Food Funk


Sometimes, we just don’t know ourselves well enough. Then, along comes someone to point that out to us, and teach us more about ourselves than we ever knew before.
Tonight, I was in a food funk. Slightly annoyed. Somewhat cranky. Sort of irritable. I had to hit the grocery store right after work for some soy free specialties and coupled with my once in a blue I have a food allergy frustration, I was feeling, well, funky. And, Boy Eat saw it right from the start.
I made it through the grocery store, into the car and then I started talking. Ugh, I’m so tired. I don’t want to go to work tomorrow. It’s cold. What to eat tonight? Tired of everything. Don’t have any leftovers. Have to make something. But, what? Whine. Whine. Whine. And, I still have to make dinner, and I hope it even tastes good or else why even bother? I have to boil and saute, and I’m tired. Really really tired.
You are in a food funk, my friend, he told me.
A food funk?
Yes, he said, a food funk.
Turns out, Boy Eat had it pegged. The grocery store did not have a couple of my standby favorite things and I was frustrated. Food allergy world can make a girl cranky sometimes and that usually puts me into what Boy Eat has now coined a food funk.
Yes, he was saying, a food funk. Every once in a while you hit a point and you feel a little tired with everything you eat and you reinvent your food, and start making completely new things.
Hmmmm…I thought. Could this be true?
And, it is. Every once in a while I get tired of my go-to meals, the stuff I eat all the time. Over and over again. And, I throw in some new things, and create new favorites. Tonight was definitely a restart night. I’m already thinking of new things to eat in the next few weeks. Funny thing is, I was tired but what was really annoying me was my food funk. Pretty interesting huh? And, not just because Boy Eat figured it out. It’s even more interesting because being tired with what I was eating was enough to put me in a funky mood about everything.
So, let’s look at our plates. If you’re tired of looking at the same old thing, over and over again, it might be time for a change. Otherwise, you might find yourself there too, in a food funk.

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Lost It


Today, I caught up a little bit on weight loss apps, and not on purpose.
An acquaintance is using a weight loss phone app to track her calories, her weight loss, and she was struggling today to figure out exactly how many calories certain activities burned and how to input custom foods into the application. She figured it out, and, technically, that’s a neat little application.
But, really, it makes me wonder, once again, what we have come to on the entire weight loss spectrum.
Now, there are definitely people who by medical advice need to lose weight, for health reasons, and there are many of us who sometimes want to lose a few pounds to feel better, even look better, and that’s A-ok fine. But, can we be okay with tracking our numbers all day long, every day, as our approach, or, should we just listen to our bodies and stay active?
It’s interesting. The way we have eaten (globally) has changed dramatically over the last twenty years, and with that change in diet has come a steady stream of revolutionary weight loss plans. But, before these years, people just started eating a little healthier or exercising a little more. Maybe that is still our best option. It is after all, tried and true.
And, in the meantime, more and more celebrities are in the news for dangerously low weights. We are losing more and more people to eating disorders and disordered eating, in general. Our models remain sickly thin.
The diet industry, I am sure, makes billions and trillions of dollars each year on point systems and color codes, and labeling, and programs, and meals in the mail, and of course they do. Why not? We fall prey to just about every fast and “scientific” way to drop a few pounds, when, actually, the true answer lies within us, in our bodies, telling us what we need each day.
And, that’s another thing. While these apps are wonderful for teaching us that calories come and go, they don’t necessarily come and go at a steady determinable rate. Some days we do get hungrier. Some days we eat more. Some days we eat less, but I am pretty sure that our bodies can guide us through that without extreme results.
While many of these applications provide a way to track your calories on the go, and keep a constant account of where you stand on daily totals, weekly totals, and pounds lost, watching my acquaintance actually made me feel really sorry for her. Here is a girl that first of all does not need to lose any weight but second of all was spending more time on her app than having lunch with me, and unwinding before we started working again. And, even more sadly, she planned a dinner out with friends by how many calories she could eat and switched out what she ate for lunch based on her original option having just a few more (and too many) calories.
If it’s weight we are trying to lose here, do we end up losing a lot more?

20 Calories


I was watching television last night when I saw an advertisement for Food Product A. I won’t mention names here, or even tell you what the food product was-that’s not important. What is important is the advertisement itself, and how incredibly ridiculous it was.
You see, this particular advertisement emphasizes that Food Product A has 20, count ‘em, 20 calories less than another brand, per serving. 20 calories.
It strikes me how much the times have changed. I remember when I was young I watched an episode of The Donna Reed show. Now, it’s funny. In that one episode that I still remember, the members of the family one by one realize their clothes are getting a little tight and decide, without going on and on about a diet, or carbohydrates, or points, to be a little careful about what they are eating. Slowly, each person cuts out dessert or chocolates until they are back to their regular size/shape.
It’s funny how far we’ve come and yet how behind we are. And, it’s actually not funny at all. It’s troubling.
The thought that 20 calories should make enough of a difference to you between Food Product A and Food Product B, the leading brand, without regard for what actually matters, which taste you prefer, which makes you feel good, is absurd. Now, of course, the commercial tells us how tasty Food Product A is and that in addition to it being so freaking tasty it is also 20, count ‘em, 20 calories less than the leading brand!
But, the excitement, the glamour, the buzz that comes from a 20 calorie sound bite, or even a 100 calorie sound bite,tells me how much attention we now pay to calories. numbers. And, in insignificant amounts like 20, that’s pretty frightening. And, as always, if you need to lose weight for your health and a doctor has recommended these products, well then you probably need to follow that advice. But, for the rest of us, is 20 calories really that significant? Would an extra 100 calories in a snack or meal destroy us?
Now, let’s take a look at what burns 20 calories. Keeping in mind, that 15 minutes of walking burns approximately 75 to 100 calories, depending on who you ask, your walking pace, and your own calorie burning ability.
How You Can Burn 20 Calories: (credit to http://www.bactk.com/PDFs/twenty_ways.pdf)
1. walk upstairs twice
2. do twenty abdominal crunches
3. walk briskly through grocery store aisles
4. dance to two of your favorite songs
5. help with housework for 15 minutes
Now, not only do you already burn calories just being you all day, but add in a little activity here and there, and those twenty calories disappear. And so does the extra 100. And, remember, we don’t want every calorie to disappear; we only want to burn more calories than we take in IF we are trying to lose weight. We want to burn as many calories as we take in if we want to maintain our weight.
So, is twenty really that bad? And, regardless, is this the message we should be sending to people? Really? In a world where calorie obsessions and absurd, ridiculous, and unhealthy body images surround us, is a message about such an insignificant amount of calories more damaging than helpful?

Oh, Hungry Day


Some days, you just get hungry. Over and over again. And, again. Then, again.
So, you eat. Then you eat again. Maybe you eat more at once than usual, or more each time you eat that day. Over and over again. And, again. Then, again.
These “hungry” days are days we should treasure, not days that should generate guilt, remorse, anxiety.
These “hungry” days are signals from our bodies that we need more fuel.
Perhaps you’ve been more active and burned more calories.
Maybe your body just needs a little extra to keep it going that day.
Either way, or for some other completely different reason, you should do just what your body tells you-eat.
And, feel no guilt. Feel no remorse. If you feel anxiety, take a deep breath.
Don’t fret that every day forever if you eat this much you will gain a bunch of weight. Because, chances are,
Either you won’t eat as much one day ahead, or
Your body might need more food to function.
Either way, it’s something to feel good about.
Remember, hunger is a good feeling. Hunger is a sign our body is working. Hunger is something we should treasure, not hate, hide, or manipulate.
Your body is a machine, and if you’re running low on gas, fill up, as many times as it takes to keep you on the road, one day at a time.

