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11.19.2010

FED: a few thoughts from this week

seeing the whole picture: a happy face.

i have come to realize that how i feel about my body is in large part related to the quality of food i consume.**

meaning the better the food, the better i think i look...oh, the vanity!

i've not been making great choices lately. and it's not that i've been choosing terrible foods, it's more that i haven't been choosing good foods.

good is a tricky word. what i mean by it is food that provides my body with nutrients, vitamins, energy, the promise of a long-life (or some such).

for me healthy-eating is not the default setting. it has to be a constant, front-of-the-foot motion. the weighing of all options and the active choice (again and again and again) to eat well.

and when i allow ease and convenience to supersede other needs, well,  then processed foods tend to win out and it's a slow, downward spiral that leaves me feeling just-a-little-bit-off.

i forget sometimes that food isn't just for pleasure. sometimes i have to eat something even if i don't love it.

yesterday morning i pulled the cottage cheese from the back of my fridge. it had yet to be opened. sigh. i checked the expiration date to make sure it was still in the realm of won't-make-me-too-sick and then proceeded to pile it on a slice of whole wheat toast. let's be honest. i really love my trader joe's tuscan white bread. and i really love it with butter. and cottage cheese on whole wheat--not. my. favorite. but it's good for me. really good for me. (ps: cottage cheese is unbelievably high in protein so for anyone who doesn't eat meat it is a cheap, effective way to keep the body going).

so i had my cottage cheese on whole wheat bread. and immediately i felt better. it was as though space arose within me. does that make any sense? not to me either, but that was the sensation--and one that i could spend the rest of my life chasing because it was just that good.

and i spent the rest of my day attempting to make good choices. a peanut butter and banana smoothie from GNC. a faux chicken patty for lunch. followed by yogurt. and a mediterranean wrap from a new health bar on 72nd (so not tasty, but at least i got some veggies in, right?). pop chips and almonds.

the danger in feeling like i haven't been eating well is that it makes me nervous. yes, i get nervous. in fact, i have a tendency to panic. and inevitably i try to autocorrect--that's my impulse, always. but as anyone who has an iphone knows, autocorrect gets it wrong more often than not.

i was walking down broadway thinking about my food choices and i longed for some confirmation that i had been good enough. good enough? what does that even mean? it's such a dangerous thought, such an unhealthy phrase. but it made clear why diets are so seductive: diets take all the guesswork out. they make the picture black and white. either you've been good enough. or you haven't. there's no uncertainty. but life is not black and white. there is uncertainty. period.

diets don't work because a person can't chart their life in black and white forever.

and the thing is, if you can't do it forever. it just won't work. fin. end of story.

**the important thing to remember (for me, just as much as anyone else) is that the food i put in my body is only a fraction of the story. how i think i look depends on so many different things--most of which i can't control. but what it really comes down to is happiness--or at least the pursuit of it. so a weekly bouquet of flowers, a morning coffee, dressers over-flowing with freshly-laundered shirts, and clean bedroom (a bed made each morning, included)--these daily niceties determine my view of myself just as much as whether i choose to reach for that second cupcake or not.**

and an interesting note: our body weight fluctuates by six pounds each day. meaning at any given moment we might be up six or down six and it has nothing to do with what we've eaten or whether or not the bed made was made in the morning. weight, is in fact... wait for it... random. feed on that.

23 comments:

Brittany said...

YES. food quality is fascinating to me and i'm becoming very passionate about it. i actually wrote about this myself last week. my mom is a rockstar when it comes to eating clean, good, local food. but as i've started to adopt her eating aesthetic, i have really felt so much better. i've been really thinking about it this week because my body literally has been craving lettuce. don't get me wrong, i still reach for the cupcakes too, but my body is starting to prefer the good stuff! which is exciting and it feels so so good. i have so much to learn, but i think this is going to be key for me. so basically, thanks for writing this :)

now i just need to work on getting out of the library and running a few miles more regularly haha

chels.e. said...

such a good post. my family jokes about having a "need for good food" gene, and by good food we mean the really tasty unhealthy food. we like to eat. i have tried dieting on numerous occasions in many different ways, but as you said none have been a forever way of living. truely it hasn't been until recently that i have realized the food/activity/happiness/energy correlation that you explained so very nicely.

ahlin said...

this thought process. is exactly what i've been thinking the past couple months. especially the decision of reaching for seconds thing. that's where my main problems lie. and bless iphone apps that count not only calories but exercise and nutrients. i love it.

communikate. said...

you're so wise in your young age meg fee.

