How To Find Balance with Food?

Do you know your True Norths when it comes to food?
How To Find Balance with Food? 1
Click photo outfit details. | Photographer: Christina Cernik

Most of us go through phases with the role food plays in our lives. In our teens, we eat junk or whatever we can get our hands on when our parents aren’t looking. We have almost no regard for nutrition. It’s all about taste. Food is fun. In our 20’s, with college life and small post-college budgets, we eat cheap food to survive. And, then we hit our 30’s & 40’s and finally start to appreciate food for its nutritional and enjoyment values, and we begin to go out for fine meals or learn to cook at home. That means this appreciation for cuisine kicks in JUST in time for pregnancy, post-pregnancy, metabolism change, and hormone fluctuation. Perfect, right!? Ugh. So, how can we now (for lack of better a term) “have our cake and eat it too?” How can we eat what we want without obsessing over gaining a pound or two? I feel like, with a lot of fluctuation and failure, I am finding balance and peace with food. Now, before you remind me that I’m thin and food shouldn’t be an issue for me, I hear you. First of all, it is an issue for me. I gain and lose weight just like anyone based on what I eat and my lifestyle. And I have insecurities and discomfort with my body just like anyone – both how it looks and feels at times. This post is my way to share my grounding food principles with you (and to remind myself of them!). I call it my True North.

Everything in Moderation

How annoying is that saying? I mean, if I hear it one more time … but it’s.so.true. I went through a stage in my 20’s where I was obsessed with cake. Sounds kind of funny, but I have always had a sweet tooth, and with all the distance running I was doing, my body craved even more carbs and sugar than normal. So, I would eat like three slices of cake a week, sometimes more. I started to realize that, while I was running five miles a day, I was gaining weight. Duh!? So, I started to pull back on my cake habit gently. And over time, I was buying a slice of cake once a month when I REALLY wanted it. It was something to look forward to, a treat. It satisfied my love for cake (well, sweets), was in enough moderation not to have any effect on my weight AND I didn’t feel like I was depriving myself. Same goes for a filet, french fries, the bread basket. Treat yourself, but make sure it’s actually a treat and not an everyday thing.

How To Find Balance with Food? 2

Similar Alessandra Rich Dress | Photographer: Anee Atelier

Perfecting Portion Sizes
If there is one true north with food that I stick to (most of the time), it’s watching my portion sizes. I eat more frequent, smaller meals throughout the day. I also spend the majority of my day chasing around two small children, so I don’t even know when I would savor a big meal! We’ve all heard the saying “fuel the fire” when it comes to our metabolism. Throwing wood into a fire to keep it going is vital. That’s how we need to look at our bodies. Small meals throughout the day will keep your metabolism working at a steady pace, which means it keeps burning calories naturally. Heavy, high-calorie meals once or twice a day will cause your metabolism to slow down. It feels like it has to hold onto what you’re giving it because it may not get anything for a while. Try and eat 4 – 5 mini-meals per day. You will be amazed at how much better you feel and how your energy is stable during the day rather than crashing and spiking from morning until night.
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Similar Alessandra Rich Dress | Photographer: Anee Atelier

Give & Take
This might be my least favorite true north, but I’ve come to accept that I can’t eat everything single thing I want — a sad but true fact. So, time to give and take. I think the easiest way to look at this is daily. Let’s take breakfast – I am one of those that needs a carb in the morning. I typically choose a slice of healthy, grain bread and then I smear avocado on it, tomatoes and egg whites — Bing, bang, boom. A healthy, filling breakfast with all the necessary food groups. But, when I go to my next meals, I toss the carbs. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a scoop of quinoa on my salad or a sweet potato mash alongside my protein. It just means I don’t have heavy, processed carbs at lunch and dinner. Now, if I know I am going to the best sandwich shop in town for lunch, I will have protein, healthy fat and fruit for breakfast so I can eat the yummy sandwich bread at lunch! This is just one example of give and take. The same goes for sweets, alcohol, not-so-great fats. If you are heading for a night out on the town, stay away from dessert. If all you can think about it the brownie dish at your favorite date night restaurant, skip the breadbasket. This True North means giving in a little so that you can take a little.
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Click photo outfit details. | Photographer: Christina Cernik
Last but not least, Slow the F Down
I used to inhale my food. It was like a race, or as if someone was going to take my food away from me. That did nothing but lead me to overeat because I never really knew if and when I was full. And, actually, after having kids, I started to revert to my old ways because I never knew when they would wake up from a nap or need something in the playroom. I would stand at my counter and shovel food into my mouth, waiting for someone to yell “Mommy!!!” I have re-learned that the best way to enjoy food and realize when I have had enough is actually to sit down and eat … slowly. When my husband is home, I try to make a point to sit down and eat dinner with him each night. It’s a time for us to catch up, there are no distractions, and we can take our time and enjoy our food. This is good for both our relationship and our health!
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Click photo outfit details. | Photographer: Christina Cernik
I’d love to hear from you. Are you finding balance and peace with food? What are your True Norths when it comes to food? Comment here and include your Instagram handle if you’d like and maybe I can share them on my social media with my followers! 🖤

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