Years ago I heard this quote, “eat to live, don’t live to eat”. After reading it over a few times, I quickly realized that I fell under the category of “LIVING TO EAT”. I LOVED food…who didn’t!?? The problem was, I didn’t love the healthy foods that I should be reaching for. At that point I had never once tracked a calorie, or even cared about what a calorie actually was. I would look forward to going to the grocery store just to come out with a chocolate bar or bag of chips that I would snack on later….if it even lasted that long. And if it didn’t last long I would probably make a stop for something else to make sure I had something on hand at home just in case a craving came up….even if there were already bags of cookies in the cupboard. It would be fair to say that I was addicted to foods, or maybe better yet…sugar. (One book that also brought me to that realization was “Suicide by sugar”) I think the scariest thing is never having understood or even questioned why my body always felt like crap. I didn’t even come to realize how good it is to feel good until I started to clean up my diet and cut out all the garbage I had been allowing myself to have regularly for so many years.
Growing up I had always been active and full of energy, but up until that point I don’t think I could honestly say that I was “healthy and active”. People would even comment about how “healthy” I was just because I wasn’t overweight and looked “fit”. It’s incredible how our physical appearance can fool us into thinking we’re healthy and yet we’re loading our body with garbage. It definitely makes me wonder what kind of condition I’d be in right now if I wasn’t as involved in sports and other physical activities for so many years. For the first time in my nutrition class in university, I was given an assignment to track my own nutrition for one week. We had to figure out how to calculate and balance our daily calories and macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates). This was a major eye opener and my first step toward wanting to clean up my diet. Around this time I had come across “The eat clean diet” by Tosca Reno which steered me in the right direction and taught me how to prep and store foods that would be ready for when I had cravings like the ones I used to have for sweets. As I continued making healthy changes in my diet, I realized how many healthy foods I had never even tried. Sweet potatoes, avocado, asparagus, almonds, salmon, pears, grapes, strawberries, apples …these are just a few staples that I started adding to my grocery list. And the new me realized the importance of having fresh fruits and nuts on hand for something healthy and easy to reach for when I’m cravings sweets. (Darn sugar addict in me!)
All that being said…where do you find yourself? Do you see the importance of real foods and do you make a connection with the importance of real foods for good health? Do you give into your cravings far too easily? If you find yourself taking the scenic route to work regularly because you know that you can make a quick stop at Timmies or Starbucks along the way, you might have lost control of what should be healthy daily routines. Of course you can enjoy some tasty not-so-healthy foods from time to time, but the key is having them as “treats” and not allowing them to become a staple in your diet. With all of the temptations that surround us, not many people can go a whole day without some form of refined food or sugar product.
Allow yourself to follow the 90/10 rule: eat clean 90% of the time, and allow yourself indulgences 10% of the time. Do your best to buy and prep foods at home that your body NEEDS and that you WANT to be eating! Eating can be as enjoyable as you want to make it. You know yourself best, so take time to choose foods that you will eat and enjoy. Don’t force yourself to buy the new super food that’s out there just because you’ve been told it will help burn your unwanted fat, but also don’t limit your options!