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[Ciara] Learning to love food


Ciara

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Hello! Welcome to my first ever challenge here on Nerd Fitness. Please, come in. Let me introduce myself...

 

Introduction

My name is Sarah, but you can call me Ciara. My whole life I've been just slightly overweight, not enough for others to notice but enough for my doctor, my mother, and myself to notice. I've always been active, whether it be with soccer or horseback riding or taekwondo or capoeira. But no matter how much I run around, the weight stays put. This is because I eat. A lot.  A lot of junk. I'm a sugar and recovering caffeine addict and I love love love fatty, succulent foods. So I eat them. But the problem is, I feel so guilty not only for eating all this stuff but even just for craving it. If I eat a bowl of pasta with cheese I finish it while shaming myself, calling myself names, and running to the scale when I'm done to feel even worse. That's where this challenge comes in.

 

 The Challenge

I want to learn how to love food. I want to look at unhealthy food and say, "It's ok if I eat that" and follow it with, "But I don't really want to." I don't want to feel like I can't eat in order to achieve my goals. I want to make good choices with food and feel good about myself for doing so. I want to love food.

GRADING: A- succeeded | F- did not succeed

 

Mission 1:

Make a grocery list. Every week, make a list of what I'm going to buy at the store. Then, when I go shopping, I need to stick to that list. I can buy for a specific recipe or not, as long as I have a plan of what to do with the food once I buy it.

GRADING: A- all six weeks | B- 4+ weeks | C- 2+ weeks | D- 1 week | F- no weeks

 

Mission 2:

Go to my classes at least 4 times a week. My classes are yoga and parkour. I'm thinking of adding a class on Mondays, so I'l update this post if that ends up happening.

GRADING: A- all classes, 6 weeks | B- all classes, 5 weeks | C- all classes, 4 or fewer weeks | D-1+ classes, 1+weeks |

F- no classes, no weeks

 

Mission 3:

Track my calories and food consumed in MyFitnessPal. Take note of what I'm recording and learn from the patterns I notice. Be mindful of the food I'm eating.

GRADING: A- recorded every day for 6 weeks | B- every day, 3+ weeks | C- some days, 6 weeks | D- some days, 3+ weeks | F- no days, no weeks

 

Bonus Mission:

Talk to my therapist about this and possibly get help improving my attitude towards food.

GRADING: none, this is a bonus mission.

 

Motivation:

I want to feel good about myself. That's really it. I want to live free of guilt for the choices I have to make (I have to eat, don't I?). If I'm riddled with guilt and shame every day, life tends to suck. I want to be free of that awful feeling.

 

Rewards:

A: Go on a shopping spree! Buy some cute new clothes for the fall.

B: Cook a big (healthy) meal and invite friends over to celebrate!

C: Buy some new yarn for my knitting projects.

 

 

And that's my challenge. I would love it if I got feedback on my goals, rewards, etc. Or you can just stop by to say hello :) I cherish all comments, they give me motivation.

 

Thanks for reading! :)

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Hello again! Glad to see your challenge posted. I think your goals (shopping for planned meals, attending classes, and tracking food) make sense and are well defined. I also think your goal of learning to see food as a nourishing necessity and not as an enemy is an important one.

 

My question is what strategies or approaches you think will work best for changing your mental/emotional attitude about food. Talking with your therapist sounds like an awesome step, but you may be able to do some work on your own too. Maybe keeping a journal of your emotions as they relate to food and body? Maybe developing a canned response or motto or something similar that you will repeat in your head whenever you catch yourself thinking critical thoughts about yourself? I'm sure other people will have good ideas but ultimately you're the one most likely to know what works for you.

 

I also noticed that you said most people don't notice you being slightly overweight, but your mum does. As someone whose mother can be very judgmental about body size, that was an instant red flag for me. Does she make comments or otherwise behave in ways that lead you to feel guilty? If so, is there anything that can be done to make interacting with her easier? Perhaps you can talk things out with her and tell her you need her to stop making certain types of comments, or perhaps you can avoid seeing her in certain contexts, e.g. for meals. Believe me, I know this is easier said than done. It took me many years to finally get my mother to agree to stop making disapproving body comments - she was always very good at disguising them or making them in roundabout ways so it was hard to get her to admit she was doing anything wrong. 

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I also noticed that you said most people don't notice you being slightly overweight, but your mum does. As someone whose mother can be very judgmental about body size, that was an instant red flag for me. Does she make comments or otherwise behave in ways that lead you to feel guilty? If so, is there anything that can be done to make interacting with her easier? Perhaps you can talk things out with her and tell her you need her to stop making certain types of comments, or perhaps you can avoid seeing her in certain contexts, e.g. for meals. Believe me, I know this is easier said than done. It took me many years to finally get my mother to agree to stop making disapproving body comments - she was always very good at disguising them or making them in roundabout ways so it was hard to get her to admit she was doing anything wrong. 

