A Sustainable Relationship with Food

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If you read my article last month about Healing my body after years of diet abuse you know I laid bare my broken and sick body and my deep desire to be healthy, to be mentally alert, to feel strong and in control and eventually get back in the gym enjoying lifting weights.  I really wanted to touch in with Healthy is Hot readers and give you an honest update of where my journey is at and if these changes are working for me.

What I am currently working on as a part of my healing process is a sustainable relationship with food.  To be active, to be healthy, you need food.  To think clearly, to perform in any way you need to fuel your body.  Most of the current and popular approaches to weight loss involve some sort of modification to what you eat under the commonly accepted principal that if you expend more energy in a day than you consume you will lose weight, so in order to lose weight you must achieve a calorie deficit.  Setting an insanely low calorie bar and staying there day after day is not sustainable. Hangry IS a thing and let’s be real, food, good food, is delicious and you want it.  In fact, you need it.  When you are living in diet mentality, all those delicious things are off limits.  You live by the calorie count / carb count / fat count and things like fresh bakery bread with butter, mushroom risotto with a glass of red wine or even just a couple of Timbits are totally off limits.  Many people will put those delicious delights off limits, crave them, cave in, binge and then enter a guilt cycle.  Those may be rather rich tasting examples, and not something you eat everyday, but it is true that when you live your life in diet mentality you spend so much time forcing yourself to eat plain low calorie foods and avoiding certain foods that really start to develop a strange relationship with food. 

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Until I recently joined Eat to Perform and started working with my coach I didn’t realize how skewed my view of food was.  I literally had not eaten rice or potatoes in months.  I could not even imagine eating a banana.  Carbs were my sworn enemy.   My coach started my program by setting some macro goals for me to achieve each day.  They change a little through the week so that I have High, Medium and Low days, even one Super day where Macros are adjusted to give more or less carbs, calories and fat and keep my body from getting too settled at a certain threshold.  And that weekly cycle goes in phases to achieve your goals whether its fat loss or performance based.  When I first started following the plan I felt like I couldn’t possibly eat that much food! I was so used to restricting my intake the idea of eating Bread and Rice in the same day was near scandalous.  Don’t misunderstand. There are fat loss cycles where we cut back. There are days when carbs are a bit lower and I’m opting for Scrambled eggs and spinach, no toast.   But not every day.  And I can look forward to my ‘Super Days’ where I can plan a little more carbs and fat in my day and work something I really love into my meal plan without feeling like I’m guilty of breaking a rule or worse, setting off a chain reaction, ‘Oh I ate that bad thing, broke my diet and now I might as well binge’ Nope. No more.  My coach really encourages me to set little goals, walk more, be kind to myself and follow the 1% rule. Just be 1% better today than you were yesterday.  Love yourself, as you are now. Love yourself enough to do this. 

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Eat to Perform is a such a supportive community.  There is regularly updated podcasts and thought provoking articles available to read to help you along the way.  Something that really stuck with me was written by Paul Nobles Jr. one of the founders of the program.  He wrote about somebody asking him how much money he spent on food each month and his reply was “As much as I can possibly afford” And every time I grocery shop now I think of that. I select the best quality proteins, the freshest ingredients, the most healthful items I can squeeze out of my budget.  And I enjoy every mouthful! I can plan for days where I meet up with friends at our local brewery for a few pints.  And I can feel good about incorporating a healthy amount of all food types into my meal planning.  I’m learning to cut the guilt and keep the carbs.  In the right balance its perfectly healthy.  And if you wondered, I am slowly seeing some changes.  I’m sleeping a little better and Yes, I have dropped a few pounds! I made it through the holidays without gaining and I responsibly enjoyed the food of the season without ever feeling deprived. I got focused once January hit and mid way through the month I’m happy to see I’m trending with steady loss. Sustainable loss. And I’m full.