Friday, June 28, 2013

Food triggers

Hi, I'm Laura and I'm a stress eater.  There, I said it.  I think I always knew I was a stress eater, but I didn't accept that fact until I started keeping a food journal almost a decade ago.  In early 2005, I was convinced my weight was prohibiting me from getting pregnant so I started working out twice a day and very strictly watching my food intake (i.e. I did not eat any of my favorite foods.  Goodbye pizza, farewell popcorn shrimp, adios sweets of any kind).  I also began keeping a food diary (I might have a slight obsession with blank books and this was a good use for one of the many I had lying around) and it was a really eye-opening experience.

As I would re-read my entries in the food diary, I would find that on good days, I could stick to my healthy choices but on bad days I would binge and snack all day.  Once I made that discovery, I was able, for the most part, to recognize when I was stressing and try to evaluate my eating habits.  "Laura, will that cookie really make you feel better?"  Not usually and in fact, the complete opposite feeling would happen.  Making a bad choice felt good in the moment, but only briefly, until guilt set in.  So instead of succumbing to snacks and junk food when I was stressed out, I could turn to other things, like music to relax me or a walk to get some fresh air. The combination of starting my food journal and working out consistently helped me lose 35 lbs in 3 months and the next year, I got pregnant with my oldest son.

This time around, I knew that I did not want to work out twice a day (with two little boys I don't have time for that; sometimes it's tough getting one workout in!) and I also didn't want to be as strict with my diet.  I still want to enjoy the food I love, but in moderation.  I'm also tracking my food in a different way through MyFitnessPal.  I don't necessarily need to journal about my food choices, since I've learned along the way what my food triggers are, but having a tracking mechanism is invaluable.

While it has taken me longer to lose weight this time around, I've lost more total pounds (suck it 2005) and I feel like the weight will stay off this time.  It just took a little self reflection, finding the right balance of exercise and diet, and the right tracking tools.

I guess my point to the above is take time to learn about what your own food triggers are (boredom, stress, etc.) so that you can find non-food ways to deal with those triggers to help you reach your weight loss goals.

Thankfully, the weather here cooled off a bit and it was a gorgeous evening, so I got to take a walk with my favorite workout buddies, my hubby and my sons.  I even got a few running spurts in, which was nice.  My oldest rode his scooter and my little guy got a kick out of me running while pushing him in the stroller.  He kept rocking back and forth as if he was saying "Go faster, Mom, go faster!"  We did the long loop around our favorite trail and it was a really relaxing walk, but also a great workout!

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"You will never know your limits until you push yourself to them."