Changing Your Perception About Food
For months I struggled with food (see my previous post https://simplymarthan.wixsite.com/simplymartha/single-post/2017/09/08/I-was-sick). How much should I eat? What’s ‘good’ food? What’s bad food? What’s a serving size? How much is a daily allowance? How much fats should I have for someone my size? The questions were just endless. And even now I still think about food. Mostly because I enjoy thinking about it, as it interests me. But months ago it was part of my illness. I understand that eating disorders come in many different shapes and forms. Food might not even be the main issue for some. It could be due to other circumstances.
I’ve learnt over the months how to look at food differently. In a much healthier mind set and that is manageable for me. Because, I’m being honest with myself, I'll never become one of those people that just mindlessly eats without thinking about it, or just only thinks about food when they’re hungry- because simply THAT’S NOT ME (is this Stormzy I’m quoting?)
So I’ve learnt tips to eat the food I want without having to think about it too much or without it letting me get distressed about all the questions my illness brought up. For someone with issues about their relationship with food- this may be the post for you.
The Green Bulking Machine💚
So back at the peak of my illness I was only eating healthy leafy greens as my main source of carb. Which is extremely good for me but ironically isn't the healthiest considering how much exercise I was doing. I was not eating nearly enough of them to fill me up nor fuel my body. I forgot with spinach, kale, lettuce, rocket and all the great green guys is that they are not high in calories. So by all means eat them because they’re ridiculously healthy and nutrient dense (yay!) remember that to really fuel your body with a leafy green, you MUST provide your body with enough of it. This means instead of having a 1 cup full (average serving size) I advise going The Incredible Hulk style and really bulk up on these items! It may look like a handful is a lot, but at the end of the day they are just leaves so let’s get foodie crazy and bulk up meals by adding at least 2-3 handfuls (you’ll end up with a mountain of green) but if you do fry or sauté your leafy greens they do shrike up in size so it really doesn’t seem like you’re eating that much. Also remember you should be having a balance of a complex carb as well (but again if you're struggling with food just start on this green machine first😉)
Overall you’re not going to put on weight from eating too many greens!
Eat a Lot of Little or a Little of Lot
So I know when my mom ever cooked me food, what freaked me out most (back in my sick days) was that amount of ingredients she would put in that mostly I couldn’t see. I didn’t like that. So I’ve learnt that there are two ways I liked to order my food- either
have 3-4 ingredients but have a lot of them (for example a leafy green (base- kale 3 handfuls) protein source (fish or meat- a palm serving) a healthy fat source (avo- ½ or seeds 2 tsp) and a vegetable source (mushrooms, broccoli, courgette etc…) or either have lots of ingredients but in smaller quantities half a portions of about 7-8 ingredients (apart from protein, because we know how important that is!!) Personally for me I like to see what I’m eating, this would help reduces the uncertainly about my food that would cause me anxiety and stress ( not a good look to be honest with you!)
I was at restaurant the other day (this was such a big achievement for me as it’s still something I struggle with) and I picked a Mexican Powerbowl and what I loved about this dish is that 1) Visibly - I could see every single ingredient that was on my plate (it was even shaped into little segments so that it was literally like I could count the ingredients in one big wheel shape, I liked this) 2) even though it may have looked like a lot (because there was about 10 food items on the plate, or rather powderbowl) there actually wasn’t much of each one so this meant I didn’t feel over faced with too much food or felt the underwhelming sadness of not feeling full (because there is nothing more I hate than eating out and not feeling satisfied) it has probably been the most comfortable meal I have ever eaten out because of the perfectly portion sized meal and it didn’t make me feel too overwhelmed with food! A perfect balance.
Overall if you like to see exactly what you’re eating- don’t over complicate it with too much of too much or not enough of a little.
GET PREPARED LIKE A BOSS!
