Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the main course: good vs. evil, underdog vs. hero, David vs. Goliath.
You vs. Food
Has food beaten you down for months, years, or decades? Has it become your biggest enemy? Have you become immune to the effects it has on your body that you forget what it’s like to be “in control” and end up continuing to take punches or give up?
When you are struggling with getting your eating habits under control, the easiest thing to do is look for the quick fix. You want to see results NOW, right? Meal after meal you take a punch. Turning to processed food, fast food, sugary drinks or food in boxes, bags, and cans. Your friend is trying this new diet. You are determined to only buy “low fat,” “sugar free,” or “heart healthy” foods. Day after day we hear about a new trick or gimmick that is THE answer. What are we supposed to believe what with the food marketing, claims and promises on the infomercials, unused gym memberships, not to mention your feelings guilt you feel for eating out …again? If you can’t follow it to a T why bother doing anything at all?
I know first hand how difficult it is to change eating habits on your own when you’re being beat down by all of the mixed messages. Eating should be fun, stress free and sustainable for your long-term health, happiness and goals. You desire change and are willing to do anything for that change. Let’s keep it simple to get you back on track. Your eating should do 2 things for you.
- Your eating plan should give you your desired results
If your goal is to be fit and lean so you can run around with your kids, but you’re constantly lacking energy and feeling sick, your eating plan needs to change. If you’re trying to lose fat and are really struggling doing so, you need a new strategy that eventually gets you to your desired state. Cookie cutter diets and quick fix solutions work short term, but then what? Part of getting your desired results is determining what to change and while maintaining your health, physique and happiness for the rest of your life.
- Eating should make you happy
The common denominator of most diets is restriction. Diets deliver a plan to you that restrict a certain food or nutrient (carbs or fats), don’t eat after 5PM or a fancy new detox. Eventually you feel miserable. Feeling miserable is not a desired result (see #1) for anybody. As soon as your brain knows that something is “off limits” it automatically wants that thing 10X more. Even if you’re seeing results the deprivation has other effects such as anxiety about social gatherings, measuring your food portions, avoiding a specific ingredient or timing your meal just right- the enjoyment will eventually be sucked out of your food plan and it the likelihood of maintaining it will decrease.
Ok, great. Now what?
99% of people already know WHAT to eat and what not to eat. If shown a chart of “healthy” and “unhealthy” foods, there is a good chance you would score 100%. The confusion starts when we try to figure out how much to eat, when to eat and the type of food to eat throughout the day.
A real eating overhaul begins with figuring out what is off about your current eating plan and determining what helps you construct a lifelong practice of fun and healthy eating. So instead of throwing a diet at you, I’m going to give you some homework:
Pick 1 new habit to follow for the next 14 days. Pick 1 habit that you absolutely know you can do and stick to it. A few suggestions,
- Drink a BIG glass of water as soon as you get up. The majority of people are dehydrated, which makes it difficult for your body to function properly.
- Include a smoothie full of fruit and/or vegetables into your eating plan. This will help add vital nutrients and hydration that we are often missing from our eating plan.
- Add a fistful of vegetables to your meals. Is there such thing as too many veggies? No!
- Monitor your body after each meal. Make no changes aside from just noting your response to the foods you eat.
That’s it, pick one and go for it. After 14 days take inventory on your experience. Do you feel better? Worse? More energy? Less fatigue? Improved sleep?
Many of my clients have told me that this seems so simple. That they just want all the information immediately on the how much, when, and what to eat. That is understandable because we all want the quick results, but it is unrealistic. If you have trouble drinking a big glass of water in the morning for 14 days, how could I ever expect someone to follow a complicated meal plan? Let’s start small and generate success.
Over time, a little improvement stacked on top more improvement becomes a lot of improvement. Once we figure out what works and what doesn’t work, we can make adjustments accordingly and grow from there.
In the end, we shouldn’t be at war with our food. We should be in the same corner. It should help you conquer the bigger obstacles in your life and make you feel amazing now and in the long term, not beaten down, tired or sick. Let go of all the messages and gimmicks surrounding food and start figuring out what works for you now and in long term. The reward is worth the fight.
-Reid Peterson is the Founder of Primal Athlete – a company that dedicates itself to transforming people’s lives through adventure, food, and fitness. He is currently taking a limited number of clients for personal coaching. For more information, check out the coaching tab at www.primal-athlete.com