"You don't cure food addiction by removing all comfort foods, you do it by learning how to comfort yourself". "Food cannot be your friend or your enemy, you are the only one who can be either". "Whatever your problems are, the answer is not in the fridge". These all sound like amazing quotes that should inspire me to eat to live, not live to eat. I should want to eat to fuel my body. I should want to give my body what it needs to burn fat, build muscle, and feel terrific. Most of the time I do. I focus on getting adequate amounts of protein and fiber while reducing sugar and saturated fat content in my diet. Most of the time. But then, there is the emotional side to eating that defies all logic. Even though I know sweets and salty fatty foods will make me look and feel terrible, I eat them anyway because I grew up having a bad relationship with food. I eat junk because I'm sad, or happy, or mad, or depressed, or stressed, or anxious, or nervous, or tired, or bored. I gravitate toward it because sugar and saturated fat releases hormones in the brain that make eating junk food "feel good" and it is extremely addictive. I am always going to want to eat junk food, and I will always eventually give in to the urge to splurge. So my mindset is if i'm gonna do it "I gotta earn it!" I try and go hard all week eating "good food" and exercising so I can have that "cheat meal" pizza on Friday or whatever i'm really craving. They say, "don't reward yourself with food, you are not a dog". But you know what, my dogs love their treats, and so do I. If I had a tail I would wag it too to get some ice cream or a bacon double cheeseburger. So I plan for it, account for it in my calories, macros, and make it a part of my game plan on how to reach my fat loss goals and not gain it all back. I love all those "bad foods", and I don't try and pretend I'm never gonna eat them again.
Let's clear up some misconceptions about what I mean about "good food" and "junk food" and "cheat meals". By good food I mean meat, poultry, fish, rice, oats, potatoes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. That is actual real food, and anything that is not that is junk food. If it grows on a tree, or in a bush, or in the dirt, or has hooves, or has wings, or is alive it's food. Everything that is boxed, canned, processed, preserved, man made caloric creations are what I mean by junk food. Your diet should consist of all the good foods, according to your calorie goals, your macro and micro nutrient goals, and timing them right. When you are doing your diet and exercise regimen and being consistent and productive, you then can add "cheat meals" into your routine to fire up your metabolism and keep your body burning fat. That's not cheat "DAYS", cheat "weeks", cheat "months", and no you don't get cheat meals that you don't deserve! By that I mean if you don't workout hard and often and your diet sucks and you eat junk all the time, why would you deserve or purposely plan on eating more junk? We all have been there, where we eat because we treat food like it's therapy. We celebrate birthdays, parties, occasions, events, weddings, funerals, vacations, accomplishments, etc.... with lots and lots of calories, sugar and saturated fat. We treat food like it's entertainment, not nourishment. But, if you do eat protein and fiber every meal of the day especially with your active carbs and fats, you will stabilize your blood sugar and have less insulin spikes resulting in more energy and less fat, so yes you do HAVE TO EAT more chicken and fish and LESS sugar!
All calories do not equal the same outcome! FOR EXAMPLE: 1,500 calories of fat and sugar does not produce the same physiological, chemical, and hormonal effects as protein and fiber. By that I mean the body does not respond to the different macro nutrients in the same way, and they do not have the same micro nutrient profile. I won't get into multivitamin/mineral contents, insulin secretion, or the thermic effect of food in this blog, but you should definitely research glycemic load, glycemic index, and how protein uses more energy to burn as fuel. Real life comparison: If you eat 1,500 calories per day of Snicker bars and your burn rate is 2,000 calories per day, you will still hold body fat and water retention and be bloated while potentially still losing weight. But, if you eat 1,500 calories of appropriate amounts of protein, carbs, and fat you will lose roughly a pound a week and look better and better each week. Your total body weight is a reflection on calories you consume versus how many you burn, but your weight does not dictate what you look like. Your body fat % and lean muscle mass do. You can be 140 pounds and at that identical weight look skinny, fat, buff, or shredded. The total amount of food you eat determines what you weigh, what kinds of foods you are eating determine what you look like.
If you want to know how many calories you should be eating, how many proteins, fats, and carbs, and when you should indulge in cheat meals get a Fit Coach who will work with you on your diet and training program. It's different for everyone and every body responds differently, so that kind of detailed information can only come from 1-on-1 attention with a professional. But, a general rule of thumb is if you frequently eat ice cream, cookies, cakes, pies, chips, pasta, bread, muffins, bagels, sandwiches, candy, etc... you probably don't look or feel awesome. If you regularly eat high protein, high fiber, healthy fats, and controlled carb intake you probably look and feel great! It's really common sense when you think about it. If you eat a bunch of crap you look and feel like crap. If you eat a bunch of amazing healthy foods you look like you do! YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. It's very simple in principle, but extremely difficult in execution. I write this blog to help educate you as I myself struggle along with you to develop the right relationship with food.
FINAL THOUGHT: You ever see those people in magazines, or on television, or in the movies, or on the beach, and you think to yourself, "wow those guys and girls look amazing they must eat really clean and workout all the time." THEY DO!!!! If you want to look good and feel good you have to purposely eat good for your goals and train hard for them. Getting there is way harder than maintaining it. You need to undo decades of poor nutrition and little exercise? Gotta lose 10 or more pounds? It's going to take hard work, consistent effort, less junk and more good food. Once you undo all the bad things you have done to your body, it'll be much easier to keep the awesome body you earned because you will learn how you got there and appreciate what you have. Nobody that looks great says it's easy, they just tell you it's worth it. Dieting hard and training hard can definitely suck, but carrying a bunch of body fat and feeling tired, lethargic, and hating the way you look everyday in the mirror is way worse.
Just telling you the truth. It's not a warm, fuzzy blog today but it's what you need to hear if you are going to truly change your life! Love you guys, now lets get to work!