Understanding The Importance of Eating Habits and How It Played a Role in My Self-Image.

Understanding The Importance of Eating Habits and How It Played a Role in My Self-Image.

We are molded by our experiences and how we are conditioned as children.

Disclaimer: This experience is my own and may not be true for all children/people who are naturally slim or children who were force-fed.

Growing up, my parents ensured that me and my siblings knew how fortunate we were to have food in our bellies, clothing on our back and shelter over our heads.

We learned early on to be grateful for what we had. These values are still a huge part of my life today.

However, my parents’ and other adults concern of how slim we were only grew as time passed.

As a result, our food portions grew also.

As a kid, I struggled to sit and finish my meals. All I wanted to do was play games with my siblings or read or draw or ANYTHING ELSE besides eat.

Between the ages of 6-11, I remember running around and being reminded to “finish your food!!” at every single meal. Even when we were tired and feeling full.

There are a few key emotions I want to address with what is called “psychological blackmail“.

  • Shame: “Look how much bigger your brother/sister/friend is!”
  • Guilt: “So many people are starving in the world! You need to eat!”
  • Fear: “If you don’t finish your food, there will be something to cry about.”

We’d often have to be “force fed” to finish every bite. Even if we fell asleep, we’d slowly be fed until the bowl was empty or my parents couldn’t wake us up!

Although it didn’t seem major, those years resulted in being conditioned to eat large portions of food.

My friends in high school were often shocked and it became a running joke. Growing up, I didn’t see the effect it had until later.

That’s what I’ve been doing?

It wasn’t until I left high school and moved out of home that I realised my habit.

Even today, people would ask, “Where does all that food go?”.

My response is usually along the lines of “I don’t know, it’s just in my genes”. That’s followed by, “You’re so lucky!” or “I just look at a cookie and I gain 2kgs!”.

In my early twenties, I started seeing a guy (now my boyfriend) and he was the opposite when it came to food portions.

He appreciated good food and loved a home-cooked meal but he would not eat anywhere near the same amount as I would.

At first it was funny but as time went on, I realised that these kind of portions were doing more harm to my body than good.

In saying that, we both addressed habits that needed attention: my portions were ridiculous and my guilt of not finishing my food even more so. And Luke’s habit of only eating once or twice a day maximum could not fuel his body for the long hours he worked.

When I realised this habit, I began making a conscious decision to change. I encouraged my boyfriend to try his best to eat 3 meals a day around his night-shift schedule.

How I unlearned these habits.

1. I began eating to satisfaction and practiced mindfulness.

I enjoyed all my favourite foods, but no longer felt the urge to stack my plate.

Being mindful really helped during this ‘transition’. I listened to my body and my tastebuds.

Meals did not need to be a one-person competition of how much I could fit into my digestive system.

It became an act of self-care: feed my body well, and express gratitude throughout the process of cooking, plating and serving.

This has become one of the ways I show people I love them. Cooking can be a labour of love!

2. I trained my mind to let comments slide like water off a swan’s back.

People noticed this change in habit. I’d receive comments like “Oh, you’re not hungry anymore? There are seconds and thirds!” or “You need to eat more! Look at you!” or “I wish I could eat my fave foods and still be as small as you!”.

Now, I was actively changing my perspective each time someone made a comment.

I knew they were just curious or concerned and what people said were usually from a place of love.

During this time, between ages 20-23, I started loving my body instead of ignoring it.

Yes, I loved to dress up and find clothes that fit perfectly but that was a distraction to actually taking the time to APPRECIATE this body that people called “too skinny” or “so boney”.

This was also the time I realised how different bodies, shapes and sizes DESERVED love and appreciation.

Why?

Just because!

No matter what people said, I was going to love my body for all it’s strength, skinniness and stature!

3. Thought patterns: My body may be skinny but it is also strong.

Instead of feeling insecure about me being “too skinny”, I started focusing on strength. Slowly – but surely! – I began working out.

At first, it was just walking around the block. For about a year or so, me and my boyfriend would go for walks around the neighbourhood after work or after dinner.

We got to spend quality time but we also got some light cardio in for the week!

Mentally, I started feeling more confident and comfortable in my own skin.

I practiced positive self-talk and body image weekly.

I reminded myself that my legs have taken me through endless hours of work.

My arms have comforted my loved ones.

