One of the things I love about our neighborhood is how well we get along with our neighbors. The houses are close together and we all tend to sit out on our porches and socialize. One day this past summer my husband and I were enjoying a warm evening on our front porch eating a snack and having a beer. Our neighbor wandered over and we offered him some of what we were eating. He looked at it and exclaimed “that’s junk food!” Yep, we were chowing down on a box of Cheez-Its. Those bright orange crackers that have absolutely no redeeming nutritional content are a weakness of mine. I totally got those commercials that proclaimed “Get your own box!” On rare occasions I will talk myself into buying a box and enjoy every square of cheesy goodness. I don’t encourage anyone to make Cheez-Its a part of your regular diet. For me they are a treat because I recognize them as my weakness. Some people fight against a sweet tooth, but for me it is all about the savory. There is only one way for me to win the battle and that is to keep Cheez-Its (and potato chips, Cheetos, Doritos, etc.) out of the house.
Today I would like you to think about your weaknesses. Identifying them is the first step in conquering them. Do you overeat when you are stressed? Can't stop at just one fun size candy bar (particularly relevant this week)? Do you tend to snack a lot at a certain time of day? Eat too much while you are preparing dinner? Get in a great workout and then binge because you are starving? Do you use other people as an excuse to buy junk food (the kids need to have cookies or chips)? Find it difficult to step away from a buffet or snack table at parties? Eat out a lot? There are solutions to all of these and it starts with knowing yourself and being honest with yourself. It is very easy for me to say, just don’t buy junk food or don’t try full portions of everything you are cooking or don’t eat out so much. Unfortunately the answers aren't so easy.
The first thing you have to do is want to change. I have had conversations with people regarding how they would like to lose weight or eat better or work out more. Usually they have been successful in the past and then life happened and they returned to bad habits. I ask them if the excuses they make for not taking care of themselves are as satisfying as how they felt when they were treating themselves well. Not very many people say yes. The next step is knowing what your soft spots are. I recommend a food journal. There are a lot of apps you can use (many people I know have had luck with myfitnesspal) or good old fashioned pen and paper works well. Be honest! Once you know what your trouble spots are, put a plan in place. If you have been reading my blog for awhile you often hear me say be a mindful eater. What that means is being aware of what you are about to put in your body and making a conscious decision to eat whatever it is. This may sound cheesy (yes, pun intended) but before I eat something decadent I ask myself if it is worth it. Sometimes the answer is yes, but usually I can resist when I think of all the hard work I put in to lose 25 pounds three years ago. I know someone who actually pours ketchup or salt all over a dessert when she is eating out to avoid eating the whole thing. Other people find it useful to have a healthy snack ready to go when the munchies hit (an apple, pre-portioned nuts, air-popped popcorn etc.). At parties I have to physically remove myself from the food table by standing in another room or on the other side of the room and engage in a conversation with someone. What works for you? Share with the rest of us by using the comment section below!
This doesn't have to apply only to food. Whatever dreams or goals you have for yourself can be accomplished by identifying what is holding you back from achieving success and then figuring out a solution. If you always find obstacles or let your weaknesses control your results you will never reach your objective.
Quick recipe this week! Need a delicious appetizer for a party or a yummy sandwich spread without any mayo? This is it!
Mushroom Cashew Pate
adapted from Vegetarian Times
1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup minced shallots (about 2 medium size)
4 cups chopped mushrooms (cremini or moonlight)
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp smoked paprika or 1/2 tsp smoked olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste