You are what you eat

abbie wenthe on avoiding the Mizzou 22

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Chocolate croissants from Panera, burritos from Chipotle, red velvet cupcakes and cookie dough ice cream: these are a few of my favorite things … (cue "Sound of Music")

I absolutely love fruits and vegetables and overall healthy eating, but I also really, really love sweets and other foods that wouldn’t typically be considered “good” for you. I feel like I’m not alone when I say I swoon over a piece of chocolate cake and the thought of the calories that accompany it. However, I always try and push that thought aside with an “Oh I worked out today, so it’s fine” rationale and enjoy the cake for all it's worth. But then the guilt settles over me, and I immediately regret my decisions.

I am still working on being able to avoid the tasty treats altogether, but until then, I am trying to stick with the idea of portion control. The most effective way to enjoy food to the fullest (pun intended) and still fit in those jeans is keeping watch over how high food is piled on the plate. Instead of eating two scoops of everything at the dining hall, cut it down to one.

I know, I know, you’re just so hungry though! Trust me, having all that food just waiting to be eaten makes the brain want more and more and is the cause of those extra trips to the grill. Feeling hungry after eating means there is not an adequate amount of nutrients and vitamins in the food. Unfortunately, those chicken tenders and pizza have barely any nutrients, so they cause overeating and the “full” feeling to go away sooner than necessary.

The body needs energy to fuel all the different processes, and the right fuel is not going to come from fried foods. This is a crazy idea, but try eating from the salad bar or incorporating more fruits, vegetables and protein into meals; these foods are nutrient-dense and provide the body with energy and will give you that full feeling. This way, the Mizzou 22 can be avoided, and no one is that person constantly going back for more food. I always take a trip to the salad bar and grab some carrots, cucumbers or other vegetables to brighten up my plate and make it look pretty. Take a journey back to elementary school art class: experiment with colors! Just imagine the vegetables are actually finger paint and that the masterpiece will be hung on the fridge at home.

So portion control is great and everything, but what about those desserts?

My philosophy that I am constantly trying to remind myself that desserts are special and should be saved for special occasions or a reward of some sort. I have lately slipped into the habit of keeping a stash of chocolate by my desk for emergencies, which just so happen to come up all the time … But slipping into this habit has made it seem like these sweet treats are okay to enjoy all the time, and it takes the reward out of them. By choosing one day on the weekend to enjoy Sparky’s or a pastry from Panera, it will be a reward from the week of healthy eating and exercise that make each bite even more savory and delicious.

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