Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Avoiding the Eating Entitlement Trap

When I was working outside of the home before motherhood, the teachers' lounge was the place you could almost always find a treat. Doughnuts, cupcakes, leftover pizza, cookies, and more. I would sometimes take a detour through the lounge just to check and see if any new treats had arrived--just being honest. It got to the point that I would have a treat whenever I felt like it because everyone else was. I would be missing out if I didn't eat that doughnut or cupcake. The year before I got pregnant I set a rule for myself that I could not eat anything from the teachers' lounge. The idea of everyone enjoying a treat with out me started to sabotage my healthy eating goals. 

June 3rd is National Donut Day! And you most likely are more than aware of that if you participate in any form of social media. That Friday my Instagram was filled with the most ridiculously beautiful shots of donuts. Kids eating donuts, donuts with sprinkles on white tables, donuts sitting next to a flower, doughnut frosting on a perfectly manicured finger, and the list goes on (and on and on and on).

I've been trying to make some healthier choices these days and didn't feel like a doughnut was a step in the right direction for me, but as I scrolled my Instagram feed I couldn't help but feel like I deserved a doughnut. If I didn't have a doughnut on National Doughnut Day, I was missing out on the fun--and that isn't fair. And that's where it hit me. My problem with eating comes from a sense of entitlement. I should  be able to eat whatever I want and if I can't it's not fair. I shouldn't be left out. 

There are so many women who are healthy and weigh a healthy amount on my social media outlets and they seem to be eating ALL DAY LONG! The burgers, the fries, the mac and cheese, the cookie dough, the ice cream cones, and then the alcohol.

It's not fair! I think to myself.

And then I allow that sense of injustice to prompt poor eating habits from me, yet again.

I can't believe that I'm the only woman struggling with this sense of entitlement or lack of fairness when it comes to eating. I have had to learn how to deal with this silly problem that keeps getting in the way of me meeting my goals. Here are three things I do to help me get through the feeling of entitlement:

Focus on Health:
For me, I must focus on my health when trying to make a change, not on my looks. When I focus on changing the size or shape of my body I get angry at my body and don't feel positively about it or I decide to embrace my body and decide that it's "perfectly fine" instead of focusing on my goals. For me, wanting a "bikini body" doesn't work--maybe it does for you. Find your main--deep down motivation--and find ways to keep your focus on it.

Cheat Meals:
When I feel like I can't have something, I feel resentful. I also know that when I see all the treats on my social media feeds, it can lead to some serious cravings. Choose your "cheat." It may not be a cheat at all, it may be a big one, or a little one. I try to maintain a balance and when I see all of those treats on my screen, I remind myself of the treat I am going to enjoy with Zach after JaiseAnn goes to bed that night. It really helps keep me in check. 

Reality Check with Social Media:
Beautiful pictures of food are very appealing. Pinterest is practically devoted to beautiful pictures of food. We love food. For some reason we are also drawn to beautiful women who love food and eat it while wearing bikinis. It's really difficult for us to really get a perception of reality on social media (this we all know). It's important to remind yourself that the foodie in her short shorts probably isn't eating spoonfuls of cookie dough every time she shares it on Instagram. It's popular, it makes her relatable, and we like it, but the reality is she probably has a small bite and calls it good. Likewise, that fitness blogger that you follow probably does enjoy a cookie or brownie now and then. People brand themselves on social media and their relationship with food is often a big way they connect with their readers, it's important to keep that in mind.

If there is a particular blog/account that bothers me or gets under my skin, I know it's not that person's fault or problem, it's mine, but I still delete their account and stop following if I can't seem to stop feeling entitled to all the treats because someone else is having them, too. 

Redefine Fun:
This one is huge for me. When I see people eating delicious food it feels like they're having all the fun without me. I feel like I'm missing out if I don't go out and get something horribly greasy that I enjoy, too. When I have those feelings of "I'm missing out," I have to redefine fun for myself. Instead I might ask Zach to kiss me for a minute or rub my shoulders. I might take a bath with a good book or turn on the radio and dance with my daughter. 

I'm sharing some more tips for staying on track with your health goals over at Making Mrs. M with the lovely Jaelan--come visit! 

Do you ever fall prey to the eating entitlement trap? How do you get out of it?

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