“Food is fuel, not the enemy nor the therapist”
We often look at food with fear. We fear the fat, calories, sugar, carbs, and fats in all of the food we eat. So how can we look at food as fuel when we mainly see it as the enemy? We start to put ourselves on diets that restrict our calories and the foods we eat.On top of all the dieting, we add excessive workouts into the mix. This can become exhausting and dangerous when we cut our calories, and rev up our exercise. The truth of the matter is, we should not be eating less… we should be eating healthier. February 23rd – March 1st is National Eating Disorder Week. In respect to this, we want to help everyone have a healthy relationship with food and exercise. Having a healthy relationship with food is a life long journey with many ups and downs.
Here are a few tips to help you along this journey.
1.) 1,200 is not the magic number for calories. This number is something that many of us just “know”. It was magically placed in our heads and we are unsure why or how it got there. People think “I am not losing weight on 1,400 calories a day, the logical next step is to go down to a miserable 1,200, right?” Wrong. This is not the way to go; in fact calorie counting is simply ineffective. We need to count our nutrients, and not our calories.
2.) It is okay to slip up. Do not get down on yourself after that slice of pizza you had last night. Instead of binging or calorie restricting when you have a minor set back, do something productive. Take a walk to clear your mind, drink plenty of water, and tell yourself that this is not the end all be all. It is okay to indulge every now and again, in fact it is recommended that we do not 100% restrict ourselves from a certain food or food group because it will simply set us up for failure.
3.) Do not obsess. Yes, we want you to be conscious of what you are putting into your body, but there is a fine line between having a healthy relationship with food and exercise, and obsessing over it. It is okay if you skip a workout, it is okay if you didn’t plan dinner for tonight. The more you obsess over all of this, the unhappier you will be.
4.) Plan Ahead. Plan your meals for the week. Focus on healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas. Take into account your busy life style and plan accordingly. When you have this plan, make a list of everything you need at the grocery store.
5.) Write it out. After your meals, write about how you feel. Do you feel energized and satisfied, or bloated and sluggish? Keep this journal for a few weeks and look at your results. No
t only will this help you to make better food choices, but also you are getting your feeling out in a healthier way when you write it down.
6.) Have a Healthy Combo. Do not stick to just salads and fruit. You will be hungry, fatigued, and yet again, this will set your up for failure. Incorporate a healthy source of proteins, fats, complex carbohydrates, and fruits/vegetables into each day’s menu. This will prevent over eating, bloating, and fatigue. It will also help your body function better by giving it the right nutrients it needs to carry out day to day tasks.
7.) You Will Face Set Backs and Come Backs. This is a working progress that will only get better through each day of hard work. And when you face these setbacks, you must be kind to yourself. Instead of calling yourself a “failure” or something similar, be kind to yourself. Realize it’s just a tiny mistake. Give yourself a break because you are trying your very best. You are absolutely wonderful, and you need to know that.
8.) Work Out to be Healthy. We get so caught up in dieting and becoming skinny that we want to work off each calorie we put into our bodies. One thing to keep in mind is that calories in do not equal calories out. Our bodies take the calories we eat and convert them into energy to keep us going. When we workout, we need to focus on becoming stronger and healthier. Spending two hours a day at the gym will not do you any good, especially in times of calorie restriction.
9.) Learn Your Triggers and Set Up a Plan of Action. A trigger is anything that makes you want to binge, restrict even more, exercise when you shouldn’t, etc. It sets a course of events. Inevitably, eating triggers happen. When this occurs, it is important to recognize them for what they are and think about how you could avoid it from occurring in the future.
10.) Focus On What Your Body Can Do. Your body is amazing and can do so many unique things. Fuel your body with healthy foods and focus on what your body is able to do. Do not push yourself to run for an hour when your body is telling you otherwise. If your body is simply too worn out to workout, this is a sign that you need more fuel.
The National Eating Disorders Association is launching its 27th annual National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, February 23rd through March 1st , in an annual campaign to bring public attention to the critical needs of people with eating disorders and their families. This year’s theme is “I Had No Idea”.
Commented Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of NEDA:
“What you don’t know can hurt you … or someone you love. It is time to get the dialogue going in communities across the country and to educate ourselves to recognize the signs of an eating disorder, which can be life-threatening illnesses. But there is hope and there is help, particularly with early intervention.” I had no idea … that you can be too thin … that over-exercising can lead to an eating disorder … that 35 percent of “normal” dieters progress to pathological dieting and that, of those, 20-25 percent progress to full-blown eating disorders … that an eating disorder can kill you or lead to permanent physical damage … that (I, my daughter, son, sister, brother, friend) had a problem.” (Source)
- Almost 50% of people with eating disorders meet the criteria for depression.
- Only 1 in 10 men and women with eating disorders receive treatment.
- Only 35% of people that receive treatment for eating disorders get treatment at a specialized facility for eating disorders.
- Up to 24 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S.
- Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness
- 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25
- 25% of college-aged women engage in bingeing and purging as a weight-management technique
- An estimated 10-15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are male