Managing Overeating & Finding a Healthy Balance

30 Sep


It’s fall and while the weather’s getting a little cooler ‘n’ the leaves are a-changin’ colors, you’d rather your body not change as well (for the worse). But we’ve all been there. When it’s colder outside and sweatpants become your go-to get-home-from-work outfit, it’s so much easier to finish off that leftover pasta or have just one more slice of pizza or only a bite of the melt-in-your-mouth cookie (which quickly turns into eating 4). Trust me, I know how hard it is, and how easy it is to get a little off track when you no longer have to worry about public trips to the beach in you teeny-weeny bikini. You find yourself letting go and giving up on your exercise routine because it’s just soooo much easier (and more fun) to cuddle up on the couch with a good movie and some sweet treats. 

My good friend came to me with such problem the other day. Being a nanny by day (God help her, she’s a champ), she’s constantly surrounded by “kid food” i.e. frozen pizza, leftover birthday cake, extra-frosting cupcakes, and chicken nuggets. Thankfully for her, the mother of the family is rather healthy and normally carries nutritious food in the house. However, one of the children just had a birthday party meaning LOTS of leftover food. She said they had everything in the house from pizza to carrot cake, just sitting there staring at her. And she did what any bored, stressed nanny would do: she indulged in the carrot cake (which she said was the most moist, delicious cake she’s ever had) and finished off the pizza. She then came home telling me how crappy she felt for over-eating, emotionally and physically (her stomach hurt too). 

While I did feel bad about her stomach ache, I didn’t want her to feel bad about her indulgence because it was a one time thing and I know she makes healthy decisions 90% of the time. Of course, it wouldn’t be so good if she did that every day, but it was one day and in a way I don’t blame her. She learned from her mistake (felt crappy the rest of the day) and then decided to move on with it (went to the gym later that night). And then the next day she was back to her normal, healthy, wholesome diet just like that. 

You see it’s all about balance. Balance means making up for binges by realizing it’s a one time thing and moving on with life, eating grilled fish with delicious seasoned veggies for dinner and then having that homemade cookie you want for dessert, skipping a workout one day because you aren’t feeling it but then working extra hard the next, taking a break from work/studying/craziness to do some yoga. You get the point. 

Life is way to short to eat/be/exercise perfectly all of the freakin’ time, but we can do so in a balanced, almost-perfect way. Heck, I practice balancing all of the time. It’s the only way to make it through life sanely without beating yourself up over every little “mistake” (eating too many chocolate chips) or accidentally overindulging in pizza because you deprived yourself from having just one slice and ate the boring apple instead. 

Just yesterday, I made a number of balancing decisions. When I went apple picking with my mom, the farm had just made freshly baked homemade apple cider donuts. Now normally I’m not a donut girl. But, a freshly baked donut right out of the oven from a farm?  That was worth it to me! So my mom and I split one small one to make for a healthy decision. Later in the day I listened to my body and wasn’t feeling hungry around lunch so I simply had a mini-lunch of freshly picked apple slices and sharp cheddar cheese. It filled me up and I moved on with my day. When it was too hot outside to go for my run (what’s with 90 degrees in fall?) I went paddle-boating with my mom for an hour on the lake and took in the beautiful foliage. Sure I wasn’t sweating up a storm, but my legs got a heck of a good workout and I didn’t beat myself up over skipping my run. Later, when dinner rolled around I enjoyed my sushi (and a lot of it). I don’t get the chance to have good sushi very often, so you bet I had a little bit of the California Roll, a little bit of the Spicy Tuna roll, and a couple pieces of the Special Maki Creation: Lobster Mango Roll. It filled me up, I was satisfied, and guess what? I didn’t even want or need dessert after. 

Living a healthy lifestyle is all about making healthy decisions day by day, but not beating yourself up over little slips here and there. Do what makes you feel good. Go to the gym because you want to go and it’ll make your body feel strong and your mind feel clear. Eat the cookie if you really want it, not because it’s sitting there and you’re bored. Skip out on pizza if you’re craving a grilled chicken salad, or have a slice with a side salad if it’s what you’re craving. Skip the gym and go for a long walk once in a while, or do some yoga to clear your mind. Can’t decide on what to eat? Distract yourself for a few minutes (on the computer, reading a magazine) until you really know what you want, and can clearly tell if you are hungry or not. Always have healthy snacks on hand so you don’t pig out on chips just ’cause they’re in front of you. And don’t feel bad about eating too much carrot cake in one sitting. Tomorrow is another day. Just jump right back on track! 

Create a healthy balance, and I can assure you you’ll be one happy, healthy chick!

How do you manage overeating when there’s loads of delectable fall food in front of you? What do you do to maintain that healthy balance? 


One Response to “Managing Overeating & Finding a Healthy Balance”

  1. elizabeth October 2, 2010 at 7:40 am #

    Excellent post!! we can’t strive for perfection, rather for positive change! if you diet is healthy the majority of the time, feeling guilty about the occasional treat is more harmful than healthy. guess who had sweet potatoes fries last night?? and I enjoyed every bite. they were delicious, but i don’t want to eat them every day. plus abstaining from treats make them even better once you do have them!

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