Oftentimes referred to as a 4 letter word, it is how we fuel our bodies for this grueling thing called life. I have much to say on this topic and will discuss it often. I know you’ve gotten this point by now but here it goes again…Diet makes up 80% of your body’s composition. It is über important.
Several years ago, I decided I wanted to be a fitness competitor. I started training like I was a guy (probably not the best idea on a 5’2 frame) but I did it. I lifted weights 6 days a week and went heavy as I could stand. I always heard that women could never bulk up like guys do so it was ok to go heavy and hard. Hmmm, well that’s not exactly true. Women can, indeed, bulk (muscle up). I certainly did. During this craze, I also saw a nutritionist. Well, he was more of a self-proclaimed one, but he was who you went to get competition ready.
So I trained in the gym like I was a guy, and I also ate like I was one too. I ate a lot of protein and drank a lot of protein shakes. Yuck! I ate a very bland diet! Mainly I ate grilled chicken topped with mustard. I ate egg whites, “salad” aka lettuce with fat-free dressing, topped with grilled chicken, drank protein shakes in between meals, drank diet soda, and used a lot of sugar substitute products to try to satisfy myself somehow. By the end of the week, I was so ready for my cheat meal! I could think of nothing else.
My cheat meal is what I lived for all week-long. I would stuff myself until I could eat no more and was flat-out miserable. I lived like this for years. Finally, I got older, wiser, and had two children.
Along the way, I realized this way of life was unsatisfying. All I really wanted was food that tasted good all week long. I didn’t want to live for a cheat meal. I didn’t want to spend hours at the gym. Truthfully, I no longer had the time or energy for any of it. I scrapped the guiltless grilled chicken, and opted for food that tasted good and made me fill satisfied. I no longer have any forbidden foods or make myself crazy in denial of any food group. If I want it, I eat it.
Through this awakening, I realized, I am what I eat. I can eat anything I want but certain foods make my body respond differently than others. A hamburger, full fat, cheese, white bun, makes me feel gross, lethargic, and overly full. I don’t like to feel that way. Therefore, if I eat a hamburger, I will opt for a 4 oz buffalo burger with cheese and half of a whole grain bun. It just tastes better to me that way.
Because I eat and drink what I want (I do pay attention to portion sizes), I never feel that I need to eat like it’s my last meal on this earth. I make healthy decisions, try new exciting recipes, and that is what my body now craves. I eliminated diet soda from my diet and also curbed my perpetual sugar cravings in the process. Now I eat for energy and to fuel my body. Diet soda, processed foods, and sugar, set me up for huge energy spikes and crashes. Not good. I need a constant stream of energy all day long.
Okay, this transformation is not an overnight fix. This is a journey. My advice is this..make 1 or 2 small changes in your diet (lifestyle) at first. Don’t commit to all of it all at once. Your body will rebel. Walk then run.
Eliminate or limit what you can handle. For example, skip the diet soda at lunch, drink water instead. In the afternoon, when your energy is crashing and you want sugar, eat some fruit. Eat as much fruit as you want until you are full or satisfied.
I could and will write a book devoted to diet. It is a multifaceted topic that is crucial to life, to living, to health, and to longevity. Let’s do this. It takes 30 days to create a new habit. Create 1 or 2 healthy new habits and once mastered, create 1 or 2 more. Soon it will no longer be a diet. It will be a lifestyle choice!
Cheers to your health!