 

^^this. 

I had to start off with gentle "Mom, it's not okay for you to say that to me," in a very calm, level voice.  I'd lashed out in the past (loudly, in frequencies only heard by dogs) and she would only get very defensive.   Once I was able to calmly let her know it wasn't okay, things improved drastically.  She'll still slip up occasionally, usually in front of other family members, but she almost always corrects herself.  And, if she doesn't, I pull her aside and say those words again "it's not okay."

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Trust me, once you start ditching the junk food, it get's so much easier to say no to it. I think it was here on NF (maybe on some Paleo site, idk) that said something along the lines of "Don't ever say 'I can't eat that.' Instead, think of it more as 'I don't eat that.'" For me, atleast, this has really changed the way I feel about what I eat, and how I communicate with my friends that I'm eating healthier.

 

Also, it's a bit of a weird sensation when you make "the switch" to healtheir whole foods. It's like your taste buds change how they react to foods. I'm eating healthy foods I've always hated, and loving them now!

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Hello again! Glad to see your challenge posted. I think your goals (shopping for planned meals, attending classes, and tracking food) make sense and are well defined. I also think your goal of learning to see food as a nourishing necessity and not as an enemy is an important one.

 

My question is what strategies or approaches you think will work best for changing your mental/emotional attitude about food. Talking with your therapist sounds like an awesome step, but you may be able to do some work on your own too. Maybe keeping a journal of your emotions as they relate to food and body? Maybe developing a canned response or motto or something similar that you will repeat in your head whenever you catch yourself thinking critical thoughts about yourself? I'm sure other people will have good ideas but ultimately you're the one most likely to know what works for you.

 

I also noticed that you said most people don't notice you being slightly overweight, but your mum does. As someone whose mother can be very judgmental about body size, that was an instant red flag for me. Does she make comments or otherwise behave in ways that lead you to feel guilty? If so, is there anything that can be done to make interacting with her easier? Perhaps you can talk things out with her and tell her you need her to stop making certain types of comments, or perhaps you can avoid seeing her in certain contexts, e.g. for meals. Believe me, I know this is easier said than done. It took me many years to finally get my mother to agree to stop making disapproving body comments - she was always very good at disguising them or making them in roundabout ways so it was hard to get her to admit she was doing anything wrong. 

 

I think I'm going to focus on the value of the food I put into my body. Like, if it's a bag of chips I'll look at it and say, "This will affect me negatively. Do not want." but if it's a banana smoothie I made myself I'll look at it and say, "This is something that will properly fuel my body and give me energy. Do want." One of the problems I have is I eat food without knowing the value and then feel sick because it might be bad for me. Everything I eat is a suspect because I don't fully know the difference between good food choices and bad food choices. So I have to learn the values of the food I eat everyday and go from there. I think my first week of the challenge is just to eat normally and see how my food choices make me feel, and from there start to adjust my view of food and my diet. What do you think?

 

My mom used to be worse when I was younger. She once went so far as to hire a personal trainer for me. She would nag me and sometimes blame me for my weight, despite being overweight herself. These days she doesn't mention it on her own but whenever I tell her, "I'm going to lose weight!" she says something along the lines of "That's good, you really need to." It hurts. I don't talk about my weight with her anymore and she doesn't comment. 

 

Trust me, once you start ditching the junk food, it get's so much easier to say no to it. I think it was here on NF (maybe on some Paleo site, idk) that said something along the lines of "Don't ever say 'I can't eat that.' Instead, think of it more as 'I don't eat that.'" For me, atleast, this has really changed the way I feel about what I eat, and how I communicate with my friends that I'm eating healthier.

 

I like this. The restrictions I put on myself are really tough to follow and when I inevitably eat something I've deemed "illegal" I get really upset with myself. But thinking in terms of, "I don't eat that" or even better, "I don't need that" might really help me. Thanks!

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My mom used to be worse when I was younger. She once went so far as to hire a personal trainer for me. She would nag me and sometimes blame me for my weight, despite being overweight herself. These days she doesn't mention it on her own but whenever I tell her, "I'm going to lose weight!" she says something along the lines of "That's good, you really need to." It hurts. I don't talk about my weight with her anymore and she doesn't comment. 

 

Hopping in to say, oh my goodness, mine too.  Moms, step up your game!  My mom is also very overweight, far more than I have ever been and used to constantly harp on me about my weight (vicarious wish fulfillment?).