So don’t like eating out? Hate not knowing when the next meal will be? Don’t have time for a meal? Busy day ahead and don't have time to cook? Or a long car journey and see no service station or struggle to pick something at a pit stop? Let’s invest in a crystal ball.
It may seem like there are two types of people- ones who are super organised, know themselves extremely well and invest in some great tupperware! And the ones that don’t.... I actually get huge satisfaction when someone says ‘you’re so well organised’ I am lucky, in that I know myself very well in terms of energy levels. I’m someone who likes to have a lot of smaller meals (basically I’m someone who likes to be constantly be eating- pig I KNOW!!!) because once I’m hungry that’s it… GAME OVER. I feel my name is under the definition of Hangry (definition- someone who gets angry when hungry). So I come prepared. Tupperware boxes have always been something I feel is a good investment. Even if you’re doing a long car journey or starting the day early so don’t have time to make breakfast in the morning. I always prepare ahead. Seriously your body and future you will be thanking yourself.
Now I'm at university some days I simply don't have enough time to make lunch or snacks- so my favourite thing the night before is MAKING IT ALL THEN!!! Honestly, the satisfaction I get while my flat mates are rushing around like headless chickens trying to make a meal in 15 minutes and I walk in the kitchen, open the fridge whip out my tupperware and leave feeling oh so smug (my face is literally this emoji-😏😏😏😏😏😏😏) praise past Martha for her efforts👏🙌
Overall- start planning some meals ahead, if you know you won’t be able to get food later, PLAN PLAN PLAN. However don't get too obsessed about over planning all your foods, if you starts to affect you negatively you then must look at yourself and think 'Is this normal behaviour?'🙇
So I always talk about balance. I find that hugely important when having a healthy lifestyle because well we really do need it. However, you’ll probably never find me in a KFC or Pizza Hut because well… I simply don’t want it. I have no interest in eating rubbish food like that. And that’s also okay. However do I still like pizza…. OF COURSE! I’ve learnt to get creative and found alternative and healthy ways to still enjoy the food that maybe deemed ‘less nutritious’. Like it may be less ‘cool’ to make your own pizza, but it is way healthier and at the end of the day a pizza is a pizza so you can make it however you want! (also when you actually enjoy making your own stuff I still think I’m a lil bit cool, right?)
I won’t ever feel I’m depriving myself of food or feeling left out if I ever want something like a takeaway. I guess I really do generally prefer to make myself one, and that’s okay! But please don’t ever feel you can’t have a pizza, burgers or chips because there is always a way to fit it into your healthy living. Equally if you really do love a McDonalds or Krispy Kreme then you damn well have it (just as a treat every now and again!)
There really is nothing worse than feeling left out, and the same when it comes to food. Even if it’s a different eating habit or intolerance like changing to a vegan diet or you’re intolerant to certain produce. It’s no different people choosing what they eat through beliefs or medical issues doesn’t mean healthy eating should be looked at any differently then those diets too. (So don’t ever feel guilty for picking the salad if you really want one!!)
Overall- a balanced lifestyle is being happy with both a salad and a burger.
FOOD IS FUEL
So it took me a while to realise that food is needed whether we are being physically active or not. I believed during my unhealthy mind set stage that if I wasn’t being physically active then my body didn’t need the fuel, but literally just breathing causes the body to use energy. It’s quite incredible how the body uses energy for just about everything we do. I then changed my mind to think of food as fuel- food is not something to be feared of, or to not enjoy. Because simply like a car if there is not petrol in it doesn’t move. It’s the same with us.
I hoped you enjoy this post and hope it helps anyone who may be feeling conflicted between food and themselves- honestly a lot of people struggle with food, and it doesn't necessarily mean you have to have a diagnosis disorder. However food is a huge part of life so let's enjoy it as much as you can.
Until next time,
Simply Martha 🌞
I felt my Bhudda bowl needed the man himself
'Without rain, nothing will grow. Embrace the storm that is life' - Bhudda