A workplace full of SAD foods and a girl who grew up on emotional eating
I grew up in a family where guests didn't leave our house without having dinner. My mother has had type 2 diabetes for going on 20 years now. Our typical evening involved sitting on the couch watching tv and eating potato chips. (shortly after enjoying a hearty dinner) The last year or so I really realized I needed to do something about where my health was going. Between turning 16 and 20 I had gained nearly 50 lbs. I drank Mountain Dew like it was going out of style and ate whatever, whenever. Fast food, pasta, bread. I also have Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis that I was diagnosed with as a small child that has begun bothering me as of late. When I was at 165 lbs on a 5'4" frame I went on a diet and lost around 25 lbs. I also started working out. Mainly cardio at first because I had no clue what I was doing! Now I mix it up and do some hiking and swimming and running. For the past few months I've been teetering in the low 140's but I don't feel like I'm where I want to be. I stumbled across some stuff about eating paleo and primally and it just sounds like it makes so much sense to me. My problem is that I work in a food-service job where grains and desserts and low-quality fare is about all that exists, and as employees we basically get grazing privileges. I know the cakes and the casseroles and the breads are counter-productive to my health and fitness goals but in the middle of a stressful day it is hard not to munch on what is right in front of me. I feel like I am hard-wired that way and I am desperately searching for a way to get myself out of this cycle of binging and repenting.
Yow - that's not easy! But the big thing you can tell yourself is you're being primal to counteract your rheumatoid arthritis. You're letting "food be your medicine and medicine be your food." (And losing weight/fat is just an added bonus!) Along with reminding yourself that you're choosing to eat this way to be healthy, you should bring your lunch with you to work -- make it a big one full of healthy proteins and tons of grazing-worthy veggies. And bring some snacks with you too: a handful of nuts in a single-serving plastic bag; a piece (or two) of fruit; some sliced red pepper or other veggie that you enjoy eating. And switch your soda to water.
And if you are stressed, take a five-minute "bathroom break" and go for a quick walk outside to clear your head.
I second the suggestion that you focus more on health than weight in rejecting all the 'bad' foods available to you at work.
I have severe osteoarthritis, and because I didn't know any better, I was on meds for over 20 years. By eating low carb (now Primal) with no grains, fruit, or dairy [or sweeteners of any kind, including artificial], I was able to get off all meds and remain pain free. In fact, I was sure that I was headed for double-knee replacement, but my surgeon was so impressed with my ability to eliminate pain that he suggested I hold off.
Bring your own food, and just remind yourself that those other items are not good for your health.
You're young, and I was as 'hard-wired' as you for eating the starches and sugar, and I was able to make the change post-menopausal after many more years of eating badly than you've experienced.
You can do this now! The longer you abstain from that stuff, the easier it becomes to reject it as you experience better health.
What they said -
Go cold turkey. Reject all the SAD. I have a somewhat similar work situation, although not as severe as yours. For me, and maybe you as well, there isn't a middle ground. No grains, no sugar (they really go hand-in-hand), no beans, no legumes. You must bring your own food and eat freely of it. Don't skimp on primal fare. Especially go for the good fats as this will help keep the cravings at bay. Protein is your friend. Spend some time at this website and you will find loads of information and motivation.
Keep some macadamia nuts in a baggie in your pocket, they really help with curbing your appetite..
Also, if you can get about 3-4 days of eating totally paleo it gets so much easier to stay away from the poisons.
Hi! I have "j"ra, too...I'm 37 now. I've been using diet to help control it since I was a little kid. It's currently in remission, but I had a hideous year-long flare after my 2nd daughter was born...anyway. here's my non-primal advice:
Chew gum at work. Fake sweeteners aren't the best, I know, but having something in your mouth will help keep other things from going in there and eventually you'll break the habit of reaching for something whenever you walk by it.
Thank you for the tips! I'm definitely going to start packing things to take with me.
Now the other sticky situation is that I live at home with my parents still, being a full-time college student. My dad prepares dinner every night and is an amazing cook. Him and my mother have been trying to lose weight lately and have been eating lower carb and sort of going along with my primal style more than before but I am finding more and more I can't watch him cook because I will see him put imitation maple syrup into our bbq sauce, along with frying fries in canola oil. I feel like I have to pick my battles and they act like I am obsessing if I try to mention these things but at the same time I truly want to clear my diet of all these artificial sweeteners and sugar. Not only that but I'd like to see them hit their goals instead of throwing up their hands in despair at it. I know there's not really a question in there but maybe people have had similar experiences.
Do you think your parents would be open to a discussion about different cooking oils, and why they may want to consider switching from PUFAs to coconut oil, or butter, or even olive oil? (When my father in law visits, I compromise and use olive oil or butter, because he absolutely can't wrap his head around coconut oil or bacon grease being healthy, because "everybody knows they're bad for you!" As you said, pick your battles!) Maybe your folks would be willing to try swapping the canola oil for olive oil?
And along those lines, maybe splurge for the high-quality, real maple syrup (if you're going to have syrup, make it the real kind) -- because the real stuff tastes phenomenal (according to my SAD husband, who insists on real maple syrup instead of the maple-tasting stuff) and is healthier than the fake stuff.
Even better: find a primal/paleo recipe for barbeque sauce and ask if your dad would be willing to make a batch (maybe you and he could do it together) as an experiment -- a taste test to see which tastes better, the bottled BBQ sauce or the homemade/primal sauce. That could be a fun way to at least introduce the concept of eating cleaner.
Maybe it would be helpful to start talking more about how cleaner foods are healthier and tastier. Talking about it could pave the way toward acting upon it. Good luck!
It is not easy, for sure. But, the longer you say no, and the longer you train yourself to view grains as 'not food', the easier it becomes. I work in the office, and cakes, sandwiches and muffins are a common place in the kitchenette & at the meetings. I tell myself that they are the same as paper plates. At first it was HARD, now, I am not even triggered by the smells of the coffee shops as I walk to work. I tell myself, that the best things about baked goods is the smell, and I get it for free... Hope it helps some....
Get your dad Mark's book for Fathers Day..write a heartfelt tribute to him inside the cover praising him for being such a great dad and how you want all of you to begin this FUN journey for a new lifestyle.