 

Lately, though, I talk to her mostly about, "this is the exercise/thing I did today and here is what I achieved" as opposed to "this is a thing I am doing to lose weight."  She probably still thinks I need to lose weight, but when I frame the conversation that way, she usually responds by telling me she's happy I am doing these things.  She's far more encouraging when "weight" is removed from the conversation completely in my discussions with her.  Maybe try that?

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My biggest advice when it comes to diet changes is the following.

 

1)Portion control

2)Drinking a ton of water (seriously I shoot for like 3 liters)

3)Eating slow

 

Once you get down to manageable meal sizes then start introducing better food. My favorite meal (spicy stuffed rigatonis with vodka sauce) I had about 3-4 times a week at one point. Now I have it maybe once every 3-4 weeks. And honestly after the last time I had it, I see it being longer than that.

 

Drinking a bottle of water 15-20 minutes before you eat will help. And always eat all the good for you stuff in your meal first (salad,veggies,etc).

 

Good luck!

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Welcome Ciara.

 

You might notice i have added an Assassins tag to your thread.  This isn't to pigeonhole you into a guild, but rather to catch the attention of one of their ambassadors who might be able to assist you, mentor you and offer you some advice during the course of your challenge because of your quests being very similar to what they focus on.  You are also of course welcome to visit their Den and introduce yourself or ask any questions you might have. Don't feel like you can't ask me too - that's what i'm here for.

 

Good luck

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Best of luck! I second the comment on consuming extra water. Just having some by your side at all times will help to keep you satisfied and craving less.

I don't know if you have a sweet tooth (most of what you've mentioned gas been salty/savory), but Quest Bars are phenomenal in taste and have make a great template for some awesome recipes. Also, Quest just came out with some protein chips. I haven't had any and don't know the nutritional breakdown yet, but they seem like they're going to be great!

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I don't know if you have a sweet tooth (most of what you've mentioned gas been salty/savory), but Quest Bars are phenomenal in taste and have make a great template for some awesome recipes. Also, Quest just came out with some protein chips. I haven't had any and don't know the nutritional breakdown yet, but they seem like they're going to be great!

I have SUCH a sweet tooth. I went in search of something sweet maybe 5 minutes ago. Almost bought a donut until I realized I was thirsty, so I bought a drink sweetened with stevia instead. Yay me! I've never heard of Quest, will have to look into that. Thanks for the tip!!

 

 

Once you get down to manageable meal sizes then start introducing better food. My favorite meal (spicy stuffed rigatonis with vodka sauce) I had about 3-4 times a week at one point. Now I have it maybe once every 3-4 weeks. And honestly after the last time I had it, I see it being longer than that.

 

Drinking a bottle of water 15-20 minutes before you eat will help. And always eat all the good for you stuff in your meal first (salad,veggies,etc).

 

Good luck!

Oh, that makes sense. Thanks for the advice on meal sizes. I don't tend to overeat in one sitting but I snack a lot, especially at night. But I'll definitely keep that in mind :)

 

I've always been told to drink during my meal. I never heard of drinking before. That's a good idea! It will help me plan ahead better too, so I don't snack as much. Nice!

 

 

Hopping in to say, oh my goodness, mine too.  Moms, step up your game!  My mom is also very overweight, far more than I have ever been and used to constantly harp on me about my weight (vicarious wish fulfillment?).

 

Lately, though, I talk to her mostly about, "this is the exercise/thing I did today and here is what I achieved" as opposed to "this is a thing I am doing to lose weight."  She probably still thinks I need to lose weight, but when I frame the conversation that way, she usually responds by telling me she's happy I am doing these things.  She's far more encouraging when "weight" is removed from the conversation completely in my discussions with her.  Maybe try that?

Yeah, I've stopped using the word weight as well. It seems to be a trigger word for her. I mostly tell her recipes that I've tried and liked and I bounce off shopping lists with her. It's definitely a better environment now than it used to be.

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Heeeey Ciara! =D

 

 

My mom used to be worse when I was younger. She once went so far as to hire a personal trainer for me. She would nag me and sometimes blame me for my weight, despite being overweight herself. These days she doesn't mention it on her own but whenever I tell her, "I'm going to lose weight!" she says something along the lines of "That's good, you really need to." It hurts. I don't talk about my weight with her anymore and she doesn't comment. 

 

Mine too. It must be a mom thing. It's not a good thing, but it does seem to be a common trend with moms in particular.

