Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Don't Feel Bad About What You Eat
Before I get too much farther into this blog, I need to give you all an important little nugget of knowledge about my way of thinking when it comes to my diet, and this blog.
This is a health food and fitness blog. Health food blogs tend to be a little frustrating to read, at least for me. Why? Because they like to tell you what you're doing wrong with your diet. They make you feel bad about what you've eaten for so long, and make you feel stupid for not realizing why it's been so detrimental toward goals of strength or weight loss. Ever felt like crap when you realized that your lunch had 300 more calories than you thought it did, and was crammed full of starchy carbs and trans fat? And you didn't even know about that stuff. You thought you were doing all right.
Listen, nutrition is a huge field of knowledge. To know everything isn't feasible. In fact if you're just getting into the fitness/health world, you probably don't know much at all. And you're going to make mistakes along the way. I did, and still am. Every day I learn something about a food I didn't know before. I just recently learned that the 100% whole wheat bread I was using had high fructose corn syrup in it. While it wasn't a huge deal, it kind of surprised me that I didn't realize it. I felt stupid. But I shouldn't have, and neither should you.
In order to see results in your diet, and feel good about yourself, you have to feel good about what you eat. I believe it's easier to feel good about healthier foods. You feel like you're doing your body a favor, and you are. After a good healthy dinner, don't you feel great? You should.
But does that mean you should feel bad about your guilty pleasures? Absolutely not! If you enjoy a cookie or two after lunch, savor them! So what if they're not the healthiest thing going. Sometimes food like that will help you to stay more focused on your strict diet in other parts of your day. In fact, this is a common tactic used by bodybuilders to keep some of the strictest diets on earth. They call them "cheat meals." Eat one meal of unhealthy, absolutely and utterly delicious food, and feel so satisfied that you can go on with your diet for another week or so before you feel like you need a treat. You may have a few more cheat meals than the super athletes, but hey, if you don't want to be one of those guys, who the heck cares.
Sure, maybe kicking a few of those guilty pleasures would help you achieve your fitness goals. In fact, I almost guarantee they would. But you know what? Keeping them might not hurt your chances of achieving them either. Can you bench 500lbs and still have a piece of chocolate cake for your birthday? Sure can. Can you run a sub 6:00 mile while still munching on Milanos every morning? Darn right! If you're happy with your guilty pleasures, and see no reason to kick them, then don't. And if suddenly your weight loss starts to taper off, you have a great place to start.
But what if you're right on track, and suddenly have a splurge night? You eat so much crap you can barely stand up. You feel awful, and are almost ready to give up your dieting.
DON'T DO IT. One day is diddly-squat in terms of your long term goals. Go back to your diet the next day. I can almost guarantee you'll see no fat gain (notice I didn't say weight gain, a lot of food will weigh, you guessed it, a lot, you'll probably retain water for a while), and giving up over one night is about the stupidest thing you could do. You might even do yourself a favor by accident, and spike your metabolism, so when you return to your normal diet you'll lose weight faster (don't use this as an excuse to binge though.) Enjoy your splurge, your dessert, and your after dessert snack. It happens to the best of us.
Whatever you do, do NOT try to cut back on calories the next day, this will result in a yo-yo effect of hunger, where your body will cry for food, and you'll be more likely to splurge again. Not to mention it will reek havoc on your metabolism.
In conclusion: The second you start becoming obsessive about your diet and feel bad about eating certain things is the second food takes control of your life.
There's a time and a place for very strict diets. But even those don't have to be depressing or controlling. Do it right, and you'll always feel good about what you're eating, and stay happy and full throughout your day.
Keep munching, and stay happy!