Why Is Food So Hard?

Humor keeps us alive. Humor and food. Don’t forget food.

You can go a week without laughing.

Joss Whedon

So Many Food Decisions

Is there anything as controversial as what we eat? It’s such a personal decision.

It’s also confusing. If you ask friends and family which foods are good or bad for you, you’d get a dozen different answers. Experts have such diverse opinions.

The confusion around foods’ virtues is fueled by three factors.

  • First, the health and diet industry, where we spend billions each year, takes advantage of our desire for ‘practical’ knowledge. Vendors, including nutritionists and doctors, present the latest ‘quick fix’ in hopes we’ll buy their books, products and programs.
  • Next, corporate-influenced government guidelines are created by the USDA who has a mission to encourage consumption of US-grown agricultural products.
  • Finally, scientists are now correcting old beliefs (i.e. saturated fats are bad). What was bad is now okay if not good.

It’s hard to know what to believe.

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So Many Memories Are Built Around Food

Adding to the controversy is that fact that so many thoughts and memories are built around food. My family looks forward to the cake and ice cream after every birthday, holiday and milestone celebration. I do, too.

Food cooked by moms just seems to taste better, too.

Even family lore, the stories we laugh about, can be about food. My kids won’t ever let me forget the time I made lasagna with tofu. They hated it. I’ve made thousands of meals they like, it’s been twenty plus years since The Great Tofu in the Spaghetti Debacle, and still they tease me about it.

Moms spend a lot of time on food. Researchers suggest we plan, cook and clean up meals at least 8 hours a week, adding up to 1,117 days over a 63 year lifetime. Those statistics don’t include food shopping and putting away groceries taking at least 1.5 hours per week for me.


Why Most of Us Overeat

After all the energy we put into food, is it any wonder that so many of us overeat? More than 2 of 3 women are overweight or obese, according to the National Institute of Health.

The average American woman weighs 166 pounds today, up from 140 pounds fifty years ago. It’s no surprise that our average daily calorie consumption grew from 2,109 calories in 1970 to 2,568 calories in 2010. That’s “the equivalent of an extra steak sandwich every day,” according to Pew Research.

We eat fewer fruits and vegetables and more grains, meat, dairy, and fat than in the past. Obesity experts agree that plants should be a staple of every meal — but fruits and vegetables make up a smaller proportion of the American diet than ever before.

Are you an omnivore, pescatarian, vegetarian, or vegan? Deciding where you land on this continuum can be based on moral or ecological arguments.

So many decisions lead to decision fatigue.


I Created a Routine Around What I Eat and Drink

I’ve decided to make it easy. I eat 2 meals (lunch and dinner) each day. 

  • 8 ounces of protein,
  • 16 ounces of vegetables and
  • 8 ounces of fat

Here are my eating rules:

  • I have one Joy Eat each week, an exception that I love, but only if I have planned it 24 hours in advance.
  • I eat one piece of cake at any birthday, holiday or milestone celebration with my family.
  • I eat and drink only low-acid foods or beverages so I can stay off proton-pump inhibiting medicines and take care of my bladder.
  • I don’t drink alcohol. I probably don’t have the gene to digest it as it used makes me sick every time I drank. I stopped drinking alcohol in my thirties.
  • If it isn’t planned, I don’t eat it. When everyone else eats dessert, I drink tea and contribute to conversation. Connection is my focus at meals.
  • No flour or sugar unless it is a planned Joy Eat.

We eat about the same thing every week night. Lunches are salads plus a cup of soup in the winter.

This simplicity makes grocery shopping and cooking so much easier and we don’t waste food. We eat out, especially when on vacation, so that’s enough variety.

Plus I’m at my natural weight and know how to stay here for the rest of my life. What a relief!


How I Handle Urges (also known as cravings)

I’ve been curious about how my body would feel without sugar or flour. So I’m not eating either for 4 weeks. I can tell you that I do feel better physically,clearer mentally, and sleep more soundly.

When I have a craving for something sweet that isn’t a whole food, I process the urge. 

  1. I notice what I’m thinking.
  2. I sing a stanza of the song, “Sounds of Silence,” in my head using the words I’ve made up to help me.
  3. I take deep breaths. 
  4. I describe to myself how the urge feels in my body (like a blue, pulsing hour glass in my chest.)
  5. I wait until the urge passes then declare victory!

More on processing urges in future posts. 


Want to get started losing weight now?

Put your name and email into the form below and grab my Quick-Start Guide to Effective Weight Loss for Busy UU Moms that I created just for busy UU Moms like you.

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