Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My "Ah-ha" Moment(s)

As human beings, we often look to fit in, belong, and feel satisfied.  Two-hundred days per year, I'm a school counselor often helping budding adolescents solve their problems and learn to take school seriously.  

Talk about wanting to fit in!  Dr. William Glasser, a renowned psychologist, founded two major theories that I subscribe to when working with kids.  Glasser's "Choice Theory" asserts that human beings behave to satisfy 5 basic needs.  One of those basic needs is "belonging".   Who doesn't want to feel like they fit in?  Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs addresses this as well.
In my work as a Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach, these issues come up with clients all the time.  This is why I chose the training I did.  It focuses on working with "the whole client".  I talk with clients about who they are as human beings before we ever address who they are as eaters.  

When I think about who I am as an eater, I zone in on one need:  I love eating because it gives me immediate satisfaction.  I think about what will taste good and what will feel good going down (i.e. crunchy food, cool food in the summer, savory food, etc.).  Never more has this come to my conscious than the last month.

  I've shared in a previous post that my family is experimenting with the GAPS Diet this summer.  In a nutshell, the first phase is a bone broth fast where you help repair your gut lining.  As you move into the next phases, you introduce foods back into your diet while you stay away from sugar, processed foods, and grains.  I will also remind you that my children are nine and seven years old.  They have opinions.  Needs.  

However, we have stayed the course. Well, I'd say 99% of the time.  No one is perfect, but persistence is paying off as it's rewarding to see our kids articulate they can not have something (like sweets) because it's not healthy for them.  But being a good role model is not easy.  I have needs.  Opinions!!  And so I arrive at what I came here to share with you:

I found myself looking through the cabinet a few days ago at my "witching hour" of 7:30 p.m. looking for something to snack on.  I could not find the bags of chip-like treats from Trader Joe's we used to keep.  No protein bars.  Nothing sweet!  Anywhere!!!  I wasn't terribly hungry.  Probably was just bored looking back, however eating sounded good.  The thought FELT good.  While I wanted to feel satisfied, I also had to make sure what I put in my body was something my kids, who seem to be programmed with a chip in their brain to flock to me at the crack of the cabinet door, would approve as "on our diet".  So I grabbed a small handful of almonds and took a swig of water, shut the door, and it hit me.  Removing the "stuff" that we were eliminating from our diets made me think and remember:

I have goals I'm trying to meet:  I want to lean out, lose some weight, and perform better at the gym.

If I want to meet my goals and continue to support the purpose of my wife and kids being on the GAPS Diet, THEN I DO NOT NEED TO ALWAYS EAT FOR THE ENJOYMENT OF EATING.


I HAVE TO KEEP CHANGING MY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD.  This is not always easy, fun, and sometimes it's just downright difficult. But......just realizing this has made a huge difference in my life.  It's brought to my conscious something that sounds so simple.  

And so today, I woke up, went for a short run on my off day from my Crossfit training, made an omelette with sausage from our farmer, onions and fresh kale we bought Friday at a local farmer's market.  After some errands, I came home and it hit me as I finished my lunch:  one slice of kielbasa sausage from our local farmer, cucumber slices, and some hummus from Trader Joe's.  Months ago, years ago when I was 279 lbs., this would merely have been my appetizer, my warm up course.  Today, not only was it tasty, but the portion size completely filled me up.  As I type an hour later, my stomach is not asking me for more food, and the thought of eating does not appeal to me to eat more.  

So I offer a few pieces of advice:

Get in touch with your needs as a human being.

Tap into your needs as an eater.

Try to identify what your relationship(s) is/are with food.

Establish long/short term health goals for yourself, and make them manageable.

Remove the food you consider "toxic" from your home if you can not mange portions.

Be your kids' dietary role model.
Keep in mind that it is ok to sometimes eat for sustenance.  Not every meal has to provide you with immediate joy and satisfaction.
By changing your eating habits, be open to the idea that new foods can eventually bring you the joy that old, more "toxic" foods did.
My journey with food and fitness is no different than anyone else's.  It has had peaks and valleys.  Still does.  It's not always easy.  I have days when I want to gorge myself with pizza, wings, and chips.  I fight cravings.  But I immerse myself in information, accountability, and I want to be as healthy as I can.  My family has been my food accountability system most recently.  Stay tuned for an upcoming post on my latest fitness accountability partner in an upcoming post.  

P.S.  One more piece of advice:  Find an accountability partner.  It works.  

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