I see and talk to a lot of people struggling to stay on course with their weight or with weight-loss. No matter what your target or weight, losing the right weight and staying at your goal comes down to understanding what you eat and how it works on your body. If you’re constantly bingeing and ruining your efforts, you’re not identifying with the food. You need to track and learn what you’re eating till you get that understanding. That’s why i suggest to people who are not good with knowing their food to use a calorie counter. This helps you to analyze your food and how you eat it. If you do this for some time, it becomes second nature. You will have it for the rest of your life. You will soon know what is good or bad and what food contains which calories without thinking too much. You will also become very aware of which foods work for your body to feel the best you can. This tracking and learning will allow you to shop faster and make better decisions on your choices. Even if you’re a cook, food lover or a chef, you need to know your food or you will never be the shape you desire.
Outside all the speculation on diets and rules, I have one main over-arching rule with food so i can judge what i buy and still enjoy it and my life. If it’s made by us, it’s probably no good. The plainer, less processed and simpler form a food takes, the better it is for you. This doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a few things we make either, we just need to limit it.
Just because you might be into fitness or the gym, doesn’t mean you know your food. I know plenty of people who are fitness freaks and follow all sorts of routines. They fluctuate a lot and never reach the level they really want. They eat massive amounts of processed foods and regularly use bars, packets, powders and even drugs. The body can manage this for a while, but in the end, your organs will revolt.
For me food is easy because of my knowledge of it. I thank my mum for this. I am also comfortable with where i normally sit because i am realistic about this in relation to the lifestyle i like to lead. I thank my dad for this. I can’t have a six pack and dine out a lot while drinking a few wines, it isn’t going to happen. However, if i want a lean, mean body like i am trying to achieve within this trial diet program i am on presently, it’s a lot easier for me knowing my foods and how to use them than guessing! Having this knowledge means my life while doing this program isn’t some big difficulty. It’s actually enjoyable because i am armed. I don’t feel deprived and i don’t do some crazy off-the-rails dessert or alcohol binge every week and then beat myself up over it. Oh i over indulge, but my horse is right there waiting and i am on him straight after. No arguments, no excuses and no regrets.
We used to hunt down our food and forage for nuts and berries. It must have taken us a lot of time. Now we stand in an aisle for it. We used to walk miles for food. Now we hop in a car and are able to find as much as we want in minutes. If you want to be a product of good eating, you need to respect food and work for it. This means learning about it, making efforts in cooking it and sometimes maybe even growing it.
I simulate my hunting for food. I park miles from my regular cafe and walk to it fast on my walk days … i mean real fast. I pass people who jog and they are wondering what on earth is wrong with me. Well it’s simple, i am chasing my cafe food! When i am at a new cafe, i forage through the menu and or work out how i can get what i need rather than succumb to whatever takes my fancy. But when i do it, i make sure i am giving myself a little of the things i enjoy too. A reasonably strict salmon omelette, no cheese and a piece of spelt toast. You might find it boring… but not when its accompanied with a really good coffee. Or even just salmon with poached eggs on GF toast. If the menu doesn’t work for you, ask. If you get into a habit of ordering something the local place can do without too much trouble, they are likely to cater to you happily on a regular basis. This is common practice for me and the places i go – they know my diet well. In fact to the point that if i change something, they look at me in horror. Don’t accept that you have to eat what these places produce exactly. Most of the time they cater to the masses. My meals are thoughtful and the places i visit manage to produce this without much trouble when i ask. The result? Even when i dine out, i eat better than 95% of people. A couple of things that allow me to dine out more than most and not blow out in weight? I avoid bread, potatoes, pasta and i seldom have dessert. These are good rules.
When i am at home, i make a lot of effort in cooking. I spend equally as much effort when i shop for the right food. I always think of my meals in terms of meat first and then accompaniments. Don’t get me wrong, i don’t spend hours in the store or cooking, because i am fast at all of this now. But i prepare and think ahead… something we had to do many years ago if we were hunting and then having to get our food back to the village. I also cook with love. I don’t just cook up a piece of something cause i need to scoff it. That isn’t enjoyable or respectful to food. Peckish? Eat fruit moderately or snack on meats. When i cook i think about the food… even if it’s a hotdog. Ask those i cook for, they will tell you, i look the best version from my abilities. My hotdogs rock!
If you’re a person who can’t be bothered for one reason or another doing any of these things, be prepared for a rocky lifestyle with many ups and downs. Near the end, you might want to also prepare yourself for all sorts of organ failures too. I am SOOO convinced, we are what we eat. I believe it so much, that i believe the right foods hold the answers to 99% of disease. Don’t say to yourself, cooking is not my thing because i just love eating it. Or, i am not passionate about food, i just eat it when i need it. That’s bullshit! That’s lazy. That’s like you living in society (oh wait, you do!) and saying you can’t be bothered with obeying the law because you’re not passionate about it like some others… or something equally as stupid. It is sheer laziness if you can’t learn about food, passionate or not. Kids have to learn life rules to later engage in activities as adults. If they don’t, they probably end up having issues and get locked up sooner or later. Same with your body, if you don’t pay attention, you will soon be in trouble with your own body and it will lock you out of enjoying life!
Can we abuse our bodies every so often? Yes i think so. I mean, we were made for some ups and downs. The body has a remarkable ability to regenerate even when we are near death from certain things or events. But not 20-30 years of constant neglect. Some things can’t come back from that. I mean, do you know someone around you that drives their car and never checks the oil, water or air? You can do this for a while with your car, but eventually you will be on the side of the road broken down with your arms in the air wondering “why me!” Then someone tells you your engine is dry and the block needs replacing. It’s a very, very tough lesson on the pocket and pride. Luckily with cars, we can start again. With a human body we are not so lucky most of the time.
To me education on food needs to start at primary school right through to the point of when we decide to major in subjects for tertiary studies. Kids should know the latest findings on food and how to respect it very early on. Love cooking or not, we should all be very capable cooks and armed with the right tools. Just like getting our car license. We have to all go through this and we all know the importance of obeying the rules on the road because the consequences are clear and far from forgiving if we don’t. Some passionate people go on to be race car drivers and a lot others go on to enjoy Motorsport in one way or another because they too find it enjoyable. Lots do nothing with it. Whatever the case, we all know how to drive well. Our bodies should be treated with the same seriousness and respect. We don’t do this as a society and this amazes me. You don’t have to be on a Paleo Diet or do something drastic or crazy. And you don’t have to cook gourmet meals. Stop complaining about your bodily problems, blaming genetics and a slow metabolism – outside the qualified few, this is pure unaccountability. Make some changes today. Take control and be respectful to food. When you start to do this well, you won’t eat for eating sake. It will become a part of your cultural right as a human to live well – the way it should have always been for you. The time you spend when this happens will be much higher quality. Not only with your food and eating it, but with thankfulness for your friends who might enjoy it with you and for the gift of life in general.
When it comes to food, think, learn then act. You will thank yourself for it.