You are what you eat...
"Eating" is your classic 0 - to - 100 REAL QUICK situation. Let's break this down, we start with zero, the most basic question: "Why do we eat?" We need fuel. Our bodies, our brains and our muscles do not function without food- it's as simple as that. Logically the very next question is "Okay, then what should we eat?" And here is our 100 REAL QUICK. There are literally a million food options in a single grocery store and there is equally as much conflicting research about what to eat. So what is the answer here?!
In this email I can't tell you what you should eat and at exactly what time because everyone is different. Personally I eat almost completely vegan. I have a family history of dangerously high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes...you name it. For me, cutting animal based proteins out of my diet gave me the results I wanted in my cholesterol. For my boyfriend, being nearly vegan resulted in painful farts and not enough energy.
What I can do here, is give you some deeper understanding of the psychology behind eating (I wrote a thesis on it once back in the day...) and show you ways to assess what your diet is doing for you.
"Diets" are NOT the answer.
Diet (noun): a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.
In an ideal world, diets sound great. Eat this, don't eat that, see results! But we all know that's not how diets ever work. Why? When we restrict ourselves or set unrealistic goals, we are setting ourselves up for failure. Everyone's self control has a limit, and that's not a sign of weakness, that's just being straight up human. Many times I hear clients telling me they are "cutting carbs completely" or "not eating any sugar for 3 weeks", and yet we are hard wired to be attracted to sweet and tasty foods. That's how humans used to survive when we had to hunt and gather for our food. Food was scarce so our bodies craved the types of sweet/sugary calories that would hold us over between large protein brought in from somewhat rare successful hunts.
In other words, trying to restrict yourself from eating something that your body is hard-wired to desire is a perfect storm for failure. The sad part is that when we fail at a diet, we take it personally- "I wasn't strong enough to resist temptation" or "I just don't have the willpower". Then the gloves are off, and if you're anything like me I go on to smash as much sugar into my mouth as possible. That mindset is f***ed.
"Fine so restricting certain foods obviously isn't the answer, but I'm not going to see results if I just eat all of the unhealthy $hit my heart desires..."
Can't argue that, because it's also true. No, diets don't work but the other extreme of eating whatever your heart desires is equally as unhealthy. The real answer is a "lifestyle change". First, you need to really decide why you are trying to change how you eat. Are you trying to lose weight? Are you trying to fit into a dress you ordered for a wedding next month? Whatever the reason, at the most basic it should always be for your health and wellbeing. (Aesthetic changes to your body will come as a byproduct of healthy eating habits.)
Lifestyle changes include resolutions like "I want to eat more vegetables weekly because they are a great source of fiber and micronutrients", "I will drink more water", "I will allow myself to eat deserts here and there so that I don't end up binge eating later".
The above examples are reasonable goals that can easily be implemented! First, decide to commit to your health. It is literally never too late to start, and it is definitely never too late to decide to treat your body right. You deserve to be healthy and feel alive, energetic, and strong! You already work hard every time you come to MVMNT, don't stand in your own way. The healthier you eat, the better you will feel on the bike, the more efficient your workouts will be and the more permanent your results.
Let's do this.
If you've made it this far, I am assuming you're pretty motivated to get started. So what's the first step?
You need to be honest with yourself and figure out what your diet really looks like. How? Start a journal! For just one week, make a deal with yourself to write down every single thing that goes into your mouth. EVERY TIME you drink water, eat breakfast lunch or dinner, eat dessert, whatever it is just write it down. This doesn't require that you change anything, in fact don't change anything just yet. This is an assessment tool for you to reflect on what you normally eat in a week. After a week, looking back and identifying places where you struggle will help you to more effectively intervene. Do you get particularly hungry in the afternoon and reach for the nearest bag of chips? Do you skip meals and end up binging at the end of the day?
2. Mindset shift
Start to view your food as energy instead of a luxury. Food is chemical energy that our body does a good job of transforming into mechanical energy. Or in other words, food helps us move our bodies. Now, I'm not saying that you need to eat bland and un-tasty foods; actually I'm saying quite the opposite! Start a Pinterest and make a goal to pin 3 new meals a week and then actually cook them! (I have a board labeled "veggie foodie" with plenty of fabulous recipes if you're overwhelmed by the hoards of options on Pinterest, just search for "Jillian Bean".)
3. Change one thing at a time
The key word here is "lifestyle". It took you a long time to build the lifestyle you live now, you cannot expect to create a new lifestyle over night. In fact, the faster you change, the faster it could all fall apart. Look back through your journal and your goals and attack one thing at a time. Maybe this week you start by limiting deserts to 2 times a week, or commit to cooking 3 nights a week instead of eating carry-out. It's the little changes that eventually add up to a well rounded, healthy lifestyle!
Looking for a little more guidance?
MVMNT now offers nutritional consultations!
If you want a little more education or an unbiased eye into your diet, email us for details or to set up an appointment with a professional.
- JillBean.theMVMNT@gmail.com -