ate too much?” I’m sure you have. For whatever reasons we never have these thoughts in the moment, but they always creep up after the damage has been done. This is similar for emotional eating. We get stressed, sad, tired, happy and next thing you know, a whole bag, plate, piece of something is gone. And then afterwards we ask ourselves, “Why did I eat all of that?”
The challenge with overeating and/or emotional eating is staying in the moment and being aware of your actions. The act of eating doesn’t require much thought, so it’s easy to zone out and not realize what you’re doing. Fight your overeating and/or emotional eating demons by scheduling the times you eat. There’s no room for emotional eating if you’ve already had your afternoon snack. Practice portion control by measuring out your meals and snacks before having them. Make the decision that you won’t pour some more granola if you already had a serving size already.
We know what we like and the foods we just can’t seem to get away from. But often those foods are truly the barrier between having the weight loss and healthy lifestyle we want or simply remaining the same. Once you know what your demons are, make a game plan to overcome them. It’s the only way to get to a healthier, happier you.
Reneé DuBose is a Chicago media professional who was bitten by the health and fitness bug a few years ago. On her journey to get and stay fit, she started a health and wellness blog to share her tips with friends, family and anyone needing help. Visit The Fit Print and keep up with her on Instagram @theFitPrint.