What Pumping Gas Taught Me About Food

Dear Self,

It was just three years ago that your mom spent 15 minutes coaching you on how and what to order at Starbucks.  You were so afraid of ordering you almost cancelled your coffee date!  You weren’t scared of the cashier.  You weren’t scared of coffee.  And you weren’t scared of spending money.  You were scared you wouldn’t have the courage to enjoy your drink.  In short, food had become your enemy.  You couldn’t think of it as fuel.  All you could think of were the calories you were about to ask for, pay for, and be expected to savor.

All that has changed over the last five years thanks to the analogy your mom taught you about a car and it’s gas tank:

Food is Fuel
Just like a car needs gas your body needs food.  It’s the energy that keeps you going.  An empty gas tank means a non-functioning car.  An overfilled gas tank leads to a non-functioning car.  In the same way not enough food keeps us from functioning and too much food can lead to a non-functioning self.  But even in the midst of all this none of us can deny that the car MUST have gas in its tanks.  Well, it the same with us. Food is absolutely necessary.  Here are some related truths:  

Just don’t let the dummy light turn on
You can be hungry, but not empty.  Cars run when there’s only a quarter of a tank and even on an eighth of a tank.  It’s when the tank is empty that the car can’t run.  Being hungry is not wrong.   In other words, it’s okay to run low but it’s not okay to run on empty!

When the pump turns off
The gas tank sets boundaries for how much gas can be put in the tank.   When it’s full the pump turns off.  In order to protect the car there are boundaries.  We need boundaries to protect our bodies.  When our bodies tell us we’re full, that’s not a feeling that should be ignored.  That’s our body telling us,
your gas tank is full, if you give me any more bad things could happen.  When we stop eating because we are full, we are not depriving our bodies we are protecting our bodies.  

Choose your fuel 
Not only do we need boundaries on how much we eat, but we often need boundaries on what we eat.  This is like avoiding diesel when filling up my gas tank.  When choose to eat healthy it’s easy for me to feel like I’m depriving myself of yummy food.  So, instead of telling myself,
I can’t have, or I can only have ____ amount, I set a boundary for the day.  Telling myself I can have two carbs a day allows me the freedom to choose when I’m going to have my carb and what I’m going to have as my carb.  In others words I’m not keeping myself from filling up my gas tank, I’m just telling myself which fuel I can choose.  

Check your gas gauge 
I don’t know about you, but I’m always checking my gas gauge and planning ahead to fill up my gas tank before I’m depleted.  This gives me the opportunity to get the best deal and not rush out the door five minutes early.  I mirror this preparation by making a meal plan and prepping as much as I can for lunch and dinner while I make breakfast.  I find that more often than not I make bad choices related to food when I’m super hungry and have no plan.  So thinking ahead saves me stress, time, and bad choices.  

Tuesday morning was proof that food was not your enemy because you walked into Panera ordered a cookie and coffee and enjoyed both thoroughly without a terrorizing thought.  You knew that food was fuel so when you were satisfied you were able to stop eating and sipping guilt-free.  It was a victorious moment worth savoring.  



PC: Apt. 34

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