Believe it or not, it’s quite easy to restrict yourself from certain things like food, alcohol and activities, then it is to balance them out. Instead of taking a bite of a certain food and yearning for more, you can rather just omit it from your home all together, right? The problem with restricting ourselves time and time again is that you’re setting yourself up for failure. Nine times out of ten, you’ll give up and go right back to eating all the “NO, NO” foods. “I hate thinking that I’m not allowed this or that, because it’s bad for me.” Yes, you know it is, but you want that treat and by depriving your body of something, it makes you only think of it more, therefore you drive yourself crazy thinking about it and end up eating it like the dream sequence in”National Lampoon’s European Vacation”.
See…eating two pieces of chocolate is harder than not having it. Unless, you’ve learned how to stop yourself from eating the whole bar. It’s ok if you ate the whole bar, but then you fall into the rabbit hole of shame and guilt and figure why not keep it going. Time to bake brownies! If this is you, maybe you should rethink about going on the trending FAD.
But, some LIFESTYLE diets can lead you towards a deeper understanding of food.
In my late 20’s I tried out the Paleo diet (no sugar, gluten or dairy), which was successful because it opened up my eyes to reading labels and what healthy food should be, kind of like what Whole30 does. Unlike Whole30, Paleo was not a reset, but a re-education on the importance of food; for me. It was my “aha” moment. A wake up call for me, but more importantly for my kids.
Paleo led me into the alternative side of nutrition, which opened the doors towards new ways of eating and how I cooked my food. My son, Kellen was just under a year old at the time and his eczema went away after omitting gluten from our diet. For that I’m thankful. I incorporated raw milk and cheese to our diet. I started listening to my body. After years of listening doctors and scientists talk about gut health and new studies in the field of nutrition, I came to the conclusion that moderation is key and no diet is the right diet for YOU. When I say “diet”, I’m talking about your overall lifestyle and food intake, not a restriction. More importantly, food is also fuel. If I ate pizza and drank wine every day, how the hell can I expect my ass to wake up and sweat for 50 minutes?
The key is to eat everything and moderate plenty, but it may take you years to figure out what your food triggers are. That’s what I am a fan of Whole30, because if done correctly, it will help you find those triggers. The one thing that doesn’t digest well for me are legumes (beans). I also lived off of beans, chicken wings and ramen in college, so that explains feeling somewhat sick most months. I noticed that if I had too much dairy, I didn’t feel so good after. If I had a lot of bread then I felt sluggish. If I eat it sparingly and in moderation, then I’m golden. If I would go through a bottle of wine, I’d wake up like a truck hit me. Instead of depriving myself, Instead I enjoy that piece of chocolate cake and couple glasses of wine. Sure, there are days when I over indulge. Feel like a brick the next day, but I don’t regret it. I don’t regret the over consumption of a Saturday night pizza night, because it’s not an everyday thing.
Don’t think too much about counting your calories and obsessing over how much you need to burn it off the next day. Moderation is key and goes hand in hand with your fitness routine. Take your rest days, like you take your pizza days.
One slice at a time.