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Hey Cassey,
I’ve noticed that I am only able to work out and eat healthy when I am by myself. As soon as I spend a couple of days with my boyfriend or my family I return to bad habits from the past and it gets even harder to start again when I’m alone. How do I change that? I feel like especially with my bf, food has become part of our love language and we constantly treat each other to sweets or fast food. I worry that once we live together I will just stop my fitness journey altogether.
Food Is The Way To My Heart
heart shaped pepperoni pizza on white background

Hey Food Is The Way To My Heart,

I love this question!

It’s really easy to get into the habit of treating food like something that needs to be controlled or even like the enemy. But you know what? Food is also an EXPERIENCE. It’s used for celebration and for comfort. A lot of times, it’s even tied to specific memories we have. Keeping that in mind, try not to feel guilty or like you’re “failing” because you indulge a little when you’re with your loved ones. You’re not necessarily sabotaging your goals just because you choose to enjoy food with your family or boyfriend.

If you feel like it’s happening a little more often than you’d like, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What does your diet look like overall?
  • When you “return to bad habits,” can you physically tell a difference (like you feel more energetic, sleep better, etc.), or do you just feel guilty?

I just think it’s easy to focus on the things we’re doing “wrong,” and totally forget to acknowledge the things we’re doing well! Zooming out and looking at your diet overall might help you see that your diet IS healthy most of the time. And that’s what we want! If it’s not, then zooming out will also make it easier to see where you can make small changes.

But what small changes? Instead of avoiding social situations or completely turning down foods that make you happy, find ways to compromise your love language for food with your healthy goals. It could be as simple as still going out for pizza with your fam but ordering a big salad first.

Here are some other things you could try:

Cook together.

If you want to make food gifting a little more special or based on occasion, you can still fulfill your food as your love language with your boyfriend the rest of the time – maybe with cooking! Get in the kitchen together. Experiment and have fun! If you’re both foodies, then you’re bound to enjoy time in the kitchen. You can recreate simple versions of your favorite meals and treats, or maybe even come up with some new faves. I love doing this when I crave dessert because I can make a smaller portion that perfectly satisfies my craving!

Sometimes it could be more about acts of service.

Maybe part of your love language isn’t literally about the food. Maybe picking up some fast food or something sweet is more about the act. On a busy or stressful day, cooking might not sound very appealing. Your boyfriend or family showing up with food or saying “hey, wanna go out to eat?,” might be EXACTLY what you need to feel taken care of. If that could be the case, that could be a good convo to have with your boyfriend for the future.

Get your goals in check.

Basically, make sure your goals are sustainable! Sometimes, craving or obsessing over “bad” foods is just a sign of too much restriction. Don’t deprive yourself or restrict yourself too much. You want to find the perfect balance and plan that works for you that doesn’t leave you feeling like you’re missing out.

Of course, remember that communication is key.

Sam and I eat completely differently, and our goals are different. But he knows why my eating habits are important to me and he shows his support in little ways like ordering my favorite salad or always trying my healthy recipe experiments ;) Do I sometimes indulge in his favorite foods? OF COURSE. But he knows I feel better if I don’t do it all the time.

Hopefully, this gives you something to think about so you can stick to your goals without sacrificing food as your love language! It’s difficult to balance for sure, but you can do it!!!

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, I’m taking questions via text at 510-692-4556. Currently this only works for US and Canada. If you’re outside of those countries, you can leave a question below.

The Conversation (24)

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  • Juju says:

    I have a funny insecurity I want to share, Casey. My arms are getting bigger. Not fat but muscular. Annnnnnd it kind of wasn’t what I had in mind when I started training to get lean muscles. I admit I started eating a WHOLE LOT . So I guess that instead of gaining more body fat, I started gaining more muscles. But I want to go back to the way I was before I started eating like crazy. Should I continue doing my body weight strength workouts or do more of cardio now and less strength?

