Improving My Body Image (+Caramelized Banana Oatmeal)

Losing weight for a healthier body and lifestyle is common medical advice. By age 18 I was nearly 200 lbs. My parents worried about my weight, but I felt pretty good about myself. I started exercising my freshman year of college with my best friend. I remember walking around in sweatpants and a sports bra, thinking I looked really good.

I’m not 100% sure what happened. By the time I got to my goal weight, it became exhausting to step on the scale. I weighed myself daily, panicking at the slightest gain- I’m talking 1-2 pounds. I would call Boyfriend in tears, terrified of gaining all of the weight back.

My biggest goals for myself this year are self-care and self-love. I’ve been working harder in the gym, strengthening my body and accepting the changes that come with building muscle. Today I am about ten pounds heavier. I’m not 100% sure since I haven’t weighed myself very consistently. My pants size hasn’t really changed. I’ve noticed changes in curves, but more than anything, I can lift more, I can run longer. I feel healthier and I’m not torturing myself for enjoying certain foods.

The diet mentality tends to label foods as “good” and “bad.” An Instagram account previously called #nutribollocks has been phenomenal in combating shame. I focus more on honoring my hunger and respecting my fullness. Granted, there is still a balance in what I’m eating.

On Sundays I get to sleep in a little before Boyfriend comes home and we go the gym. After the gym we may grocery shop. I’ll cook us a large breakfast to help us recover from the work-out. Some mornings Boyfriend prefers to sleep in, so I get a quiet morning to myself. This happened last Sunday, so I decided to try a warm oatmeal recipe for the cold morning. Oatmeal is a healthy breakfast choice with lots of fiber. Overnight oats are classic, but sometimes I like to cook old-fashioned stove top oats. Since I prefer sweet oatmeal, these caramelized bananas (with coconut oil instead of butter) offer sweetness without going overboard!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3 bananas, sliced
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • dash of vanilla
  • sea salt, chocolate chips, and other desired toppings

Instructions:

1) Heat 2 cups of milk in a pot until it boils. Add 1 cup oats and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit about another 5 minutes.


2) Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla, and let it bubble until foamy.

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3) Add bananas and simmer for a few minutes on each side until soft and plump.

4) Remove from heat. Stir half of bananas into oatmeal, and reserve the other half for topping

I chose not to stir in the bananas for myself, but I assume this makes a creamier texture. I did not pour the remaining syrup into my oatmeal either; I’m pretty sure it would be too sweet if I did.

Add some chocolate chips and it’s done!

Final Thoughts: This surprisingly did not take as long as I thought it would! It may not be a work day breakfast, but it was certainly quick. I’ve never cooked anything with coconut oil, so I was quite surprised that I didn’t get an underlying coconut flavor. I’m assuming the other flavorings masked the coconut (or perhaps I need new coconut oil). This was a sweet and warm, healthy start to my week.

Study Snacks: Chocolate PB Banana Bites

Sugar has always been my vice. For me, losing weight depended primarily on cutting back on chocolate, candy, and other sweets. Trying to quit sugar usually results in cravings for sweets. To combat the cravings, I started buying packages of frozen Dole chocolate dipped bananas. Each package contains 3 slices of frozen banana covered in dark chocolate.

Eventually, I realized it was a little silly that I was paying for chocolate dipped bananas that I could make myself. You may not require a recipe, but I figured I could at least share the directions from this recipe just in case. (There’s no shame. We’ve all been there.)

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium-ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1/4 cup peanut or nut butter (I used organic no-stir PB)
  • 10 oz dark chocolate – I used dark chocolate chips

 

Instructions:

1. Slice the bananas and arrange half of the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

I had to slice off some of the brown parts, but you should only need a butter knife to slice them.

 

2. Spread the peanut/nut butter on one half of the slices.

3. Top with the other half of banana slices and freeze for at least one hour.

 

4. Meanwhile, put the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Place in the microwave for 30 seconds. Then repeat in 15 second intervals until the chocolate is melted.

5. Remove bites from the freezer and dip them into melted chocolate. Work quickly so they don’t thaw and get mushy. Using two forks, dip a bite in chocolate and roll it so it’s covered in chocolate. Let the excess drip off before putting it back on the baking sheet.

6. Freeze at least 3 hours. Store in the freezer.

 

Final Thoughts: I’m not 100% that these are particularly healthy, but they are tasty! I would avoid snacking on too many at once, but 2 or 3 can really help with cravings. I turn to them instead of candy or ice cream in the office or at home.