 

You have some pretty solid goals! Best of luck, not that I think you need it! :D

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I think I'm going to focus on the value of the food I put into my body. Like, if it's a bag of chips I'll look at it and say, "This will affect me negatively. Do not want." but if it's a banana smoothie I made myself I'll look at it and say, "This is something that will properly fuel my body and give me energy. Do want." One of the problems I have is I eat food without knowing the value and then feel sick because it might be bad for me. Everything I eat is a suspect because I don't fully know the difference between good food choices and bad food choices. So I have to learn the values of the food I eat everyday and go from there. I think my first week of the challenge is just to eat normally and see how my food choices make me feel, and from there start to adjust my view of food and my diet. What do you think?

 

My only concern is that the concept of "value" is a bit vague. What makes a food negative or positive for you? Are you trying to maximize certain nutrients and minimize others? Are you concerned about limiting calories? Do you consider unprocessed foods to have a lower value than fresh veggies? I'm asking mostly because you said you don't know the difference between good and bad food choices. Maybe some nutritional research would help you feel more informed, and more able to make decisions about food logically instead of emotionally. Listening to your body is also good although sometimes that's harder than it sounds!

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I was drawn here by the comment about learning to love food. 

 

I, personally, have been improving my diet over the last few years by learning to cook and eat more effectively. What I realized during this time is that so many people don't actually *like* food. They like fat and sugar. If you ask them to taste fresh produce, they miss most of the experience. Heck, fresh baked bread is usually slathered with butter or jelly, noone seems to be able to enjoy it as it is.

 

What I would recommend is to take food adventures. Find interesting ingredients (mussels for instance) and learn to cook them fresh so that you get the best side of them. Find good, simple recipes that really appeal to you. I also recommend looking at The 4 Hour Chef, by Tim Ferriss, as it's got some great material in it and everything fits the paleo standards that most people here follow.

 

I think that what will really help you is focusing on just what you said: learning to love the food itself, instead of the calories or the emotional comfort they may bring. I think one of my favorite discoveries, personally, is just how amazing heirloom tomatoes are sliced with a bit of salt and pepper.

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Your goals sound well thought out and achievable. Thanks for the heads up on the signatures. I'll be rooting for you!

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My only concern is that the concept of "value" is a bit vague. What makes a food negative or positive for you? Are you trying to maximize certain nutrients and minimize others? Are you concerned about limiting calories? Do you consider unprocessed foods to have a lower value than fresh veggies? I'm asking mostly because you said you don't know the difference between good and bad food choices. Maybe some nutritional research would help you feel more informed, and more able to make decisions about food logically instead of emotionally. Listening to your body is also good although sometimes that's harder than it sounds!

You're right. I still need to iron out the edges of this one. I think basically I want to stop stuffing my face with candies and sweet drinks and pasta and things like that, and start finding healthier options. The foods I eat now are oftentimes over processed and contain limited nutritional value. When I do buy things like fresh vegetables I let them rot as often as I eat them. 

 

So I guess in terms of value, for me fresh fruits and vegetables have high value, meat that I prepare myself has high value, unsweetened tea and water have high value, and things like oatmeal, milk, and nuts have high value. Pasta and bread have low value, sugary drinks and ice cream have low value, bakery goods have low value, convenience store snacks and quick meals are low value. I want to start eating more high value foods and start loving myself and the choices I make. Choosing low value foods makes me feel bad, but when I do eat something good quality I feel like Superwoman. I want to feel like that all the time. Does that make more sense?

 

 

I was drawn here by the comment about learning to love food. 

 

I, personally, have been improving my diet over the last few years by learning to cook and eat more effectively. What I realized during this time is that so many people don't actually *like* food. They like fat and sugar. If you ask them to taste fresh produce, they miss most of the experience. Heck, fresh baked bread is usually slathered with butter or jelly, noone seems to be able to enjoy it as it is.

 

What I would recommend is to take food adventures. Find interesting ingredients (mussels for instance) and learn to cook them fresh so that you get the best side of them. Find good, simple recipes that really appeal to you. I also recommend looking at The 4 Hour Chef, by Tim Ferriss, as it's got some great material in it and everything fits the paleo standards that most people here follow.

 

I think that what will really help you is focusing on just what you said: learning to love the food itself, instead of the calories or the emotional comfort they may bring. I think one of my favorite discoveries, personally, is just how amazing heirloom tomatoes are sliced with a bit of salt and pepper.

This reminds me of last summer, when my uncle came to visit for a few weeks. We would go to the farmer's market at least twice a week and pick out delicious and interesting produce, meats, and cheeses and then go home and have such lovely dinners every night. I'm with you on the heirloom tomatoes- sometimes they are so good they make me want to cry. But most of the food now is just fat and sugar. You are right on point. Thanks for bringing up those memories, now I have more motivation :)

 

I'll check that book out! I eventually want to try the paleo diet so I'm interested to see what he has to say. Thanks for the recommendation!

