Food for thought: change the way you change.

by Melissa on January 16, 2014

Hey guys! Almost through the work week!

So, you all know I’m trying to get back into the swing of things, and I started with posting a challenge I’ve set for myself  – 100 Days of Yoga.  It’s not that I plan on stopping after 100 days – it’s more of a way for me to get into a groove and make yoga part of my daily life. I mentioned at the end of Monday’s post that I wanted to talk a little bit about my diet as well. (No, I’m not on a diet. ;) )

There have been some aspects of my lifestyle that I have been focusing on recently, especially in terms of being mindful of my body. My stress level. My caffeine consumption. How incredibly terrible I feel after eating specific foods. Things of that nature. So, after the last few years of figuring out what does and doesn’t work for me when it comes to initiating change, I’ve been focusing on what changes need to be made and how to make them correctly without crossing that line into what I call “the extreme”. Crossing that line, for me, sends me spiraling out of control and right back to where I started.

For instance, a long time ago, I decided I would suddenly make the switch to vegetarianism. With my family. Bad decision. There’s a right and a wrong what of making that decision. Haha. Then there have been the times I’ve gone cold turkey on sugar. Yes, I lost weight. Yes, I felt a difference. But then I denied myself a treat here and there, not trusting my own ability to not go overboard, and well, we all know that by forbidding things, you go nuts and it’s all over.

And then there’s the goal of weight loss…and I just need to say that while I know I need it to happen, I mentioned it before: I’m tired of making that my goal.

So I’m not.

I’m focusing on how I feel…physically, mentally, emotionally, etc. 100 days of yoga for all of the above. Taking my time with getting back into running to prevent injury. Being more mindful and taking my time. Spending more time on self love…and making the slow transition I’ve been making into becoming more what you’d call a “pescatarian”.  I don’t like to label what I am as an eater – there’s no need to. I’m on this journey of learning to eat to live, rather than eat to sooth…or eat to entertain…or anything else.

I’ve felt a massive shift in the way my body responds to what I feed it over the last few months. Specifically, high fat, high carbohydrate foods make me feel anxious yet rundown. A cheeseburger, no matter how big or small, slows me way down. I feel incredibly full and bloated. Dairy has been doing the same. But feed me a massive bowl of raw vegetables or fruits, and I feel the exact opposite. I feel hydrated, energized, and more vibrant. I can’t however, bring myself to completely eliminate animal protein – specifically chicken and fish, but more so fish. I need the whole grains to help fuel my runs, and I prefer these in the form of rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta (if any pasta at all), and sprouted grains.

And sugar…the damn sugar. I’m plagued with a sweet tooth, and I’m learning to control it. I’ve stopped buying a lot of my favorites – ice cream, cookies, brownies. If they’re here, I eat them. (Oddly enough, my husband loves Oreos, and so do I, but I can control the urge for those…why’d I have to fall short on all the others?! Haha.) Sugar cravings don’t come and go for me…they come and stay. However, recently, because I’ve been slowly turning away unnecessary sugar, the cravings aren’t there much anymore.

So, since giving up my obsession with weight loss, I’ve learned to really listen to my body. Now, it’s just about making the changes I need to make, without crossing the extremist line, so that they’re lasting changes. No quick fix detoxes. No elimination of one macronutrient. No cold turkey sugar-free withdrawals that send me back two steps. Just slow, mindful, peaceful changes I plan to maintain.


Apparently, I’ve even changed the way I change.


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie H. January 16, 2014 at 7:11 am

That’s a great mindset! I am an avid food tracker, but when we go on vacation or I stray away for a few days for some reason, I’m amazed at how well I do instinctually. Oftentimes, I’ve gotten on the scale to find that I’ve lost weight. It’s hard, though, to learn to trust yourself not to go overboard. It’s something I struggle with, too.
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Melissa January 16, 2014 at 2:06 pm

As much as I’d love to say that we should all be able to handle food, even on vacation, instinctively…as, well, we should! But we don’t – there’s so much affecting the decisions we make in regards to food. Social settings. Pressure to “live a little”. The way we grew up. Emotional attachment, boredom, and mindlessness. Food security. Everything about our lives affects the the way we eat – so being able to instinctively eat is a very wonderful thing. :) I’ve really been focusing on listening to my body’s signals regarding hunger – though, I’ve gone and messed that up over the years. I’m rarely hungry in the morning, and, well, I should be. So kudos to you, my friend! That’s awesome!


