Our society loves to focus on foods that we should eat but rarely do we address the lifestyle that could be affecting our food choices and habits.
Often do I hear people saying that they don't have time....time to strength train/stretch, time to cook, time to sleep.
But if you are sick - how can you work?But, if you are injured - how can you workout or race?
But if you are exhausted - how can you make smart choices, be productive and be consistent in life?
When you think about a hunger scale, it's evident where we should be staying with our body when it comes to identifying the biological hunger cues for eating as well as when to finish a meal. So when someone speaks about not eating x-y-z food because it is bad or regretting eating too much at once, it may be helpful to refer to this scale..... or the lifestyle.
I don't believe in bad foods. I think our society has it all wrong when they talk about how bloating, feeling lethargic, tired and unhealthy are contributed to certain foods. I think about how people eat and why and that is why when I work with an athlete or fitness enthusiast on their nutrition, I use a lifestyle log as I want to see how food does or doesn't enhance life. I want to see when, what and how you are eating something and any comments that may help me better understand an athletes eating "style" and choices.
So when I think about why people jump to fad diets, quick fixes and off-limit foods lists, I can easily see why that happens. It's most common that a person will address what not to eat when they are not feeling in good health or feeling good about their body. This saddens me because we have many ways to describe optimal health and it can't be told by just a number on a scale. Also, I'm very passionate about helping people develop a healthier relationship with food and the body and I would love to hear less body bashing and more body thanking.
So, let's look at why you or someone you know may feel frustrated when it comes to "healthy eating" - not because of good food/bad food but instead, how your lifestyle impacts your food choices.
When you are at a 0,1 or 2 - you will eat anything and anything that is in sight. You need something fast and that often means convenient food or fast food. Rarely is it broccoli and cucumbers but instead, to relieve your low blood sugar, you desire something sweet or high in sugar. It typically feels great going in but then the feelings of guilt come about and then that brings you to a place of regret.
Whether you get to 9 or 10 because you went into a meal starving or you just couldn't stop (because of the food tasting so good, emotional or stressful reasons, etc.), then that brings you to a place of need. The need to do something fast. Often, the outcome is restriction. Whatever you ate or something on your mind that you think you shouldn't be eating is removed and restricted and then starts the phase of eliminating foods in order for you to get yourself back into control. Often times, the lifestyle is not balanced and as a result, many heart healthy choices are eliminated and you find yourself in food/calorie deprivation (by choice). This cycle continues, on and off, for a while for many people.
Weeks turn into months and months turn into years. But the easiest thing for many is to keep with an off-food list instead of thinking about the lifestyle.
Set yourself up for success.
I encourage you to appreciate real food. But in order to do so, you have to have a plan. You can't find the time, you have to make the time. You have to think of it as an investment to your health and well-being. You have to set yourself up for success but you do not have to aim for perfection.
All I ask is that for the next 1.5 months, please do not jump to a quick fix. Your body does not need to cleanse, detox or fast and you do not have to live a diet of restriction, guilt or body bashing.
I know you can do this.
I am confident that you can keep veggies in your fridge and make your own hummus and chop your own nuts for a heart healthy snack.
I know that you can start your day with breakfast, think about the composition of your meals to leave you satisfied with nutrients and I know you can slow down to eat and not eat meals in your car.
Appreciate food from a garden and take time to prep your food so that it is convenient for you to serve yourself.