    • Juju says:

      Dear Cassey,

      have a funny insecurity I want to share, Cassey. My arms are getting bigger. Not fat but muscular. Annnnnnd it kind of wasn’t what I had in mind when I started training to get lean muscles. I admit I started eating a WHOLE LOT . So I guess that instead of gaining more body fat, I started gaining more muscles. But I want to go back to the way I was before I started eating like crazy. Should I continue doing my body weight strength workouts or do more of cardio now and less strength?

  • The Traveling Foodie says:

    Dear Cassey,
    Currently because of Corona, I can’t travel, but before, I used to travel a lot with my family. Whenever we went somewhere, I would eat everything. I love the breakfast buffets at hotels, trying new foods, and regardless of whether I was hungry or not, I would take a bite of everything. I’m afraid that once this whole things is over and I start traveling again, I won’t be able to control myself around food and every time I’m on vacation, I’ll just lose control and gain all the weight back. I know this seems like a small problem, and it’s very insignificant compared to people who have lost loved ones or their jobs, but I’m still worried about this! How can I eat healthy even when I’m traveling? Should I let myself experience the food on vacation, and just burn everything off when I get back home, or should I still try to eat healthy when traveling?
    Sincerely,
    The Traveling Foodie

  • Bionaze says:

    Absolutely! You should be taking the time to think about what food do you want to eat. This is a very small thing, but a lot of people avoid this.

  • BeatingmyED says:

    Hey Cassey, I’m currently recovering from anorexia and have gained a lot of weight by giving myself food freedom – I often binge ( but I enjoy it ) and have been eating intuitively: loads of nuts, granola bars & sugar in general. As much as I love these foods, I aim to be healthy and sometimes these foods make me feel tired and sluggish. I honestly don’t know how to approach a healthy lifestyle without restricting again – I automatically count calories I eat and burn and that sets me back into the anorexic mindset. I sometimes find myself exercising to compensate for something I’ve eaten and would really want to stop treating exercise as punishment, except I don’t know how. I would honestly really appreciate any advice whatsoever.❤️(Please get back to me)

  • Aarti says:

    Hey Casey, could you tell me why do we girls gain so much fat on our Bums and thighs. I’ve been following your workout touchwood it’s helping but obviously it will take time. So can you make a video on how consistent or any one workout that we can maintain to keep the weight intact with no more weight. Also if I workout but have to sit and work for hours so does that mean the weight will be gained irrespective of the workout. I am highly stressed please help.

  • Bel says:

    Hi! I really like this Dear Cassey section, is so relatable and the names are so funny :D in my case, it doesn’t happen with people around me but with special occasions like birthdays, or just hanging with friends. If I have a table full of food in front of me, it’s VERY hard to stick to my previous idea (before the event, I give myself a pep talk like ‘I’m gonna grab a plate and serve some stuff and that’s all I’ll eat’). I’m making some progress though, focusing more on my belly and see how it feels while eating, trying to stop before I feel completely full. Anyway, my goal is to make more adjustments because dairy and refined flour makes me bloated and farty :/ and most sweets have these ingredients, specially here in Argentina where lots of things have dulce de leche (don’t try it, it’s a one-way street haha)

  • eunice says:

    exactly this. i am recovering from an ed, and my friends know. sometimes theyre getting pizza, which im indifferent towards (kind of tired of pizza honestly, i find it overrated), and i want to say no especially when im not hungry but they’ll think of it as me being disordered. In reality i just don’t want the pizza! of course my hunger cues are not the same and my stomach has shrunk, but my tastes have also changed. i crave healthier food now, and satisfaction is a huge factor in eating, but i don’t feel satisfied from bread and cheese. i feel satisfied from legumes and veggies and rice and beans and fruit and ACTUAL food. of course i still love cheese, but pizza as a whole and other greasy takeout choices are overkill for me.

  • Emily says:

    This is really nice! I like the idea of stepping back and looking at what you eat as a whole. Xx

  • Amelia says:

    Think about what you would tell a friend or sister to do. You wouldn’t want them to continue doing something that was painful. And you certainly wouldn’t want them to feel guilty about giving themselves the break they need! Sometimes, that comparison is all I need to realize why I shouldn’t feel guilty! ♥️

  • Celeste says:

    Wow Casey. This is amazing advice!!! Thank you.

