Finding Balance: Food

I don’t know whether you’ve noticed, but I’ve put on a few pounds over the last three or four months. Personal stress, packing and moving, and just general laziness and threw me right out of balance, and before I knew it I was completely out of all my routines. Sure, sure, it’s hard to exercise when you’re packing and cleaning all day. But the hardest part, for me? FOOD.

When I’m anxious or depressed, I don’t eat. When I’m mad or stressed or celebrating or feeling stuck or just too busy to plan ahead, I eat like the world will burn tomorrow, so who cares if we eat until we can’t move??

So. Yeah. That plus no time to work out equals about eight pounds. Not so much with the balance.

Since we moved in to the new house, I’ve been trying to find my way into some better patterns. I started working out three days a week, again (to be frank, that hasn’t happened since January), and today I realized I needed to get back on the food planning train.

Meal planning dinners | Fefferfit
Recipes for some of these to come! Blank days mean we eat out (1x/wk). Hooray for balance!

True story: I’m really excited to start cooking again! Those meals are all insulin-resistance friendly, and just…yum.

It’s funny timing, thinking about all this, because I found myself putting a toe in a Twitter conversation about “good” foods vs. “bad” foods on Tuesday. (Angry) Twitter guy was arguing that sushi can’t be good for you because it’s filled with white rice, and white rice is an empty, high-calorie, basically nutrientless carb. He’s scientifically incorrect, but I do see part of his argument. As someone who’s insulin resistant and has to be careful about carbs, I stay as far away from white rice as I can, just because it shoots my carb count so high without giving me much back in fiber or protein. But that doesn’t mean there’s anything inherently wrong with high-quality white rice. In reasonable quantities, it’s a healthy carbohydrate. Sure, brown rice would a little better, but sometimes faster cooking speed or even stickiness is desired. And I think sometimes we need to calm down about the way we qualify foods.

Honestly, I don’t believe in good and bad foods. I believe in moderation, and I believe in taking the shame out of food choices. Looking at foods as “good” and “bad” can spiral so quickly–when some foods are labelled as bad, then does that make them automatically off-limits? What happens if we make a “bad” choice? What if we make a whole lot of them over several days? What does that mean about us? And what happens when the food community starts to disagree over what’s acceptable and what’s not? How are we to know what we’re allowed to eat?

I don’t believe in making food choices that way, anymore. Actually, it makes me feel kind of anxious to even write about it. Food is food, and it’s all here for us to choose from. And let’s be honest: yes, some choices are probably better than others. We all know when we’re eating something that’s a treat (Chee-tos) vs. something that should maybe be a staple (broccoli). But I’ve found that if I can take that BAD FOOD label off and just enjoy the crap outta those Chee-tos, guilt-free, it makes for a much nicer experience all around. No shame spiral after I eat them. No eating more of them than I should, because I’ve already “ruined my day by eating crap.” I can have just a few, and enjoy them with the same sense of glee as my six-year-old, sitting next to me.

With that in mind, I present to you my personal shopping list. This is everything I bought for myself yesterday, for the next couple of weeks. Notice my attempt at balance–a lot of these foods are pretty nutritious and nutrient-dense, but there are some treats, here and there, too. I make no apologies for those! This is real life, folks, and I’m gonna enjoy every last bite!

And I already had canned tuna, turkey burgers & salmon burgers in my freezer for lunches, not to mention leftovers and mass quantities of Diet Pepsi. YAY FOOD.

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