September 15, 2011

Patterns

This week, I've been thinking a lot about the things I have eaten lately and have looked for patterns, things that keep coming up with my meal and snack habits so I can see if there are triggers there, beyond the emotional/stress-based ones. I have definitely made some notable discoveries.

Something I have a big problem with is nuts/nut butters. I had some single-serve/100-calorie packs of trail mix with peanuts, raisins, and chocolate chips. 100 calories of trail mix is not very much at all, and I'd end up eating two or three before I knew it. I also got into the habit of having a jar of peanut butter on hand while my dad was here in case he had any diabetic blood sugar emergencies, but by the end, it felt like I was using his need to excuse and enable myself. The cycle was tough: buy a jar, tell myself I won't have any this time, tell myself I can have just one spoonful as long as I have it with an apple, eat spoonful after spoonful when the stress kicks in, need to buy a new jar.

Nuts and nut butters are healthy within reason, but they're also very high in calories, and for now, I want to maximize my calories and feel in control with my eating. Even if there's a lot of protein, I am never satisfied by one serving. It just triggers me wanting more. I know some people swear by PB2, and I've gone to the website with the intent to order several times. But at the same time, I'm conflicted. I want to have a healthy relationship with food, and for now, I think that means complete nut butter abstinence. Some day, I might be able to have a jar of peanut butter in the house and have it last longer than a day. I might never be able to keep peanut butter around again. Either way, when focusing on my present struggles, I know they are off limits.

Somewhat related to nuts is bars like Larabars and Clif Bars. When I buy just one, I don't seem to have a problem, but I cannot seem to control myself when I buy a few at a time. I want to be able to keep them around for work snacks without having to go to the store every single night like I have done this week; I have Fridays off, so I think tomorrow I will head to Target in the morning, buy a box of Larabars, and immediately bring it to the office. There's always someone there, so I'm highly unlikely to binge at work. I just don't feel strong enough to keep them in the house right now.

I have made a goal this week of trying to eat as many whole foods as possible, to avoid packaged and processed meals and snacks. I've done pretty well so far with bringing fruit to the office and keeping a separate water bottle there so I can stay hydrated. My meals have been less than stellar - good on calories, but still to processed, as I am working through a big pile of Weight Watchers frozen meals that I got to keep myself fed while I figure out the grocery shopping situation around here. In Chicago, I'd go to the grocery store a few times a week for fresh produce and whatever odds and ends I needed; here, there are a few small grocery stores, but since I'm on the bike for now and the temperature is still in the mid to high 90ºs from mid-morning to the late evening, it's tough to figure out a good routine. I've been going either Friday or Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. - the stores open early, and it's still in the 70º range, nice for biking with a bag full of groceries on your back. We'll see how I keep up.

I've also gone to the local farmer's market the past two Saturday mornings. It's very small, but there's a family there that sells local grapes. Oh. My. Goodness. So delicious! They're amazingly sweet and crisp. I got a couple of pounds and counted them out into little containers to keep in the fridge or take to work with me.


As long as I stick to them at the farmer's market and not the woman from the bakery with all her homemade breads, I'm good. (To be fair to the bread woman, though, it's been easy to resist her autumn varieties because it doesn't feel much like autumn around here just yet. I don't typically crave pumpkin-flavored things until I can regularly wear sweaters.)

So, I have a lot to think about in terms of my meal planning and getting entirely back into a healthy eating routine. I've been feeling a little under the weather all week, but the calories are still being burned and the motivation is back in full force. I'm really looking forward to Monday and the start of the new fall challenge - I'm getting back to basics with my goals, deciding on them this weekend.

What about you? Do you keep food journals for reasons other than counting calories - like to notice patterns, triggers, etc? What are your favorite healthy autumn foods? Will you be joining us in the fall challenge?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I recently discovered Justin's almond butter. It comes in packets for 200 calories, I eat half of it on a bagel thin or apple. I also buy clif bars 6 or so at a time (not a box because I like variety) and HAVE to keep them at work. If they're here, I'll eat all of them in two days. At work, they last weeks and I only eat them if I really need a lunch of half for a snack.

You have come far, you're quite the inspiration. I'm proud of you that you are seeking remedies to what troubles you on this journey. I suck at tracking and want to do better at it!

Rebecca said...

Bread is my jar of peanut butter. I've had a ban on having loaves of it in the house for about a year, but now I have a couple of yummy wholemeal loaves in for my healthy sandwiches for lunch. It took a while to get there but now I don't feel the need to toast it all in one go!

Can't wait for the challenge, my little sister has decided to join us too so I shall have to be super good this time round; I have familial accountability to live up to!

Caron said...

Peanut butter, ice cream and really good bakery bread are my red light foods. I think these things will challenge me forever. I tried PB2 but don't like the sweet taste. My favorite fall things are pumpkin and cranberries.

My Kid's Mom said...

I'm the same way with PB-simply can't buy it because if it's there, I'm going to eat it within one or two days.

Tim said...

I've never tracked food before just because I know I would be awful at writing everything down and trying to stick to a certain amount of calories/points.

I'm not the best at choosing the right foods to eat but I am pretty amazing when it comes to denying myself stuff if I set myself a challenge.

I've gone without chocolate for 6 months before, given up alcohol, months without touching biscuits or cakes, stopped buying McDonalds style fast food, stopped eating crisps, 28 years without peanut butter LOL and various other things.

I think it's helped me eat "naughty" foods in moderation. I used to able to eat everything and not have a care in the world but by setting myself challenges I think it gives me more motivation to follow it through to the end.

Good luck!

Waisting Time said...

I've blogger about trigger foods many times. Last month marked a year since I had any peanut (or other nut) butter. I also don't keep bread in the house. Or bars, like protein bars. I find I do best to just avoid certain foods.

marisol said...

There are certain foods that I just can't buy because I know that I will eat them in an unreasonable amount of time. I try to test myself and I fail. Just this weekend I bought a box of the Skinny Cow sandwiches. Each is 150 calories. I ate all six in two days. When I bought them, I told myself I would limit it to one a day. Didn't work so I won't buy them again.

It's really hard at time because I am living at my mom's and it's not like I can ask her not to buy certain things. I just have to be strong. I just can't give up. I've been tracking my food since Sunday and to binge would mean that I would have to track that food. It's discouraging me from overeating. Go figure!

dupster said...

So how many calories in how many grapes? How many do you eat at a time. I think I overdo on the grapes, but they're so yummy!

Joy said...

Sounds like you are making really good decisions! I am always looking at my food and readjusting things. Keep up the great work.

As you know I gave you an award...I tried to let you know yesterday, but my computer was giving me trouble again and I ran out of time. Congrats!!!

Keep focused!