I didn't develop an appreciation for real food overnight and I also did not develop the ability to plan ahead and be creative in the kitchen overnight.
A visit to the farmers market in Znojmo, Czech Republic.
How about when your fitness/training routine didn't go as planned.
What about when you compare your body, life, fitness/performance to someone else.
How about the last time you critiqued your body composition or stepped on the scale.
Imagine if you didn't body bash or consider/start extreme styles of eating/exercising every time you felt "off". Or perhaps, when you feel as if someone else has it better, you instantly want to exercise, train or look like someone else.
Consider how many times you have thought about or considered eliminating foods - perhaps even the most nourishing and wholesome foods - the moment you felt frustrated with your body.
Consider how many times you rewarded yourself with food or told yourself you would just be better tomorrow.
Consider how many days are in the year, consider your own goals and consider your own health.
Do you really think that following a diet plan or an off-limit food list will improve your quality of life?
Since when did we combine these foods...
And all of a sudden have a style of eating in which you describe foods that you can't eat, instead of considering all the most wonderful nourishing, energy boosting delicious foods that you can and should eat.
Can your quest for "healthy eating" be enjoyed anytime, anywhere and with anyone?
The bottom line is that you haven't yet recognize how good you can feel with real food. Real food consumed in appropriate portions to fuel your lifestyle. Instead of getting out the pen and paper for a list of foods that you feel you shouldn't eat, just ask yourself how your past eating habits (and exercise routine) was helping you meet your goals. Prior to bashing your body, hating a number on the scale or feeling the need to compare yourself to someone else, work on a few small tweaks that may set yourself up for success rather than feeling the need to be extreme and quick with dietary/exercise changes.
With the holiday season approaching and your 2014 goals on the horizon, take a moment and consider how extreme you may be thinking/acting when it comes to developing a healthy and balanced diet.
If you are swearing off bread, dairy or any other "bad" food because they are making you feel bloated and unhealthy, I ask you this...
Tell me about the ingredients you used in your homemade bread recipe?
How are you eating dairy - plain yogurt with fruit as a snack or ice cream after a long stressful day of work?
In the past few months, how much of your diet includes foods that you have to unwrap or that include a long ingredient list?
How much of your diet comes from a garden instead of a factory?
Are you letting life get in the way of healthy eating or should you eat healthy for your life?
If you can't seem to make time for your health, are you willing to make time for illness/disease?
There's really not a lot more I can say to help you appreciate real food. There are many options out there and the great thing is that a healthy diet doesn't have to exclude real food options that are naturally wholesome.
I get it. Our society loves extreme. Tell yourself what not to eat and that is a lot easier to follow than trying to pre-cook whole grains, portion your proteins and healthy fats and eat a lot of fruits and veggies. In other words, being told what not to eat is much easier than being told what you can eat and then having to figure out how to prepare it all in the right portions for your body.
And why do off-limit food lists/fad diets work? Because without them, you have many quick-food options. Because no one likes to cook or wait for food when they are hungry, a bowl of cereal, ice cream, PB&J sandwich or frozen/fast food option is not restricted. But when an off-limit list is made (whether from a nutrition guru or a diet book/website) you are forced to come up with something that is not on your off limit food list and most of the time, it is real food.
It's not that certain foods are good or bad but instead, your lifestyle and thoughts on food have not set you up for success. It's not one food or food group but instead, how you see food and incorporate it in your life.
Arguments can be made, success stories can be told, bloggers can share their experiences to the world.
But as a clinical dietitian, endurance triathlete and lover of life, who never counts calories or uses a scale for validating the health of my body, I encourage you to stop the off-limit food lists, become a great meal planner, appreciate real food consider your own health and fitness goals as the driving forces in your own personalized diet.
Tis the season of inspiring others with how real food enhances your life.
Tri colored quinoa
Bed of mixed greens