Sunday, February 08, 2009

Crappy Healthful Food: Precursor or Step One?

A thread gone very wrong over at Gyminee got me thinking about a past food pattern. Let's sum up the heart of that thread as: turkey hot dogs, fruit shakes, and low-calorie snack foods do not make a good diet regardless of calories. There was more, but we'll leave it at that.

So, looking back, I noticed that there's a pattern to my behavior right before going off healthful eating (and back to daily Jack in the Box meals): I stop eating predominantly whole foods and start eating nearly 100% packaged "healthy" crap. Luna bars (yum!), balance bars, 100-calorie snack packs, frozen dinners, etc. Shortly thereafter, I dump all facade of healthful eating (because, let's face it, that really isn't healthful) and go back to the drive-through diet.

(Don't get me wrong. There's a place for those healthful packaged foods, but they cannot and should not make up 100% of one's diet.)

Now, I'm not sure which comes first - the diet dominated by packaged products or whatever flawed mentality I have that leads back to overeating - but I think it's an interesting correlation. Kind of like an alcoholic drinking light beer before dumping back into polishing off bottles of whiskey.

My therapist (in our extremely short time together so far) has surmised that my weight problem is one consequence (symptom?) of my not liking myself enough to take care of myself. Well, that's a significant oversimplification, but you get the idea. (I find it humorous because, when I was a child, my mother told me that I'm overweight because I don't like myself. I responded with something like, "No, Mom, I'm overweight because I really like food. Ah... was I not witty as a child?)

Nevertheless, my point: If one overeats because of a lack of self-care/self-love, can one not begin eating within caloric limits and starve oneself nutritionally? Eliminate all the whole foods out of a diet, and the body and mind, surely, would suffer in a similar way as they would suffer under all fast-food crap. Calories don't enter into it, really.

So, while all calories may be created equal on one level, they certainly are not on another. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Food is fuel. The body needs fuel. Now I'm realizing the greater importance of this: Not any fuel will do. Quality counts.


Susan said...

Excellent points Karen. I'll throw another wrench in to the mix ....

Just because a food is healthy doesn't mean that you can consume unlimited quantities of that food. Case in point - avocados, olives, nuts to name a few. All are chock full of nutrients but are also high in fat.

Karen said...

Hey, Susan, thanks for commenting.

What you say is true enough. Although, that can be said about nearly any food because it would ultimately cause an imbalance. If I were to eat, say, five cups of oh-so-yummy roasted asparagus per day, I wouldn't have room for anything else!

So, yes, it's all a balance. Everything in moderation... even healthful foods. ;)