Aug 11, 2010

no such thing as a free lunch...

hey friends!

um... can i give a quick shoutout to all the awesome responses on monday's body torture post?

i hate how natural it is for self-hate to slip out. but let's do what we can to stop it, ok? i don't want our daughters and sons to grow up thinking they need to beat their bodies into submission to wear a size 2/8/12/20 or run 10 miles. deal?

i'm a tired puppy today - i did a swim workout this morning with a friend, who just so happens to be training for a half-ironman triathalon!

i probably should have considered that fact before the workout, but i am so proud i did it! he kicked my butt! don't feel too bad for me, though - he's pretty darn sexy :)

ahem. movin' right along!

i have a feeling some people might not like my thoughts today.

you know those diet articles that tell you the few, measly calories you're allowed, then list the "free food" you can have in addition? the food that doesn't count or doesn't matter?

there is no such thing as a free food.

i know it sucks, but you can't eat endless amounts of anything. no, seriously - nothing.

i don't care what you've read, what calorie count you know, or what your friend did to lose 10 pounds. it's not healthy, and it doesn't solve anything.

thinking you can eat something "free" causes problems. there are usually two reasons we rely on a guilt-free food: we're dieting and emotionally eating.

diets suck, first of all... but that's another post.

look, sometimes we do crazy things to lose weight... like believing we can eat without consequence. this would be great, except there's no such thing as a calorie-free food. other than water.

there are plenty of foods naturally low in calories like carrots, melon, raspberries, etc, but these things do have calories. when we think something is "free," we tend to go all out and pack away a fair amount... which kinda defeats the purpose of low-calorie, right?

let's just make one thing clear: gnawing on celery or sugar-free jello isn't going to give you an awesome bikini body. and don't even get me started on those no-cal noodles!

you're just going to be unsatisfied, still hungry, and move on to something else. probably a lot of somethings. and all those little bites you keep taking of "free food" along the way will just add up and keep you farther from your goals.

do you just feel like eating?

sometimes, we aren't hungry, but we still want a little something. we just need to be munching.

we feel like we've eaten enough already, so we search for consequence-free snacks. we want them on our tongue, but not our hips.

the problem? we aren't dealing with why we're munching. until we ask ourselves the hard questions, we won't be able to conquer the snack habit (like my gum chewing addiction).

we eat for all sorts of reasons: boredom, stress, loneliness, sadness... but there isn't enough food in the world to fix those problems. you have to deal with the heart before you can stay out of the kitchen. and no amount of grapes can do that for you.

whether you're trying to lose weight or try to cope, don't deprive yourself.

if you're toning up (or anytime!), eating real, natural foods is the way to go. you don't need diet food - you deserve healthy food! eat a snack that will satisfy you and encourage you to stick with your new, healthier lifestyle.

if you're emotional, put the snack down and let yourself deal. haven't you been carrying that burden long enough? how many carrots/cookies will it take before you're ready?

something else to consider:

i am definitely a believer that food brings quality of life. what would a day be without a juicy, ripe apple, or a piece of dark chocolate?

but everything you eat should matter to you. it's super easy to tack on something here or there and not even notice you're eating it, but why do that? if you don't love it or it doesn't do something for your health, do you really want to mindlessly consume it?

do you mindlessly...:
- dump creamer in your coffee?
- snack on fruit all day long?
- take bites off other peoples' plates?
- pop breath mints?
- eat in front of the computer?
- grab a few handfuls from the candy bowl?

for example, it totally took me by surprise to learn just how much creamer i actually used to use! for as much as i dumped in, i could have had a bowl of ben & jerry's. i didn't even notice the creamer! after i saw that, i felt cheated, wanted some ben & jerry's, and switched to drinking coffee black.

if creamer rocks your boat, then by all means, keep it up! just own up to it.

it frustrates me so much when people say they can't lose weight or barely eat anything, but they totally overlook their daily starbucks habit or the cookies they gobbled at the office copier. if those things make you happy, then do them, but most of us do them without realizing it... and we don't really even like them that much. think when you eat! 

let's get real.

it's just a snack, i know, but when i can't turn on the TV or walk in the grocery store without being attacked by all this diet crap, i get frustrated.

if it's calorie-free, what's the point? food has calories for a reason - it gives us energy and delivers vital nutrients to our bodies. no-cal food is just... chemically-infused air. it does nothing for you except support a bad habit and a bad body-image.

i deserve good food, darn it! and you do, too. let's stop focusing on what we shouldn't be eating and start focusing on what we really want - healthy, strong bodies and happy, long lives. don't they require healthy fuel?

your thoughts?


