Whether you've known me for a long time or a little, it's hardly a secret that I love food. I have never been and will never be someone who does cleanses, has lemon juice instead of salad dressing or believes, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." While I do believe we should eat to live and not the other way around, I also feel strongly that food is meant to be enjoyed!
Something I've talked about openly with you is the fact that I was majorly unhealthy (and, in turn, unhappy) in my early- to mid-twenties. I was out of shape, weighed more than I should've, and truly had no real grasp of what or how I should be eating for my health. My diet consisted mainly of cheese and carbs. I think my decent metabolism is the only thing that kept me from being even more overweight.
I read many books as I made the transition to Teddi 3.0, if you will, and one of them was, of course, Naturally Thin by Bethenny Frankel. I read this cover to cover in the span of a few hours one day and while there's lots of good advice and I do recommend reading it if you're into that sort of thing (also check out Food Rules by Michael Pollan if you're a Food Book Nerd like moi) there is one thought process she shares that has stuck with me all this time.
Treat your diet like a bank account.
Now, Bethenny goes into detail about how to apply this metaphor to your daily life - looking at calories as dollars, making withdrawals from the "bank," good "investments" vs. bad, etc. And I love all of this. But there's a piece of this theory that really hit home for me. It's become what I like to call my "food philosophy." It's a single question I ask myself before every single thing I eat.
"Is this worth it?"
· Is this worth working into my food budget today?
· Is this worth re-jigging my food plan today because it takes up more fat/carb macros than something else I'd normally eat?
· Is this worth the stomachache it might give me because it's fried/processed/junky/etc?
And most importantly...
· Is this WORTH eating? Will it fill me up and fuel me up?
As you've already guessed, this question is more important to ask when presented with an indulgent choice rather than a beautiful piece of fruit or a plate of roasted veggies. I ask myself this question constantly because it keeps me mindful and ensures I'm not snacking just to snack or eating things out of boredom, laziness, convenience etc. But when this question TRULY comes into play is typically when I'm out of the house, at a restaurant or place or event that offers food choices that don't typically live in my home.
My "rarely-to-never worth it" list is pretty long and specific because I'm picky, but here are a few highlights:
· Soda. I think I had it twice when I was pregnant, but otherwise, I stay far, far away.
· Any thick, sugary drink like a milkshake, Frappucino, Slurpee, etc. When you think about it, these are really so unsatisfying and almost NEVER worth it!
· Any sort of packaged baked good, like a boxed cookie or a plastic wrapped brownie. Knowing that it was mass produced and I can have it any ol' time makes it much less appealing.
· Croutons. Stale bread cut into cubes. What a racket!
My "almost always worth it" list:
· A fresh donut from a place that specializes in donuts (Dough in Manhattan; Gordough's in Austin; Stan's in Chicago.)
· Waffle fries with Polynesian sauce from Chic-Fil-A. That's the Texas girl in me. (I know, I know. I like their chicken - not their politics...)
· A fresh biscuit when I'm down South.
· A bowl of pasta at a great Italian restaurant.
Giving "worth" to every single thing I buy, cook, order, put on my plate and eat has undoubtedly made me a more mindful eater. It allows me to examine my choices without obsessing over them. It encourages me to focus on quality first and it holds me accountable day in and day out.
The old me didn't think like this. I ate whatever was easy, quick, convenient and covered in cheese.
When I started doing yoga in 2011, I became much more aware of what I put into my body. Looking at it from different angles (downward facing dog, for instance) will do that to you! From there I began to pay attention not only to my portion sizes but what was on my plate to being with. Once I stopped to think, "Is this worth it?" before shoving it in my mouth, I realized that a lot of it wasn't worth it. This thought process enabled me to not only lose the weight I needed to, but to keep it off!
If you're looking to refine your diet, lose weight or simply focus on making better choices, give this way of thinking a whirl. I promise you it'll open your eyes and if you apply it consistently, I believe it'll help you make long-lasting change.