Overcoming Unhealthy Eating Habits
Lots of people love food. I don’t. In fact, my feelings about food hover somewhere between “basic necessity” and “worst enemy”.
I cannot recall a time that I have eaten food without feeling either rushed and/or guilty. The idea of sitting down to eat a meal and purely enjoying the experience without nagging fears of gaining weight or appearing greedy is a novel concept to me.
It seems strange to write this out. Even reading this back makes me want to delete some of it. But this view of food is not uncommon for people who struggle with disordered eating.
If the notion of “disordered eating” is new to you, Psychology Today has an excellent article about the difference between disordered eating and eating disorders. I’ve dealt with both anorexia and bulimia during my life, but those phases (fortunately) didn’t last long. The disordered eating, though, has pretty much became my constant companion.
When I was a kid, I saw two extremes in my family: gluttony and fad dieting. There was no in-between. Naturally, these views influenced me and I go back and forth between the two myself. I’m usually either binging on something “bad” (generally a refined sugar source) or wolfing my food down because I forgot to eat for four hours or more. Adding to this is the fact that I have ADHD, so I have times when my mind just is not on food at all, even though I feel hungry.
WebMD has a good article with suggestions for overcoming unhealthy eating habits. Three of my favorites from the list include:
- Eating meals sitting down at a table without distractions. Personally, my tendency is to eat while working or studying for school. Not a good idea.
- Becoming more mindful about eating. I have been known to polish off an entire bag of kettle-flavored popcorn chips while driving in the car. After the first couple of handfuls, my hand just starts reaching into the bag automatically. True story.
- Using exercise and deep breathing for stress management. If I’m feeling overwhelmed, I head straight for the Ben and Jerry’s.
So for the next two months, my goals are to eat while sitting, focus on my food, and turn to healthy stress management practices. I’m hopeful that being more intentional about my life in general will help me straighten out my view of food.
Are any of you struggling with overcoming unhealthy eating habits? We’d love to hear your story in the comments!