Restriction


Restriction is a really funny thing.
When we are little, the word Don’t immediately sparks our interest. That one little word, in fact, makes everything that comes after it seem that much more interesting, desirable, fanfreakingtastic. And, we learn from it.
We know that if we tell a child NOT to do something, that child most likely wants to do it even more now. And with bells on. Over and over again.
So, why is it, with this lesson so deeply ingrained into our brain, we cannot understand that we work the same way as adults, over and over again.
Don’t eat sugar.
Sugar sugar sugar sugar cookie brownie chocolate chips Nutella pancakes waffles maple syrup blueberry muffins scones hot chocolate vanilla latte milkshake ice cream, and on and on and on.
In fact, the more we deprive ourselves intentionally, the more it feels like just that-deprivation, and the more it makes us want whatever it is we are seeking to eliminate from our diets.
Like sugar.
Or carbs.
Or fat.
Because, the human body, despite its absolutely fantastically designed machinery, is also a great deal emotion. And, when we tell it not to want something it will do just the opposite. Want it.
Sure, we can train it to appreciate the healthy foods by giving it the good fuel and making our bodies realize how good that feels. But, there will come a time when even the most healthily fed body will want sugar.
And carbs.
And fat.
And, all of the above in a delicious slice of double chocolate cake. Boy Eat, I’m looking at you. Double chocolate cake, please.
The point here is this. I have heard a lot in the last week about restriction from a group of acquaintances that are hell bent on losing a few pounds. But, perhaps the answer is somewhat simpler. Perhaps we do just the opposite, and indulge, in moderation in each of our body’s wants, desires, and cravings and teach it the most valuable lesson of all, that, anything, in moderation is good, and that, without a healthy dose of moderation, life isn’t nearly as good or as chocolaty as it could be.

No Regrets


One of the worst absolutely funkiest biggest downer ever things about life is regret.
In some areas, regret can be good.
Regretting hurting someone? That could lead to repairing a relationship and your own soul.
Regretting a career choice? Perhaps you can rethink that choice, and make a different choice next time, or now.
Regretting what you ate? Well, this gets tricky.
If you ate something that just made you feel so awful you cannot believe you even ate it because it made you sick a thousand times before too, well, a little regret is natural. (and it might finally convince you to stop eating that pound of cheese at one sitting).
But, regretting calories, or fat, or carbohydrates?
Or, the amount of Super Bowl snacks you enjoyed? Christmas cookies you ate? Valentine’s chocolates you devoured?
Bad. Real bad.
This regret serves no purpose.
This regret can hurt you.
This regret hurts us all.
Some may say this kind of regret pushes us to choose our food more wisely. To design our diets more carefully. To fuel our bodies better.
I say, blah. Sometimes, you got to live a little. And, while healthifying Super Bowl snacks is a good idea, regretting what you ate is not. If you feel good and you enjoyed every single delicious bite, move on. Now.
And, remember, you just might want a salad for lunch today to get in some greens. Or, you just might some of those Super Bowl leftovers.
Either way, you are no less worthy. No less good. No less important. Not any different at all. Despite the cheesy poofs.
So, smile, and be glad for a day enjoyed. Spinach dip and all.

Snack Time


There are so many freaking articles about healthy snacks-but they all pretty much say the same thing.
The healthiest snack accomplishes its mission-tiding you over to your next meal and being tasty, all at the same time.
You know the drill.
Cheese and crackers.
Cheese and a piece of fruit.
Yogurt and granola.
Hummus and pita or carrot sticks.
And, most of the time, these tips are so helpful.
Like in the middle of a work day. Hummus and pita chips, don’t mind if I do.
Or, between lunch and dinner. Mmm, cheese and crackers.
But, sometimes, just sometimes, you just want a snack. Some chips. A few M and Ms. A couple of twizzlers. And, that’s ok.
Like at the movies. (I’m not pulling out hummus at a theater)
Or, late on a Friday night when I’m watching movies. (Don’t hand me no carrot sticks)
Because, when we are healthy snack eaters most of the time or even a lot of the time it is perfectly fine to just enjoy a snack sometimes. And you just might enjoy it. Imagine that.
Tasty snack. And, a little fun. Now, that’s all that…and a bag of chips.