I wanted to share some things about diet and nutrition, since I’ve been getting some questions about what and how I eat nowadays. The simple answer is that I focus on eating things that are good for me, but I also have small treats throughout the day. It’s rare for me to NOT have a piece of candy or some Hot Tamales after meals (even breakfast!) and I have a little bit of chocolate pretty much every day. Small treats are important to my psychological health! I wouldn’t be happy if I felt like I “couldn’t have” cookies or cake.
I’m not going to make a long list of exactly what kinds of things I eat from day to day, because I don’t think it’s healthy for anyone to compare themselves to me–after all, we are all individuals with our own individual needs. It wouldn’t make sense for you to eat the same way that I do. I will always tell you that the best way to figure out how you should be eating is to visit with a dietitian–especially if you are recovering from an eating disorder. I also think dietitians are extremely important in terms of accountability: Without having someone to help keep us on track, it’s just too easy for us to keep making the same eating mistakes we’ve been making for a long time.
But for those of you who are having trouble finding a dietitian, I wanted to share a website that I found extremely helpful: the US Department of Agriculture’s Daily Plate website, http://www.choosemyplate.gov/ I love this site because it not only teaches you about healthy eating, but also will give you a personalized plan based on you and your lifestyle. It’s absolutely the best nutrition information website I’ve found so far.
Beyond that, there are some other things I pay attention to in my own diet. Because I am actively strength training, I try to make sure I get a good amount of protein every day. This is also really important for those of you who do a lot of cardio–did you know that runners actually need more protein than people who primarily lift weights?
I also often add peanut butter or nuts to my meals, because a lot of the things I like to eat are lower in fat. I love to add chopped walnuts to my oatmeal, or spread chunky peanut butter onto crackers and then top them with raisins and/or chocolate chips (yum!!).
It’s important that your meal plan includes both balance (for good physical health) and flexibility (for mental/emotional health). A more flexible meal plan will allow you to go out with friends and family sometimes, without getting anxious about whether or not the restaurant you’ll be going to will have EXACTLY what’s on your plan for the day (I’ll have more tips on eating socially in a future post).
Also, just a note for those of you who may struggle with binging: Even though I believe that the ultimate goal is always to get to the point where you can have small amounts of every food without feeling out of control, if there are certain foods that seem to trigger you, it may be wise to keep them out of your home for a period of time (Again, in a future post I will share some tips on how you can begin reintroducing some of those foods into your diet).
Well, there you have it–a basic rundown of how I eat, and how you can begin reshaping your own diet in a healthy way. Good luck, good learning, and bon appetit!
Love, Hope, & Prayers,