Guest Author - Tammy Elizabeth Southin
It started with one cookie, now the bag is almost empty. Whether out of frustration, boredom, or for any other reason, your good eating habits have taken a beating. Feeling defeated and miserable, you vow to get back on track and back on your healthy eating plan. Tomorrow. And you eat another cookie.
We all find ourselves dealing with food issues throughout our lives. The perimenopausal and menopausal years add extra challenges when it comes to eating habits. The pounds add up no matter how many salads you eat. Or your good intentions are shoved aside because of stress. Food brings a form of comfort to many people and for women dealing with menopause it can feel at times as though food is our only friend.
But not all has to be lost. With some care and effort, you can regroup and get back to good eating habits.
Know your triggers
Do you reach for food after a fight with your spouse, your aging parent, or your rebellious teenager?
Are you eating out of loneliness due to a recent life change such as a divorce or separation, death in the family, or children leaving home?
Is it easier to sit on the couch with the snacks while watching TV than going for a walk because you lack energy to get moving?
Are you worried about body image and midlife changes that leave you feeling less attractive, less fit, or less healthy?
Knowing the triggers can help you understand why you reach for the chips or cheesecake. Too often, we see food as a companion to make up for loss or use food as a means of escaping daily stressors and menopause changes.
As women, we also tend to be rather harsh on ourselves when we have a day when we indulge a little too much. We tell ourselves that by eating a few cookies we blew it so we figure we may as well just keep eating.
Getting back on track
Tell yourself that it is normal to have moments when carrot cake is more appealing than carrots. You are not weak. You do not lack willpower. You are a normal woman who had a slip and it is nothing to be ashamed of.
Remind yourself that you are more than what you eat. Make a list of your accomplishments, positive character traits, and the positive aspects and people in your life.
Food is used as a form of reward or punishment from our earliest years and we keep these same behaviors into adulthood. Food should be seen as something we need to sustain our bodies so we can take back some of the power that food has had in our lives.
Avoid fad diets and extreme eating plans. The most successful and lasting plans involve eating a healthy balanced diet, cutting back on or cutting out the unhealthy foods, and allowing ourselves to enjoy a treat now and then to stave off feelings of depravation.