I posed a question on my stories, asking what topic, if any, you’d like me to expand on. Let’s start with this one: “Katie, what do I do if I fucked up my eating; how do I reset?”
Here’s the quick and easy answer: You can’t fuck up your eating, you can only wish you had eaten better and make the next best choice. Your eating is on a continuum. Until the day you die you’ll be eating. You can also address the judge in your mind who says eating is somehow a moral issue – it’s not good or bad, it just is. Eating is a series of choices that supports your body and intentions, or it isn’t. You can address that judge objectively.
You can love yourself while eating a kale salad with chickpeas and chopped apples and you can love yourself while drinking a Pepsi and eating Doritos. Your body will digest those foods along with the affirmation and ask for more – regardless. One leads to excellent digestion and vitality while the other leads to indigestion and lethargy. The question isn’t, do you love yourself, but rather, how do you want to feel? How you feel is how you love.
If you’re overweight, stressed and unhappy in your skin and if you’ve perpetuated patterns around food that have brought you to a place you wish you weren’t – there’s a solution and you’ll find it in your problem.
While there are several approaches to solving this problem, there’s no more an enlightening one than unraveling what your relationship to food and your body is.
Question: My relationship to food and my body is _____________(please expand).
You can explore this question in a metaphor, example: my relationship is like turbulent weather, unpredictable, violent and sometimes peaceful. Or you can describe it with adjectives, example: my relationship is pleasant about one week out of the month and unpleasant the other three. However you choose to describe it, be that positive or negative, will give you a lot to work with.
Much of our food/body demise has nothing to do with food but an event that spurred a series of behaviors that became habits. If those habits were reinforced with refined sugar, processed fat and salt in addictive combinations, then somewhere along the way you learned that whenever life feels familiar you know how to make yourself feel better. After all, we’re not only creatures of habit, we seek pleasure and avoid pain.
The second question we can ask ourselves is what we’re really hungry for. Does the food we turn to satisfy our taste buds or our intentions? Once our taste buds and intentions align, making choices about what to eat will become easier. Most often then not I want to feel well, energized, confident, clear and rested. So I choose foods and activities that support that. I also avoid behaviors that don’t support that – to the best of my ability. I honor the times when I really need to put my feet up and throw caution to the wind just to be, whether it be with friends to have a glass of wine, or with myself and a pint of my favorite ice cream. In those circumstances I practice acceptance knowing that my life revolves around enjoyment and I never vier too far from the course (home base).
If home base isn’t clear – that’s a great place to start. What does eating well look and feel like to you? Define it. Redefine it. Practice it. Adjust it. You’re the creator, the alchemist, the dreamer. If I could count the number of times I’ve redefined my approach to food and eating…it’s a habit in and of itself.
Lastly no one sticks better to their plan than the person who created it. In other words, following someone else’s plan for success will only yield so many results for you. You’re your own person with your own ticks, traits and preferences. The day you design your own program is the day you start sticking to it. Choose bits and pieces from other people who inspire you – then start creating from there. For example: I very much follow “the starch solution,” and “whole food plant based diet.” However, both approaches can have varying degrees of rigidity, ie. no oil, so my approach is a softer more forgiving design where I allow most vegan foods as long as they’re gluten free and I monitor sugar, oil and additives. 80% of the time I solely eat potatoes, rice, oats and beans for sustenance alongside the plethora of veggies and fruits available to me. Then, roughly 20% (give or take) of the time I choose fun foods like gluten free vegan pizzas, peanut butter filled pretzels, plant based ice creams, homemade cakes, pies and desserts most of which I make using whole ingredients and minimal if any sugar/oil. Make sense? It’s what works for me.
If you have my cookbook be sure to create your list of non-negotiables. This will help you decipher where you “wiggle” and where you don’t. For example: I rarely drink anymore but if I do, I have one glass of wine, 2 absolute max and never a whole bottle. If I buy a pint of ice cream, I don’t buy more for at least a couple weeks. It’s June 9th as I write this post and the last time I ate ice ream was April 31st. I space it out so, 1. I always appreciate it and 2. I apply my creativity to making an alternative. While some days I have a green drink for breakfast, others I have a tofu scramble with gluten free toast. I don’t let rules bog me down but I maintain boundaries (same ones we apply to our relationships – like, how many times will we let that friend talk down to us before we stop answering the text…you feel me?). The body strives for balance. You can help that process along by making conscious choices.
So what DO I DO – if I wish I had made better choices?
- I always always ALWAYS remember every day, every meal is an opportunity to do what I said I was going to do.
- If I sway from my plans, which I often do, I accept the change but keep the intention.
- I choose foods that grow from the ground and on trees – first and foremost.
- I RESET every 3 months – if you’re not familiar with my Body Resets get acquainted now! I cleanse my body of refined sugar and eat only whole, unadulterated foods for 10 days. I do this 4x a year. Since I choose a vegan lifestyle, meat and dairy are already off the menu and I also avoid gluten. Alcohol is also nixed and I’ll admit, since I started doing the Body Resets I went from drinking somewhat frequently (2-3 drinks a week) – to extremely infrequently (1 glass of wine every month or two). Not drinking alcohol is a major game changer for anyone wanting a better relationship to themselves as a whole.
- I turn to veggies, soups and plant proteins.
- I use honey, maple syrup or dates to sweeten my food and turn to fruit if I want something sweet BEFORE I venture out for the [plant based] desserts. This doesn’t mean I don’t indulge, I sure do, but I don’t make it part of my routine grocery shopping.
- I use chips, crackers or other fun vegan treats like condiments – for example I’ll add gluten free pretzels to a salad or eat them as an excuse to have something healthier with it like sauerkraut, hummus or one of my delicious veggie dips. I’ll take a vegan snack food like cauliflower crackers and add it to soup for crunch and flavor. The point is – I don’t just sit and nosh on a bag.
- I start my day mindfully, quietly and with a stimulating cup of coffee. I don’t deviate from this – if I have a lot to do that day or if I have to start particularly early, I set my alarm earlier to make sure I have time to check in with myself, pray, breathe etc.
- I move my body – but I don’t punish it. If nothing else, I walk. But most days I incorporate some kind of strength or resistance training.
- I always use empowering language with myself – even if I’m down in the dumps – I talk to myself kindly and encourage my next choices with affirmations and motivation. Curiosity is the best tool! What if I worked out tomorrow morning….what if I made a batch of soup on Sunday evening to feed me for a couple nights this week? What if…
No matter how you frame it – fucking it up isn’t a thing. You know who you are. And if you feel iffy about that, strip yourself down to your most basic parts: lover, mother, friend, creator, dreamer, diva…keep going.