Hayley@healthyregards January 16, 2014 at 8:49 am

I love this post! Thanks girl! I am also trying to become less obsessed with the number on the scale and really be MINDFUL of how my body feels. Which is hard huh?! A number is so much more concrete and being mindful takes effort, but it is so worth it. If you are truly listening to your body then the number on the scale doesn’t matter. Keep up the hard work, friend!
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Melissa January 16, 2014 at 2:18 pm

It really IS so hard to ignore a number. Numbers to us naturally show trend…positive, negative, plateau…it’s hard to turn away! I want so badly to step on it and see where I’m going…on a daily basis. Haha. Which isn’t the way to go. We always want to see that number to go down, and seeing 0.25 down isn’t as exciting as stepping on it a month from now to see 8 pounds gone. It’s all about using it as a tool, without going to the extreme. The scale for me will simply be a monthly tool…to make sure I’m at least not gaining at an alarming rate. Sort of a health assessment rather than the one thing dictating my successes. :)


Michelle @ Running with Attitude January 16, 2014 at 8:50 am

I’m the same way – I find extreme changes never work for me. More mindful changes definitely take hold.
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Melissa January 16, 2014 at 2:20 pm

I mean, heck, they give me the numbers I WANT to see…but totally not maintainable. You get overwhelmed, cranky, and lose hope…easing into it has really helped!


Jenny @ simply be me January 16, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Love your mindset on this. I struggle with always wanted to try new things when it comes to the way I eat (aka my diet) and grow bored easily of programs even when I have success on them. I’m currently on day 5 of the Whole30 and am really trying to listen to how my body feels since eliminating certain foods (namely dairy and grains). But the biggest thing I am doing differently right now is learning to become in tune with my hunger levels. I used to swear by the *eat every 2-3 hours* rule but now I eat when I’m hungry and I really like it. It’s still a big learning process for me and I’m trying really hard to stop focusing just on the weight-loss and more on how my body functions after eating certain foods. As a runner I’m curious to see how the paleo diet helps (or hinders) my running.
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Melissa January 16, 2014 at 2:33 pm

The whole 2-3 hours thing is based on what science says about how often we should eat to keep our metabolic rates constant. No drops, no spikes. Just working efficiently. Instinctively, our bodies will tell us when we need to eat. The problem with either has to do with cues. When you’re scheduling your meals, you’re eating if your body is saying it’s not hungry. When you’re instinctively eating, you may be going 8+ hours without food because you’re not feeling hungry (or don’t hear the cue). A professor and I had a discussion about both approaches and we both sort of agreed that often times people go into “intuitive eating” right away, thinking their bodies will tell them they’re hungry, when their bodies are currently programed to think that it’s supposed to go that long without food. So they still eat far less and end up binging. So, maybe giving yourself the opportunity to eat more often, even if scheduled around what we think is the best for our metabolisms, is best at first…then to go based on intuition. (I hope I’m making sense!)

I won’t touch on paleo, especially as a runner, tee hee (not a fan), but I’m SO glad you’re paying attention to your body – it’ll definitely tell you what’s working and what isn’t. THAT is far more important!


Christine @ Love, Life, Surf January 26, 2014 at 9:59 pm

I love that quote and I’m really proud of you for the way that you are looking at and thinking about change, especially with respect to food. It is SO HARD but focusing on how food makes you feel – that takes you back to what food is supposed to do – to nourish our bodies. I too struggle with sugar. Oh the sugar! I wish that I could figure out a way to make me less of a slave to it but little by little, right?
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