Poke around on the web, on FB pages, in magazines, or books for about more than two minutes trying to find info on how to eat healthy, then you will likely end up confused and overwhelmed.
There is a shit-ton of contradictory information. Much of what you read is very polarizing and is meant to incite fear. But what if I eat white food…am I doomed to gain weight overnight? You mean if I’m not eating this “superfood” I’ll get cancer? Are eggs good for you or not? Is eating more protein, specifically animal protein, good for me…or is it bad for me?
Add to the sensationalism, you also get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of meal plans, diets, and how to eat rules. Each source tells you something different and advocates that their way is THE way that will work for everyone.
Rather than feeling empowered by all the information, you find yourself simply wanting to throw in the towel…and then hide under it, too!
All this past month of February, I’ve been talking on my FB page and in my free FB group Project You about fuel and have been trying to debunk some long held misinformation that is out there. I introduced what I called “Food Truths.” These were basic statements about food/fuel that pertained to everyone and could help take away the pressure surrounding what to eat.
Here are my basic “Food Truths:”
1.Counting calories or portions is not an effective means for weight loss or changing your health
Counting calories is an antiquated notion…one that is still pervasive in the diet industry today. Calorie counting and portioning assumes our body needs the exact same amount of food each and every day. That simply isn’t true. What if you have a long training run? What if you’re doing physical labor like landscaping your yard? What if you’re traveling and sitting most of the day?
Calorie counting also doesn’t take into account the quality of your fuel. Your daily allotment of 1500 calories could include a meal replacement, a fast food burger and fries, and some 100 calorie snack packs OR an veggie egg scramble, big salad with bacon and avocado, and a big ole steak and taters. QUALITY of food makes more the difference than the calorie count.
Finally, calorie counting doesn’t teach you to dial into your hunger and satisfaction cues. We want to learn to listen to what our body needs…and when we pay attention our body knows what to do. Your body will tell you when it’s hungry and when it’s had enough–it just takes some skill and practice to understand your body.
When we calorie count/allot portions we get stuck in the “this is what I get to eat” mode…and we will eat exactly that whether we are hungry or already full.
2.”Earned and burned,” or calorie manipulation, is not a sustainable approach for eating and exercise
Like calorie counting, calorie manipulation doesn’t help us either. Calorie manipulation is using exercise as a means to earn more calories to eat or to use exercise as a means to burn off extra calories eaten.
This keeps us in reward/punishment mode with the food we consume. We reward extra exercise with extra food and we punish ourselves with extra exercise when we eat more food. Food isn’t a reward and we need to detach from viewing it as such. Learn to eat when hungry and stop when satisfied.
Exercise isn’t a calorie manipulation tool, nor is it really your BEST tool for losing weight. Without a doubt, there are ways to exercise that compliment and compound weight loss efforts, but what we eat is the biggest factor in changing our health and body weight.
3.There are no bad foods, only bad for YOU foods.
Foods labeled as “bad” for us change over time. In my years dieting and then reclaiming my health, these foods have been considered bad by some source at some point: eggs, dietary fat, white food (sugar, potatoes, rice, bread), red meat, gluten, dairy, butter, bacon. Interestingly, many of these same foods have come back into favor and are now considered healthy again.
I think the food industry and marketing has a large part to play in what gets considered “bad” or not. You cannot predict what will be considered “bad” so I suggest you not bother.
Instead, begin paying attention to what food does to YOU. Does eating dairy give you a gut ache? Does too much grain give you bad breath? Does too much sugar constipate you? Does eating eggs for breakfast fill you up and leave you satisfied? Does oatmeal for breakfast leave you with an energy crash late morning?
Learn the cause and effect of food on your body and you will soon discover what foods operate poorly in YOUR body.
4.Your body doesn’t automatically turn the food you eat into excess body fat after a certain time of day
No carbs after noon. No food after 6 pm. No fruit after 4 pm. I’ve heard so many variations on this, I can’t even remember them all. Doesn’t matter though because the gist is the same: it’s B.S.!
Our body doesn’t metabolize food differently based on time of day. Our body metabolizes food based on what is happening in our body that moment. If we have excess calories coming in, no matter the time of day, it will store them. If we have a fuel need, no matter the time of day, our body will get what it needs from the fuel coming in or from internal fuel stores.
A logical example: I didn’t get overweight because I ate fruit after 4 pm. I got overweight because I ate too much, ate poor quality food, and didn’t move my body!
Now, it could be that eating after a certain time of day isn’t good for YOUR body, but that is something different. Do you find that if you eat after 7pm, even if you’re hungry, that is messes with a good night’s sleep? Well then, in that case, you can make some adjustments to eat slightly more during the day, alleviate the evening hunger and eating, and then hopefully sleep better, too.
Eating after a certain type of day is body response specific and not the answer to weight loss.
5.There isn’t ONE thing to eat or do that will remedy your health and excess weight.
The latest superfoods are not the silver bullet answer to your nutrition. Chia seeds, avocado, or quinoa will not fix your weight and health woes.
In addition, all these little blurbs you see in magazines or on Dr. Oz aren’t the silver bullet answers either…a tablespoon daily of apple cider vinegar, daily lemon water, daily honey with cinnamon added. Each of these things *may* have proven health benefits, but they aren’t the “big movers” in affecting your health and weight.
You’ve got to pay attention to the big picture things first, like:
- Eat more protein
- Eat more veggies
- Drink more water
- Eat less junk
Then, after you are being healthier with the big items, then you can hone in on the details.
6.There isn’t ONE way to eat healthy
Every diet sold out there wants you to believe that it has THE answer for how to eat for every person. That diet or way of eating worked for THAT person and maybe some others, but I guarantee it won’t work for every person. If it did, there wouldn’t still be people struggling to eat healthy and lose weight.
Eating healthy is as unique as the person. You simply must devote time to learning yourself and your body. What works for one, will not work for all.
Rather than continuing to waste time and money on meal plans, programs, and quick fix diets, take the longer (yet tried and true) route of discovering how to eat in a way that works for you! You’ll feel better, develop confidence, and have the skills to adjust as your body and life changes.
I struggled for so long and want to help you quit the struggle! It’s not awful to eat healthy and move your body…and it’s not as complicated as the industry makes it seem. Want some help and guidance? Connect with me and learn how I roll…and get some great FREE content, tips, recipes, workouts, and discounts along the way. You can join the HITGF crew a couple of ways:
- The HITGF newsletter —> subscribe here.
- Via my FB group called Project You: Health for Body, Mind, and Life —> Join here .