Ok, so I know last week I said I was going to write about New Year’s resolutions, but I have something much more exciting to report today. As it turns out, I am someone who drinks green juices for dinner on Friday night…at the MOVIE THEATRE. If you’ve been reading for a while, you probably know this is a big deal for me, but let me just take you back to my days of binging at the movies for you to fully appreciate this announcement.
One of my very favorite things to do in the world is go to the movies. About four years ago, I went through a (long) phase where I went to the movies once a week, if not more. Not only was it expensive ($13.50 a ticket in NYC!), but all of the healthy efforts I had made up until that point were immediately negated during those few hours in the dark. Nothing was off limits. I’d order a medium Diet Coke and then be persuaded to upgrade to large…for just 50 cents more. Popcorn, Milk Duds…and hmm…I probably need Skittles, too. You know, to balance out the chocolate. I was out of control!
One time, I ordered a chicken fingers + curly fries combo meal with a king-size box of M&Ms and the girl behind counter asked me if I was PREGNANT! I’d like to blame it on the unflattering American Apparel babydoll dress I was wearing, but hmm…yeah, I’m pretty sure she thought I was eating for two. Yikes!
Well, last Friday Luke and I went to see DJango, and even though I wasn’t particularly hungry after work, I knew I needed something in my stomach to tide me over for the three-hour movie. Before I left the office, I did a search for juice stores nearby and found Juice Generation. I took a look at the menu and the nutrition labels of all the smoothies and juices that sounded good. I’m glad I did because although they were packed with nutrients, many had a high sugar content. Unless I’m eating something indulgent like ice cream or cupcakes, I try not to consume anything that contains more than 10g of sugar. Not even something “healthy.” (Keep an eye on those yogurt and parfait labels, friends!) Anyway, I digress.
At the juice store, I also picked up this Health Warrior Chia Bar just to have something to chew. Did it taste like a candy bar? No. But it did the job. I liked it more and more with each bite. It’s low in sugar (5g) and had pretty minimal, wholesome ingredients…as far as bars go, that is.
So, how did I go from a movie theatre binge eater to a green juice drinker? Well, I took baby steps. Any time you want to make a REAL change, this is how you need to do it. Slooowly. I started by ordering my medium Diet Coke but sharing the popcorn or candy with my sister. (I’d pick one or the other…not both). I did this several times until I decided to try just ordering the soda. The first few times were hard. I’d wriggle in my seat in frustration, contemplating if the agony I was experiencing was actually worth it. Sometimes I’d break and sneak out of the theatre 20 minutes into the movie to get candy, but there were plenty of times when, Phew, I made it. If you can sit with (and accept) those uncomfortable emotions at the beginning, your desire for the food will decrease. I know you’ heard that before, but…it’s true. Oh and it’s also worth mentioning that in this process I totally stopped drinking Diet Coke. That is the ONLY healthy change I’ve made cold turkey! See, change can have a ripple effect.
After having a handful of “victories,” it started getting easier. It really helps when you have positive experiences to reflect on in moment when you’re struggling. It reminds you that YOU CAN DO IT. The food (usually) isn’t worth it. And you’ll feel SO much better after making a healthy choice. Always try to think about how your decisions will make you feel afterward. It does seem fun to get a bunch of snacks at the movies, but leaving the theatre feeling guilty and bloated isn’t too much fun. Plus, it really puts things into perspective when you realize you can have a serving of ice cream for the same amount of calories in eight Twizzlers. Hello, you know I’m choosing the ice cream every time! Not only is it tastier, but it’s a much more substantial treat. Ice cream is not something you pop into your mouth in five minutes and somehow convince yourself that the (empty) calories didn’t count. (Oh, and here’s how I broke my ice cream habit.)
And would you look at that ingredient list? I can’t exactly say that it tasted delicious, but it was…pleasant. I told myself that I wouldn’t force it, and while there were moments when a shot of lemon or ginger shocked my taste buds, I think I’d do it again. Knowing that I was putting good nutrients into my body made it worth it—on a Friday night, no less! I don’t remember what the sugar content was, but it was low, as were the calories (about 80 I think). I was worried that my stomach would be grumbling halfway through the movie or later that night, but I was totally fine! Going to bed with an empty feeling stomach takes a little getting used to, but it’s also kind of nice. (Especially when you actually wake up HUNGRY for breakfast the next day!)
I know I’m making a record here for the longest blog post ever, but since I’m on a roll I might as well keep going. Would you also believe that on Tuesday night I was CRAVING brussels sprouts? Craving them…like a pregnant woman craves pickles. No lie. I was walking home after work when I started thinking about cooking them, and how they would taste and how much I liked to chew them. Seriously it just blew my mind. Two years ago I wouldn’t even put a brussels sprout in my mouth. Or if I did, I’d twist up my face in disgust like a six year-old eating peas the entire time while chewing. Whenever I lose sight of how far I’ve come, I need to remind myself of this moment!
When I got home I realized I had run out, but I did have a bag of shaved brussels that I got from Trader Joe’s, so I sauteed them in a pan with a drizzle of EVOO and mixed them in with sweet potato fries. Easy! Delicious! Done.
*Need help with your health and lifestyle goals? Want to lose weight without obsessing about every bite you put into your mouth? I’m a Board Certified Health Coach + Emotional Eating Expert; contact me for a free consultation and let’s get started!