My eyes have seen so many kind and inspiring people.

Continuing on!

The journey to shifting my mindset felt like an uphill battle. It was difficult to find the balance.

Some days I couldn’t stomach enough food and other days I could snack constantly.

Some days I hated everything I wore and had that classic problem of “I have nothing to wear!”

In reality, I had loads to wear but I did not have the confidence or positive body image to match.

Through the years of being told my body wasn’t good enough or ‘not the norm’ whether it was from:

  • Concern: “Do your parents feed you?” (Yes, an extended family member asked me this in private.)
  • Envy: “Ugh, I wish my body was like yours!” (From a complete stranger in a fitting room.)
  • Curiosity: “How do you stay so slim?” (From work colleagues to family friends.)

Years of comments like these eventually wear a person down.

Regardless, I did not give up on this self-project because I knew that this would prove to be beneficial not just mentally, but emotionally and physically.

I hope these ‘unlearning’ lessons gave you an insight that it is possible to change thought patterns concerning food and self-image.

Today, I enjoy food and everything that comes with it! From the flavours around the world to the comfort it brings when cooking and sharing it with loved ones.

Love the body you’re in. Regardless of what people say. If you are healthy and happy, you’re doing amazing and I see you!

What are habits that you need to “unlearn”? What is the first step that you can take today?

Review: Instant Cheddar Cheese Tteokbokki

Review: Instant Cheddar Cheese Tteokbokki

Coming back from my holiday in New Zealand was bittersweet. The views, the fresh air and the freedom to wake up in the morning and do whatever I wanted came to an end! The bright side though, was that I was back in my beloved bed and could start making that bread!

It was also time to get back into routine. So – although a day late – we went on our weekly grocery run! I picked up this instant tteokbokki from our local Asian grocer and was curious to try it. I’ve had rice cakes before, but never with it’s own marinade.

Unlike my last review, I’ll focus on these three categories:

  1. Convenience.
  2. Flavour.
  3. Worth it or not?

1.jpg

intokk

My score: 7/10

As I get older, I notice my time is more limited. Although I try my best to cook something fresh each day, the weekend is usually a hit-and-miss when it comes to eating at ‘traditional’ breakfast and lunch hours. This instant tteokbokki is perfect for someone like me who tends to get lazy every now and then.

On this particular day, I woke up at 8AM and stayed in bed for an hour before actually getting up.Out the packet, it seemed super straight-forward! Good news. A sauce packet and a packet of mini tteokkbokki.

I tried to peel off the nutritional value sticker to see the cooking instructions on the cup. Since that was a fail, I watched a few YouTube videos which was really helpful!

Step 1: Add boiling water (50ml), sauce and tteokbokki into the cup. I added more water as I felt the amount wouldn’t cook the rice cake.

Step 2: Microwave. Time may vary. The only problem with this step?

We don’t actually own a microwave.

Step 3: I set up my portable electric stove and poured everything into a stainless steel saucepan. I simmered the rice cake for about 5 minutes or so, mixing it every so often so it didn’t stick to the bottom or burn.

It was starting to smell good! The rice cake gradually got softer. Once it was done, I turned the stove off and mixed the cheese through. I then transferred it back in the cup for an “authentic instant tteokbokki experience” — that was a mouthful!

Besides having to use a saucepan, throwing the two ingredients in to cook for a few minutes is still convenient to me!

2.jpg

pottokk

My score: 7/10.

Initially, I tried the rice cake when it was done. It was quite sweet with a slight kick of spice. The cheese level was at a 6/10. It tasted more creamy than it did “cheesy”. For a little more flavour, added more cheese, sesame oil, Togarashi (Japanese 7 Spice Blend) and a pinch of chicken stock. Totally optional!

For an instant form of rice cake, the overall flavour was impressive. I haven’t tried anything like this before, so I don’t have anything to compare to. A few additions of my own did bring up the flavour though!

3.jpg
tokcup

My score: 8/10.

For approximately $4.00, this microwavable snack is worth it! I wouldn’t say this is the healthiest snack to eat or that it would be appropriate for a whole meal, but it does satisfy hunger enough to get you through to lunch/dinner.

If you enjoy cheese-flavoured food, then I would say this instant tteokbokki would be a good product to try! Add some fresh spring onion and shredded cheese for extra flavour!

I hope you all had a wonderful, productive and relaxing weekend!