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You're right. I still need to iron out the edges of this one. I think basically I want to stop stuffing my face with candies and sweet drinks and pasta and things like that, and start finding healthier options. The foods I eat now are oftentimes over processed and contain limited nutritional value. When I do buy things like fresh vegetables I let them rot as often as I eat them. 

 

So I guess in terms of value, for me fresh fruits and vegetables have high value, meat that I prepare myself has high value, unsweetened tea and water have high value, and things like oatmeal, milk, and nuts have high value. Pasta and bread have low value, sugary drinks and ice cream have low value, bakery goods have low value, convenience store snacks and quick meals are low value. I want to start eating more high value foods and start loving myself and the choices I make. Choosing low value foods makes me feel bad, but when I do eat something good quality I feel like Superwoman. I want to feel like that all the time. Does that make more sense?

 

That totally makes sense! It sounds like you basically want to focus on home-prepared food, especially protein, fruits and veggies, and that you want to avoid processed foods high in sugar and simple carbs. Coincidentally those are some of the core recommendations from many professionals when it comes to improving eating habits. I think articulating what you want will make it a lot easier to stay focused when you're standing in the grocery store or in front of the fridge trying to plan out a meal. Huzzah for replacing confusion with clarity!

 

I think you will do really well and I can't wait to see how this plays out for you.

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That totally makes sense! It sounds like you basically want to focus on home-prepared food, especially protein, fruits and veggies, and that you want to avoid processed foods high in sugar and simple carbs. Coincidentally those are some of the core recommendations from many professionals when it comes to improving eating habits. I think articulating what you want will make it a lot easier to stay focused when you're standing in the grocery store or in front of the fridge trying to plan out a meal. Huzzah for replacing confusion with clarity!

 

I think you will do really well and I can't wait to see how this plays out for you.

You totally helped me replace confusion with clarity. I hadn't thought out fully how I was going to do what I said or what exactly I meant when I said it. Thanks a ton! Now that I have more of a plan, it's time to write a shopping list. This weekend is grocery weekend.

 

I think with all the support from you lovely people I will do just fine! Thanks for your encouragement :)

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If you want some good reading material on eating real food versus processed food and making smarter food choices, I enjoyed Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food. Not required since he doesn't at all disagree with what's said on these forums on the subject, but a fantastic way to start taking a better and healthier approach to food, too. Also helps with reading food labels, too.

 

Good luck! Food -- real food that is -- is awesome. :)

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Hiii, fellow Boston-area nerd! I like your goals -- changing your perception of food is a really hard thing to do, but you've got a great group of people here that can help you out along the way. :)

 

Parkour is pretty awesome. There are some guys at my gymnastics gym that mostly focus on parkour and come in to practice with our soft mats and springy floors when they want to try something new. Are you doing one of the outdoor parkour programs or is it in a gym or something? Any way it goes, that's exciting! 

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I'm doing parkour with a group called pkgamericas. I take the Sunday class which is outdoors but they also have weekly indoor and outdoor classes. Unfortunately due to my schedule I can only make the one class for now. It's a bit of a hike from where I live to where the classes are so I can't fit the weekday classes in. Sad.

 

Well today I ate pretzels and a Payday and at first I felt pretty sh*tty about it but then I remembered my challenge and talked myself down from that feeling. Basically I said to myself that tomorrow I have another chance and I gave myself a hug. I dunno, it worked. I feel pretty ok with my choices right now. But I'm still going to try my best not to let it happen again. That's the thing, I'm a little afraid of getting complacent and saying "It's ok, eat whatever you want. It's fine, it doesn't matter." That's my biggest fear going into this challenge.

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Welcome to the challenges!!! And you picked a good one.

Food = very much want :D I'll make sure to get some recipes written down and sent. Do you have a favorite type of food btw? 'cause I kinda flavor things every which way

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Welcome to the challenges!!! And you picked a good one.

Food = very much want :D I'll make sure to get some recipes written down and sent. Do you have a favorite type of food btw? 'cause I kinda flavor things every which way

I love sweet things. I crave sweets after every meal. I crave them in between meals. I always am up for delicious delicious sugar.

 

I also like meat. Actually, that's a lie. I freaking LOVE meat. As long as there's meat and dessert I'm happy. I'm into all kinds of flavoring, salty, spicy, sour, plain, inspired by different countries, the list goes on.

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Level 2 Human Assassin


 STR 4| DEX 0| STA 5CON 4| WIS 4| CHA 1


My battlelog


Challenge: 1, 2, 3, 4, Current


 


   


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