Finding Real Comfort in Food

Up until just a few months ago, for most of my life, food has been my security blanket. Whenever I had a rough day, an interaction that left me feeling insecure, or my depression began to enclose on me again, I knew exactly how french fries and a cheeseburger would make me feel. I knew they wouldn’t reject me, they’d make me feel the same way they always did, and I could enjoy them for about ten minutes. Ten minutes of comfort. Ten minutes of easing the pain of being tormented by depression and insecurity. Ten minutes of feeling “happy”.

For a brief moment, I felt good.

But all of those brief moments of good tasting mac-n-cheese, mashed potatoes, garlic bread, and pizza left me feeling empty inside. When my plate was clean and the dishes were done, I was still insecure. I was still depressed. I was still ashamed of my body.

And each time I ate a curly fry dipped in Arby’s sauce, I gained a little more on my waist, and lost a little more confidence in who I was.

Why couldn’t I control my weight? Why couldn’t I have controlled what I had ate three months ago, so I look different today? Why was the person in the mirror so much different than who I thought I was?

To be fair, I didn’t eat fast food or carbs all of the time. I did not seek comfort in every single meal. Primarily, I ate pretty good. I ate a standard “food pyramid” American diet with the occasional fast food.  But I did eat impulsively sometimes. And sometimes I’d stretch those ten minutes of feeling good into twenty minutes by getting a second helping of a meal. Part of this was biological; when we eat a few carbs, our body starts wanting more, so we eat more. The other part of this was psychological. We feel good when we eat carbs, so we want more.

So, week after week, I lost the food battle. The weeks turned into months, and the months turned into years. And after I had lost enough battles, I became overwhelmed with the feeling of defeat. That feeling of defeat controlled me. It became a part of who I was. Most of the time, I hung my head down in shame. I avoided pictures with my family. I avoided mirrors. I avoided people, because I didn’t want them to see me like this.And the extra weight that stuck to my body stood as a testament to my lack of self-control and my battles lost.

And so the cycle would continue. I’d eat to numb that pain. I’d eat to feel in control. As if I were telling myself, This isn’t something that is happening to you, it’s something we are choosing. It’s ok to be a little “thick”. I’d eat for that ten minutes of feeling “happy” again.

Then, I started Keto. For those of you that are already ketoers, you probably know the feeling of eating just for the sake of getting your body some nutrients. Eating keto usually means eating a lot of the same foods over and over. After about two months of keto, your body starts to stop craving carbs all the time. I thank God that I had the discipline to keep it together for those two months, to get those cravings out of my body!

It wasn’t until recently that I realized I’d been winning the battle, though. While at multiple Christmas dinners this year, I realized my plate was not as full as it was in previous Christmases. I did not make excessive trips back to the food to fill my plate again. I did not feel overly stuffed or uncomfortable with the foods I ate.

In fact, over Thanksgiving, I lost a pound. And over Christmas, I maintained my weight.

That is what real comfort food, my friends.

Food that makes you feel comfortable in your own body. Food that helps you exude confidence, rather than defeat.

Food that’s “good feeling” lasts longer than the ten minutes you are tasting it, you have that good feeling every time you look in a mirror. Food that gives you fuel to be the person that you know you are. Food that doesn’t make you feel guilty or fuel your depression.

Real comfort food isn’t about what makes you feel good for a fleeting ten minutes. Comfort food is about fueling your body so you can be confident in who you are.

And this is why I won’t go back to the other lifestyle. Its about more than what is on my plate. I don’t want to go back to hanging my head in shame. I want to continue to be happy with who I am. I want the food I eat to reflect who I want to become.

I broke the cycle. I’ve won the battle. It’s about keeping it that way now.

Advertisements

Catching a Break

I know it seems like I’ve neglected my blog this week, but it was not exactly what I wanted to do. I just finished working almost 60 hours in four days, so there wasn’t much time for me to sleep, let alone blog. I did get several short work-outs in, though. I am pleased to say that I have three days off now, though.

I also hadn’t had that much time to even weigh myself, and with it being shark week, I thought it probably wouldn’t be a good idea for my morale anyway.

Much to my surprise, I work up this morning two pounds less than the last time I weight myself. My plateau broke, and I am at one of my lowest weights in five years. I honestly feel like I am losing more fat, but I might be gaining muscle. My scale that will tell me my body fat percentage is coming in, and I’m excited to start tracking that!