  1. i definitely still have days where i mindlessly eat or drink something because i need a comfort that i didnt fill with something positive and turned to snacking to try and fill it which i KNOW isnt productive but its so hard not to have times like that. i feel drained today as well, tired puppy for sure, and thats when im more moody and self-hating. i have to work extra hard to spin negatives into positives which can be even MORE draining. its so important to just go easy on ourselves and not feel so comfortable with beating ourselves up/ berating with self hate. we need to love and nurture our bodies, and heck ues that involves healthy fuel <3 <3


  2. this is a really wonderful post girl! i hope you are doing well - are you coming to the july 23 cooking class at whole foods? they are doing recipes using items from their new garden this time around!

  3. I don't know how you do it (well, actually - I do, obviously :P ) but I think I love you more and more after every post. I feel like I could have written this exact sentiment. (well, not really - I'd never be able to put it so elegantly :P) I probably let people saying stuff like "oh, it's low cal" or "oh, it's diet" as an excuse to have more of something upset me way too much. I never say anything, obviously - but part of me wants to just shake them and say "why don't you just have a little bit of the real thing?!"

  4. I couldn't agree more, real food is where it's at. All of the processed chemical crap that's been modified to have little to no calories are usually not only harmful, but taste horrible too. I've been down the road where everything I purchased was "fat-free" or "low-cal" or "sugar-free" and I would "save up my calories" during the day so I could have a big bowl of chemical "ice cream" with 100-cal packs and sugar-free syrup... what the heck is sugar-free syrup anyways?! That's totally redundant.

    Self-control, positive attitudes and perspectives on our relationship with food and ourselves are much better solutions to work toward than having a piece of fat-free cake and trying to pretend we enjoy it because it has fewer calories than the real deal. Keep up the awesome posts, I'm loving this the more I read it ;)

  5. REal food is where its at. Its the only thing that will leave you truly satisfied. That being said, it's still easy to mindlessly snack on even REAL foods. You have to be mindful and pay attention!

  6. Oh my gosh, SO true! So often, I'm like, I wish I had just eaten what I really wanted from the beginning, instead of trying to fill my craving with a crappy substitute, and then ending up eating what I really wanted from the start! So frustrating! I can't believe how many chemicals I was taking in when I was "filling up" on diet coke! Ugh!!! Such a good reminder!

  7. You hit the target on all your posts I love it. You need to be a writer for a magazine!! This reminds of this store near me called "get healthy america" but they sell all sugar-free, low-fat, low-carb etc foods I went in there once when, in my ed days and it is so sad people eat this "crap". EAT REAL FOODS. Foods in their natural form people!!!

  8. Preach it sister! Haha, this is a great post. So so so true!!! I've given up eating in front of the TV, the computer, and while I am driving. I eat so much more than I should when I am doing something else. You're awesome. Keep up the great posts!

  9. Ahh THANK YOU for this post! I used to sit around eating bags of baby carrots and then I realized... if I'm hungry, why don't I eat a REAL snack? Nothing against carrots, I love them, but the fact that I was eating a tonnn at a time probably meant I needed something more substantial. I'm so much better about incorporating yummy fats (hellooo almond butter) to keep me full now!

  10. So true so true! What bugs me (and I won't lie- I do it too!) is making fake versions of real food. I can understand a healthy muffin or something, sure! But constantly making healthy "cakes" and low fat "cookies" is not living! I do it. No lie. But it's disordered in depriving ourselves of what we really want. I don't need to eat a batch of cookie, or a whole cake, but it would be nice to have one or a slice of something real; something that will leave you satisfied; and something that will satiate you...mentally if nothing else.
    Maybe this was totally off-base from this post, but I think I'm on target :).

    You rock Rebekah

  11. What a great post- just found your blog from healthy exposures. This really struck me. What is the point of those "diet" "lite" foods which have no calories but also NO nutrition. They just encourage a bad attitude to food and completely ignore the fact that food is supposed to be FUEL. Ok, there's nothing wrong with it being a part of celebrations and enjoyed but when it becomes a mindless habit there's something not quite right...Thank you for helping me keep my thoughts on track.
    Emma xx

  12. So glad that you spoke up! I think we've all been there, but I've learned that munching on celeries alone won't fill me up nor nourish me for my active lifestyle! AWESOME AWESOMEEEEEE POST!

  13. Hi there...I saw this link on Medicinal Marzipan's blog. I wholeheartedly agree with you. In order to lose my weight (100 pounds) I ate a lot of processed foods. I had to learn how to eat and learn what serving sizes were. After I lost the weight and started running, I found that I wanted REAL food. Real food, veggies, fruits, meat. Basic things. I feel now like I look at food as fuel to move my body instead of just "junk" I eat to fill my stomach.


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