  • amy says:

    Hey Cassey,
    I am a high school student wanting to lose weight. However I do not have much time. Do you have any quick workouts that burn fat? Like 15minutes max. Also how can we ‘diet’ when we still live with our parents and eat the food they give us.

    • Maddie says:

      Cassey has a ton of fat-burning workouts under 15 minutes! Some of my favourites are Fat Burn Total Body Focus, FAT BURNING Cardio!, Silent Death Fat Melting Cardio, and 12 Minutes to Burn Fat.
      As for dieting while eating what your parents give you, I suggest eating smaller portions of “unhealthy” food and bigger portions of “healthy” food. I hope this helps!

    • eunice says:

      don’t tell yourself you do not have much time. weight loss is not something that should happen so quickly, as it will almost always result in you putting the weight back on [and maybe more] and drastic self-induced change will always have drastic effects on your health. try and eat more fruits and veggies, and take your time. AND HYDRATE. also try getting some steps in (they recommend 10,000. you can track this on a fitbit app) as a form of exercise if you prefer less heavy duty routines. Walking is a great way to stay in shape! Good luck and have fun. Also maybe communicate to your parents your desire to make healthier choices, or go grocery shopping with them more often so that you can also pick and choose. Look up easy healthy recipes you can prepare, e.t.c.

  • Michelle says:

    Dear Cassey,

    Since May, I’ve been following the calendars and exercising every day! I was really enjoying maintaining an exercise routine and feeling myself get physically stronger, but I started having some lower back pain recently. I ignored it for about 3 weeks because it was very faint and dull, but 2 weeks ago after my post-workout stretch I found that it suddenly hurt so much I could barely walk. I took this as a sign that my body was telling me I was overdoing it and that it needed a break, so I’ve been off for about 2 weeks now. It’s feeling a lot better now, but I still feel a slight discomfort in my lower left back. Thankfully, it’s nowhere near the pain I was feeling for the first few days.

    I want to get back into working out because I miss it, but I don’t want to jump into everything too soon just to re-injure it. But there’s also a part of me that feels guilty for not working out, and I feel like I’ve been eating unhealthier too as a result.

    How can I stop feeling guilty about giving my body the break that it’s telling me it needs? And how do I know when I can start exercising again? And finally, how can I motivate myself to stay on track with my healthier eating?

    Thank you so much,
    Looking for the Balance

    • Amelia says:

      Think about what you would tell a friend or sister to do. You wouldn’t want them to continue doing something that was painful. And you certainly wouldn’t want them to feel guilty about giving themselves the break they need! Sometimes, that comparison is all I need to realize why I shouldn’t feel guilty!♥️

  • Sharni.92 says:

    Dear Cassey,

    I’ve always found it hard to feel motivated to exercise, and a big reason is because of my low self-esteem. I know I’m not overweight, but I also know I’m not healthy, and I’ve never been comfortable with both my looks and my body. I was born with a cleft lip and palette, and got teased at school because of it, so my self-esteem has been low from a young age.

    I sometimes get motivated to work out and eat healthy, and it lasts for a little while before fizzling out again. I think this is because I’m doing it for other people, instead of for myself. I want to look good for others, but then after a while I ask myself “what’s the point?” and give up.

    I know that’s not a healthy way of going about things, but I just don’t know how I can feel motivated to want to do it for myself. I DO want to be healthy and happy – not just to lose weight, but to feel good about myself and my body, but how do I find the motivation to actually act on those feelings? I’m almost to the point in life where I feel like it’s impossible for me to be happy with myself, because every time I try to do something, I fail.

    I would love to get some advice, and hear from others how they found their inner motivation.