I know it would be impossible for me to be able to keep up this diet if I didn’t plan ahead. I work with some adolescent boys that had found themselves in trouble with the law in one way or another and are court ordered to complete a counseling program at a residential facility. One thing we teach these guys is that you must plan ahead to get ahead. Every week, before my week even starts, I plan out all of my meals for the week and prepare them.  It also takes just about as much effort to make all my meals up for the week at one time as it does for me to make one meal at a time. It only takes about 45 minutes each week for me to make up all my meals for the week.

This week, I made my own Lunchables with 1 oz of Colby Cheese, 1 oz of summer sausage, 1 celery stalk and 1 Tbs of homemade no-sugar added peanut butter. If I didn’t do this simple task each week, I believe I would likely eat the protein and veggie that the boys were eating in the cafeteria, and I would often not be able to eat Keto at all. I ate my homemade Lunchables for lunch and dinner every day this week and that was all I needed to eat to no long feel hungry. It feels great to be at a point where my insulin levels are in check, so I don’t feel the need to keep eating once I am full.

Anyway, I’m glad I finally getting a break, both from work and from my scale! I’ll keep you updated about how the weekend goes!

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

Our world is filled with carbohydrates. There is a whole aisle at my grocery store for bread, another for soda, and another for potato chips and crackers. Even with things you wouldn’t think have excess carbs, you’ll usually be suprised. A typical serving of BBQ sauce has as much carbs in it as I eat in one day. Many salad dressings are even filled with sugar.

And don’t even get me started on dining out. My usual low carb options are a burger without a bun (and my husband eating the fries) or a salad. And often, the salads are topped with croutons or candied fruit.

So, in a world where high fructose corn-syrup and 574 different ways to eat a potato, a daily plan is necessary to eat healthy.

Here’s how I do it.

First, I calculated how much of calories, fat, carbs, and protein I needed to lose weight. You can use this awesome calculator that I did not invent to help you determine what you need to be eating. Try to keep track of these numbers as close to you can as possible. Since we all know it’s virtually impossible to hit every number perfectly every day, remember that the number of carbs you should eat in a day is what matters most. These numbers are what we call “macros”.

FOOOOOOD

I know the kinds of foods I can eat and I keep track of when I eat them. I use myfitnesspal.com everyday. My fitness pal allows me to calculate the calories, carbs, protein, fat and fiber I eat on a daily basis. It also allows me to track my exercise goals and accomplishments. And it’s free!

Breakfast… is usually water. I chose to do Intermittent Fasting from dinner one evening (about 5:00) until Lunch the next day (around noon). I am not hungry during this time. My body has plenty of fuel from the fat I am burning. But drinking enough water on Keto is important, so I make sure I get 32 oz. early in the day. Intermittent Fasting allows my body to rely on the fat I already have stored instead of food I’d be eating.

Lunch lately has been lettuce wraps filled with low-carb guacamole, bacon, and blue cheese. It is a high fat meal, so it keeps me full for a while. I also make sure to chug down at least 32 more oz. of water.

I have a protein shake everyday in the afternoons. It’s just coffee, Body By Vi protein shake mix, and a little heavy cream.

On weekdays, I work through the evening and I have to eat whatever I bring. It is super easy to just make my meals up for this on Sunday, and have them ready to go throughout the week. This is usually just a romaine salad with bacon, ham, blue cheese and Ranch dressing. I leave the ranch off until right before I eat. Also… more water!

Image

This is what a typical day would look like for me before I add in any exercise. I am over on protein by quite a bit, but that is something I’m working on reducing. I was going over by quite a bit more than I am now. It also usually balances out because I excersie enough to get my “remaining” number down.

Exercise

Exercise is also something I plan. Monday and Wednesday are my days off from working out, due to my long hours I put in at work on these days. Currently, I am just walking/jogging/running enough to get my heart rate up. I do this outside, since we live conveniently on a Bike/walking path. I’m going to have to move indoors soon since the Midwest is not knows for its warm, sunny winters. I usually walk/jog/run around 3 miles per day, 5 days per week. However, I often do 4 to 5 miles on the weekend days instead of the 3 miles. Last week, I had roughly 20 miles spread out over 5 days.

My plan is to soon implement strength training into my daily routine. I’ll let you now when that happens. Maybe 2 more weeks?

So that is my average daily plan. I hope this helps you understand a little more about Keto. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions. You just might be the inspiration for my next post.

Keep Calm and Keto On!