What’s your favourite savoury snack?

If you like spicy tteokbokki, you may enjoy this New Carbo Instant Tteokbokki!

thanku2

*Disclaimer: Affiliate links are in this post. If you enjoy this content and the products mentioned, feel free to use the link. I appreciate your support!*

You can stay connected for updates, quotes and general life-happenings on my Facebook pageInstagramDepop and Twitter!

How to use a Menu Plan for a stress-free week.

How to use a Menu Plan for a stress-free week.

I never thought I would be the type of person to organise a weekly menu let alone stick to it. However, I’ve found that over the last year, a weekly menu has added to my goal of an efficient and stress-free lifestyle.

In this post I will share with you why I use a weekly menu, how it has helped and ways you can integrate a menu in your life to navigate around daily demands.

I also share a downloadable PDF for you to kick-start your menu making!

menu1

For years, I have watched videos on meal-preparation and how it has helped other people. Being so comfortable with eating out and “eating how I feel”, it wasn’t something I was keen to implement.

Two years ago, my boyfriend Luke, landed a full-time job and one year ago, I started studying full-time. Very quickly, I found it exhausting coming home everyday, trying to figure out what to cook for dinner, knowing I had x amount of time to study afterwards. I would either: throw random things together, buy extra items or go out to eat for convenience. This happened for at least 3 or so months. Maybe longer.

Eventually, I gave in. 

I thought that there had to be an easier way to organise grocery shopping and meals.

It was time for change!

menu2

1. List all your favourite breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner meals.

This helps you flesh out what ingredients, staples and specialty items you will need as you build your menu.

If you live with your partner, a roommate or have children, get them involved in this process too! This simple activity is great for communication and bonding. Ask them what food they like and brainstorm meal ideas. This also ensures less food wastage! What’s not to like?

2. Write out a 7 day plan.

List each day of the week. Now, figure out what day will be grocery day. It should be a day or night you can easily commit to. Another factor to keep in mind, is pay-day. For me, it’s easier to shop on Tuesdays since that’s when I get paid. Make it work for you.

3. Write all ingredients/staples needed.

By now, there would be ingredients that may overlap or repeat. Use that as a staples list! For me, I realised rice, oats, fruits, eggs and pasta sauce were staple items, so I plan the menu around them. Knowing what items are your staples, makes it easier to organise a stress-free week of meals!

menu3.jpg

1. Trial and error.

It took me and my boyfriend at least a month, if not two months to work out the kinks of a weekly menu. We realised what ingredients worked, how long they lasted and what we could conveniently cook each night or cook ahead of time to make things easier.

2. Communication

What I found with starting a menu, is that instead of having too many items and no meals to eat, we had just enough food which highly decreased wastage. In order to maintain this, communication was key! If we were low on cheese for sandwiches or laundry detergent, we would make sure to communicate this.

3. Utilise a list!

Besides just telling my boyfriend we were running low on something, I’d make it a priority to write it on a shopping list. Luke always has a notepad on the cabinet bench for easy access. I love using lists for day-to-day organisation!

menu4.jpg

Seasonal changes.

As seasons change, your menu will change also. During summer, weekly menus at my house are kept simple. Lots of cooler meals including salad and iced smoothies. Bread is kept in the fridge to keep from getting mouldy in humidity. During winter, or colder weeks, I plan soups and meals that can be served piping hot for comfort and enjoyability.
Keep this in mind throughout the seasons.

Be mindful of your budget.

Budgets are a huge factor in maintaining a menu. I’ve found in previous years, shopping in bulk at Costco or sales at supermarkets is the way to go. If it is a protein, I freeze the rest to use later. Even things like toilet paper can be purchased bulk to save some coins in the long run. Alternative brands are also something to look into. These days, quality doesn’t always come from a well-known brand. Branch out a little, test new things. You might be surprised at how much you save!

free download.jpg

Here is a downloadable Weekly Menu Plan. I’ve also included my own menu as an example.

 

Let me know in the comments if these tips were helpful for you! 

Welcome back to my regular readers and thank you for joining me if you are new! This blog is about mental-health wellness as well as lifestyle topics like fashion, food, decluttering and travel adventures.
You can stay connected for updates, quotes and general life-happenings on my Facebook pageInstagramEbay and Twitter!

It is possible to create change and manifest positivity in your life! x