    Thank you,
    That Insecure Australian Girl

    • María Fernanda Araya says:

      Wow girl, please note you are not alone. Your struggle is soooo relatable. To be honest, the only way to truly get the motivation to sustain a healthy and active life for insecure dorks like us is to learn to value the small steps you take every day. Fitness goals are hard to achieve. They take time and effort and energy and requiere a huge amount of will strength, but you know what’s the best thing about them? such a cliche, but the journey itself. You can’t put yourself through something that is going to make you suffer of make you feel bad because you don’t want to do it at all. So, think about how working out and eating healthy makes you feel. I’ve become addicted to the dopamine my body releases when i work out to the point that i am not the same person if i don’t exercise. I JUST LOVE HOW I FEEL WHEN I DO IT AND THE SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT AFTER IT. Working out and eating healthy isn’t some torture you need to put yourself through, its supposed to make you feel good, never forget that. And that’s where you get the motivation from. Whats the point? Do not think of it as “its a waste of time until im seeing progress”. NO. YOU GO WORKOUT CAUSE IT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD. I´m working the beautiful body life gave me just for the sake of embracing what its capable of today, and we’ll see what it can do tomorrow. Find a workout you enjoy so you’ll crave it in the long run.Eat so that you feel happy, empowered and energized. If some days that’s a kale salad, then some days reward yourself with ice cream if your soul wants it. I hope I helped you a bit, NOW GO CONQUER THE WORLD QUEEN YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!
      Best of lucks,
      On-her-way-to confident Chilean Girl

    • Vivien says:

      Oh, that sounds sad! I’m sorry to hear that and I’d like to say the only true way to change our habits is through emotion. We habitually do things that make us feel good.
      Lucky for you, working out is such a thing as it instantly relieves stress, boosts the immune system and amps up your good mood.
      IF you REALLY want to introduce it as a habit into your life, here are two key elements for success:
      Firstly, do minor workouts, but stick to them. If you constantly skip the 2h gym sessions you planned, maybe it is just not for you. Maybe a 5 minute walk is what you can fit in. Done 5 times a week you suddenly walked for a rough hour and there is no way you won’t feel happy about it! Why not throw in a 4 minute arm workout? Also, there are plenty of blogilates quickies out there for you to try! And remember, you only have to do ONE per day and if you manage that, it will make you feel so proud! See what I die here? This creates positive emotion and you will soon WANT to do it!
      Secondly, attach your new workout plan to a habit that is already in your system.
      If you want to walk, why not use the 3 minutes of tooth brushing to have a quick stride around the house?
      Also, you could most likely fit in a quick 5 to ten minute walk on your commute from work.
      While the kettle boils up your water, how about doing some push ups, lunges and squats in the kitchen?
      If you have to walk your dog anyway: why not fit in those little bits of body weight training when half your walk is completed?
      Again: remember, you only have to do 5 minutes and try out to “stick” working out to something you do anyways and see where that gets you. After some testing you should find the perfect 5 minute time slot for yourself.

      Now check in with yourself after a week and see how your mini workouts make you feel. More energized? Proud to have done the full five days? Feel like an achiever and less stressed?
      I guarantee, whatever you feel, it will be something positive that will make you want to continue.
      And sooner than you know it, your 5 minute exercises will increase to ten minutes and maybe motivate you to even bring about small changes in other areas of your life.
      Isn’t that worth a trial? Best if luck with it! :D

  • Virginie Therrien says:

    When I started my «fit journey» in 2017, I was really strict about restaurants. Never wanted to eat out because I didn’t know what went into what was in my plate (I wasn’t counting calories I was juste keeping a strict eye on any transformed food and sugars, dairy and gluten) To still enjoy going out with friends, I would eat before going out, and order just a coffee or tea or something.. My kids would eat their full meal there and my friends too.. I just got to enjoy everyones company..

    At some point though I did end up feeling like I was missing out or putting a lot of pressure on myself because of the meal prepping.. So I would choose which restaurant would be my yolo meal, and realised that I would naturally make a healthier choice in the menu. Creating the habit is the hardest I think!

  • Neeta Pawar says:

    Hey Cassey. I am 29 years old female. I have a hypothyroid. Inspite of following healthy diet and working out and taking medicines properly, I am unable to loose weight. I have a pear body shape. My upper body is perfectly fine. But I have saddlebags/ cellulites on my back thighs and butts. Can you please help me with this? Thank you ❤️

  • The acts of service thing is super insightful! Thank-you for this :)

  • ptd21 says:

    Cassey, you’re the sweetest, kindest person, honestly. Hugs from Cyprus!

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