Brittan said...

food has been on my mind a lot lately too. i have polycystic ovarian syndrome and the doctor told me that i absolutely HAVE to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly if i want to avoid diabetes and heart disease when i'm older. it's so hard to think that gar ahead when i'm busy with grad school and...life...but i really need to. it's great that you're making so much effort to take care of your body. i'm ready to start doing that too. maybe i should join the exercise class you're taking!

let's do hang out. i'm free this weekend and post-thanksgiving. email me - brittanclaire@gmail.com - when you're free and we'll get dinner/brunch/coffee whatever and finally get to chat tête-à-tête.

Claire Kiefer said...

This is a really good reminder. I ate french fries and grilled cheese for lunch yesterday and felt awful immediately; I ate lentils and brown rice for lunch today and felt nourished and great. It definitely takes more time to prepare healthy, good foods, but it's worth it. And I wish that my body image didn't have so much to do with my confidence, and I wish it didn't have so much control over my mood.

Alyssa said...

I definitely agree when we eat well we feel better and its encouraging for the rest of the day.

I'm on day 5 of no chocolate and feel much better and pay more attention to what im eating - yay.

I have never cottage cheese, didnt realise it was so good for you! will have to give it a shot :)

Kelly said...

Thank you for such an amazing, amazing post!!! I get down-in-the-dumps and generally don't feel well when I don't eat well either, and I struggle with it. thank you for providing such a healthy perspective!!

where did you hear that fact about your weight varying daily? that's so crazy!

Chelsea Elizabeth. said...

The weight fluctuatiing cfact is really surprising! I didnt know that!
As a teenage girl sometimes I start to worry about making healthy eating choices now so that I have good habits when I am older. And I do eat really helathy meals most of the time, but I try to "treat" myself every day once to something litle. I think when people JUST try to eat all healthy foods it makes you crave junk food even more so i thnk its important to eat something we love every day so we dont eat a whole bunch of it in one day after a week of dieting. that seems even more unhealthy to me.
Haha. Just my thoughts. :)

<3Chelsea Elizabeth

Shelby Lou said...

I love your view on food, and not dieting. The way you see this topic facinates me, so much. I agree with you 100%.

yossy said...

i haven't had a scale in my apartment for over 5 years. my boyfriend calls them a "feel bad machines" and it's true, whenever i weigh myself i feel bad about the number whatever it may be. so you know what, i cut it out of my life and i feel better for it.

dull boy said...

you nailed it with the 'ease & convenience' thing...its a shame that ease & convenience are largely at odds with being healthy.

red-handed said...

In the forties and fifties everyone ate like lumberjacks, smoked like mobsters and at least half of them looked fabulous. Stop worrying so much -- your genes are just waiting to jump you when you're down. Try the right smile.

Sophia Caris said...

It's totally true....you are what you eat...

Jay said...

I love how you always smile with your eyes :) Oh, and thank you for the b'day wish! Best wishes from Norway

Jessica said...

Thank you for this post. I feel exactly the same way - eating healthfully makes me feel lighter in spirit, if you will, but it's so easy to skip. Thank you for putting into works the vague feeling I have always had, and it's refreshing to know that factoid about the human body fluctuating by 6 pounds per day! Such a wonderful thing to hear; makes one want to put much less emphasis on a number on a scale!

Hazel said...

Great post. Thought provoking - I recognise more than a few of the thoughts and feelings you mention here...

Rachel said...

I've recently eliminated processed foods (or at least most of them) from my daily food intake and its amazing how much better my body feels and how much better i feel about it and the way i look. I feel so much more healthy and nourished. Also...as far as cottage cheese goes - im not really a fan of it by itself, but take 1/2 a cup of cottage cheese mix that with 1/2 a cup of pure pumpkin (i love me some pumpkin) with a 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, 1 teaspoon of brown sugar a few dashes of cinnamon, mix it up real good and prepare to be amazed...so delish and super healthy :)

Caitlin said...

Hey, thanks - just what I needed to hear after a hellish week.

Keep going.

kelsey said...

healthy is not my default either! thanks for being real! :)

Jenni Austria Germany said...

ummmm, before i moved to europe i had to undergo lots of medical tests for insurance purposes. one day at the doctor's, i weighed 135. the next day (literally 24 hours later), i weighed 143. that is 8 lbs. i almost cried. the fluctuation thing: good to know.... :)

Roxy Te said...

I need this post. Seriously, I need to read it everyday. I've always had such a struggle..in the likes of Ned..and I feel as if I base my happiness too much on what I've put in my body. Then I over correct, then I can't sustain, then I got all upset with myself for not being "good enough" Such a vicious cycle- The niceties are so. necessary.

nancy said...

I love your posts. and I absolutely adore this group of FED posts. I have struggled with food my entire life, and while I could not bear to say the words out loud, I have often suspected that I have an eating disorder. that's a terribly scary thing to admit 'out loud' on the internet...

I just wanted to thank you for your posts - be they FED or otherwise - because you give me hope for humanity. (too intense? let me rephrase...)

you rock, dude!