Sunday, August 9, 2009

When Food Feels Wrong

It's still such a mental thing for me, this whole "diet" thing.

Example: For Saturday's dinner, I needed to throw something together pretty quick since we had tickets to our local community theatre and wanted to leave the house around 6:00 pm. I made an old favorite - sauteed onions, turkey sausage and sliced zucchini, tossed with whole wheat penne pasta, a few tablespoons of Parmesan, some pasta sprinkle and a little crushed red pepper. I modified the recipe - used Pam for the sauteeing instead of olive oil, turkey sausage instead of polska kielbasa, and whole wheat pasta instead of egg noodles.

So why did it feel wrong to be eating this meal?

I had 1 1/2 cups of the dish - not too much considering what I had eaten that day - but I felt like I shouldn't have had any of it! It was a strange feeling...I have not experienced "food guilt" for a long time...and really, I shouldn't have had it then. But I did. And it got me wondering - was it because it was similar tasting to a less-healthy meal that I made in the past? Was it the pasta? I haven't been eating pasta much, but recently have been adding it back into my diet since I discovered I could tolerate the taste of whole wheat pasta.

Even though it had protein, veggies and carbs, all in reasonable amounts, and therefore was a balanced dinner, why was I so bothered? What is wrong with me? I don't want to become phobic about foods and be the person who will only eat salads, fruit and yogurt, yet they have become my mainstays, mostly because I don't have to think a lot when I'm putting a meal together. I keep those ingredients on hand and feel that by doing so, it helps me to stay on the weight-loss path. Honestly, I am a little bothered by my reaction to that meal. Not enough to not eat it, but it was unsettling.

And in other food news, Jeff and I went to the movies today (Sunday) to see "Funny People" which was excellent, btw. Just as the movie was starting, a young couple sat down a seat away from me with hand-scooped ice cream in waffle cones!!! When did movie theatres start serving good ice cream, not those teeth-cracking frozen bonbon things?!? Of course I had to go check it out after the movie - turns out that next to the regular snack bar, there is a "cafe" with said ice cream (eight flavors!) and other foods...honestly, I couldn't tell you what, because I was just looking at the ice cream. Have I mentioned that I worked at a Baskin Robbins when I was in high school? Yes I did, and I had a perfect 4 oz. scoop and the built-up forearm to prove it! Um, cream at the movies! Who knew?!?



    For me I know it was a process.
    and for me it was IMPORTANT my process included exactly what you described.
    "I can eat this slice of chicago deepdish pizza? and it totally fits into my food plan?!"

    while you were bothered by your reaction I cheer you on and think it's great that you both ate the meal, thought about how it made you 'feel,' and realized that you dont want to be the JUST SALAD THANKS! person.

    all important steps on the way to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for the longlong haul.

  2. I think it's really a sign of how far you've come mentally and physically.

    There are days, even 12 years after reaching goal, where I still think about this.

    Wonderful steps of progress on your part.

  3. I agree that there is some strange mental/emotional work to be done. I had to face a lot of "food guilt" as I was learning this intuitive eating stuff, I think it's just ingrained "diet think", and the best way to get through it is with logic and reason. I've actually made myself eat stuff at times just because of the visceral reaction I was having to it. It sounds strange, but if I succumb to the guilt, it's a lot worse for my journey than just eating the damn whatever it is I somehow feel I shouldn't be eating. I agree 100% with Carla, it's an important part of the process, and usually with uncomfortable stuff, the only way to the other side is through.

  4. Really interesting post, Shelley.

    I think it's great that you've come up with a new version of a family favorite that fits into your plan - it sounds totally delicious and very healthy.

    I was/am a major pasta addict, and although like you I now use whole wheat pasta, have modified the sauces and strictly control the portions, I also feel vaguely guilty when I eat it. At least for me, I think it's delayed guilt over the *many* over-sized portions of pasta with rich sauces in my past!

    I loved the workout with the personal trainer. The things that stood out the most for me were
    the way she kept me moving the entire time (I'd gotten into the bad habit of just sitting there between resistance training sets) and the way she combined strength/flexibility/agility training.

    I'm trying to decide whether to join that gym - if I do, I'm going to sign up for at least one session a week with her. Thanks for the inspiration - your descriptions of your great trainers is definitely what got me interested in trying it!

  5. The exact same thing happens to me! The "logical" part of my brain knows that I can eat treats in moderation, or that if I've exercised a ton that day, I actually SHOULD eat a little more. But the "irrational" (and sadly dominant) part of my brain feels guilty if I enjoy my food too much!

  6. I was in heaven when our local little movie theater started serving coffee. Why not ice cream? Even better is the Cinema Grill where you can eat a whole meal. I haven't been there yet, but I think it'd be long as they serve something besides hotdogs and hamburgers.

  7. I worked at Baskin Robbins during high school too Shelley! And so did my sister. We are both convinced that is when we first starting packing on the pounds. Maybe that is why I don't eat ice cream any more...just thought about that!

  8. This is interesting...I have had some of the same feelings, but then last week, I had NO guilt over stuff that I probably should have.

    I think just the realization that I have to live, and I have to eat food, and its a long, long journey is helping.

  9. Interesting post. The mind is a funny thing sometimes. What is good is that you recognized the thought and now have a point to work from. And you don't have to become a phobic person about other foods!

    It might be a matter of that particular dish having associated memories and feelings, since it is an old standby that you might have eaten without thinking about the caloric consequences of the old way of cooking it.

  10. My thought is that it's probably completely because it resembled a familiar, calorie-laden dish. That's the beauty of taking what we already love and "healthifying" it as my friend Pam would say. You should check out her food blog, "Lobster and Fishsticks" listed on my blogroll. She has done some amazing things with our old familiar, yummy comfort foods. She has truly made it possible to enjoy the old faves without the guilt. It DOES take some changing in the brain to realize that you DON'T HAVE TO feel guilty about what you're eating now....and this especially goes for the pastas. I'm diabetic. That means my brain automatically screams, "PASTA IS EVIL!!!". I'm slowly learning that's not true. As a matter of fact, on my post "Jillian's Nuggets of Knowledge", Jillian Michaels specifically said that we should be eating whole grains and pastas EVERY DAY in moderate amounts....she even tells you exactly what amount!! Check that post out. You might learn a lot. I know I sure did. Hope this helps girlfriend!! :)

  11.'ve given me a lot to think about. Thanks, I think. I AM that salad/fruit/yogurt eating quasi food phobic. It kinda happened over the last few months because my schedule has been so screwy. Ew...I don't like that. Must think. Must work on this one.


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