Over the weekend I spent two days completely off the whole foods bandwagon. I can't recall exactly what I ate on Friday and Saturday, but somewhere in my processed foods bender I had food I hadn't eaten in nine months...a frosty, a doughnut, a fish sandwich, french fries (2 x!), Subway turkey bacon sub, and part of a box of Girl Scout Samoas (a personal Warrior Dash tradition). I knew what I was doing: using the Warrior Dash as a reason to eat pretty cruddy. It illustrated perfectly my problems in trying to lose weight and stay healthy.
1. I often try to exercise my way out of my bad calories. Or I use my exercise as a reason to overeat. That's what I was doing this weekend. The race itself only took about 45 minutes, so it's not like I was running a marathon, but I certainly ate like I was going to run a marathon. You cannot out exercise a bad diet.
2. I would always do really good for a few days then totally blow it for a day or two. I could only really see and acknowledge the good days, not realizing the effect eating out several times a weekend had on my scale. I would think "I'm eating healthy and it's not doing any good, may as well eat junk." In my mind I was eating healthy 80% of the time, when in actuality it was more like 50% of the time. Even now with committing to eating mainly whole foods, I probably fall somewhere in the 80-90% healthy range, and that's with a lot of planning and cooking at home.
3. All or nothing attitude. Saturday after the race I kept debating on whether I should just call it quits with the whole foods challenge with the family. It was just easier to buy our own bread and bagels and snacks than to make them ourselves. I started thinking if we couldn't eat everything non-processed maybe we should go back to the way we used to eat. But I have to admit, I know it is healthier for the kids to be snacking on real fruit rather than fruit snacks (they haven't asked for any in over a week). I did decide it was easier on all of us if I kept buying my husband poptarts...much as I have good intentions I don't like getting up in time to make him something and he likes poptarts. He's an adult, if he wants poptarts, well...but he keeps them in his car since the kids aren't eating them now.
Even during my food explosion I knew my plan was to get right back to eating whole foods (and cut back on portions/frequency) starting Sunday. And it hasn't been as hard as I thought it would. The kids are now more accustomed to eating fresher foods. The big thing is that it takes planning. Tonight we are having pizza...from crust I made from scratch, cheese I shredded, fresh peppers, and minimally processed pizza sauce (I could have made my own, but I was afraid then I wouldn't actually follow through...trying to stay away from the all or nothing thinking). It took time to plan ahead and get the dough rising early enough and a few minutes of shredding...more of a thought process than popping a frozen pizza onto the pizzazz, but I'm guessing the taste and nutritional content is much better (the timer just beeped beckoning the family to dine). That doesn't mean we're never going to eat frozen pizzas again, but I now know I can make a pizza from scratch.
Learning that it's not about all or nothing (i.e. you're either eating whole foods or eating junk food), it's about making the most nutritional choice every chance you get...and letting the occasional Girl Scout cookie pass your lips.