This post is by OYS writer Sara Letsch. She’s been an OYS reader for years and I’m thrilled to have her writing for us. Sara is a foodie working to help others eat healthier through meal prep! She is also a fitness enthusiast who shares her experiences from her 100+ lb weight loss journey. You can find her on her blog Nymph In The Woods and on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Food can be a lot of different things. It can be nourishment and nutrition after a good workout or comfort after a hard day. The smell of a particular dish can evoke memories, emotions. Sometimes it’s something to be rushed through, other times it’s en experience unto itself.
So it’s easy to see why our relationship with food can be complicated! I know mine is. One of my biggest struggles on my fitness journey has been the impulse to stress eat. Food has been my source of comfort for as long as I can remember, especially carbs. They are delicious, right?! But it is hard to make progress when you are overeating and every dish you want includes a large portion of carbs. When I’m really stressed, portion control can be near impossible for me and I find myself saying “I don’t care right now…”
Of course, that isn’t true, and I usually quickly come to the conclusion that I need a reset. For me, that means taking a hard look at why I’ve been struggling and what methods I need to use to get back on track. Sometimes, it only takes a couple of days to get myself back on track and not impulse eating anymore. Other times….well, it takes a lot longer and more focused effort. I’ve tried a lot of different methods over the years and these are the top 5 that usually help me the most!
#1. Track using MyFitnessPal
Tracking isn’t much fun, but it is my top tool for getting myself back on track. Sometimes, all I need is the shock of just HOW MUCH I have been eating to get me back to normal and to stop overeating. But even when that doesn’t do it, tracking helps me to consciously be thinking about what food I’m eating. Even if I’m still stress eating, it’s a lot harder to do so for long when I’m, inputting it all into MFP!
#2. Find new healthy recipes recipes or alternatives
Usually when I stress eat, I’m craving a particular dish or type of food. So finding a healthier version of that dish can help a lot to curb those temptations and get myself back on track. My favorite recent example of this is using frozen cauliflower rice in place of regular rice. I’ve been pretty stressed lately and craving lots of stir-fry and curries, all of which go wonderfully with a big serving of white rice. Instead, I’ve been having a big serving of cauliflower rice instead! So when I prep those dishes, I make brown rice for my significant other and portion them with no rice for me. Then they are easy to pair with the cauliflower rice later, since I don’t even have any extra rice to default to instead!
#3. Clear out any of my ‘temptation’ food from the house
Especially if I’m craving a particular food, sometimes I just have to get it away from me. This was the case recently when I was really struggling with my stress eating, especially portion control. I wanted this specific crunchy snack and, while I told myself I would only have a bit, that is never what ended up happening. So I had to accept that I just can’t have that snack right now and stopped buying it at all.
#4. Evaluate my schedule and my current meal prep
Sometimes the reason why I fall off track has nothing to do with stress and everything to do with not getting enough food. Since I prep all of our snacks and meals, if I’m still hungry afterwards I can end up making poor choices ‘on the spot.’ When this is happening frequently, I have to re-evaluate if I’m getting enough food or enough of certain nutrients throughout the day. Recently, I’ve been changing up our snacks to focus on higher-protein ones! Because while I have been stress eating, being very hungry between snacks and meals has not been making it any easier.
#5. Journal – is there a time of day that I ‘fall off track’?
Journaling to try to see if there is something in particular that is triggering my poor eating during the day can help me a lot to be more prepared for it! For me, I tend to make my worst decisions at the end of my day. So not buying my “temptation” foods and having some healthy alternatives planned for a post-dinner snack can really help me stay on track!
While there are lots of ways to reset your eating and get yourself back on track, these 5 methods really help me when I need to! Keeping your food healthy and under control is essential to meeting your fitness goals and is also an area that most people struggle with. Recognizing that and planning for how to manage that are the best ways to combat that!
What is your go-to method for resetting your eating when you fall off track?