Monday, January 18, 2010
Katie on eating (again)
If there is one thing in this world that I'm really good at, it's eating. I love to do it. Fruits, veggies, steak, chicken, ice cream, brownies, bacon... mmm bacon... I love bacon, cream sauces, bread, cereal, pasta, tortillas smothered in cheese. MMM.... I love it all. Now granted, there are some things I don't eat, which most people find really odd. Like seafood. Don't eat it. That includes fish. I've tried to find things that I like, but just haven't been able to for whatever reason. I think I also suffer from some childhood memories of almost dying a few times from choking on haddock bones, but I'm seriously digressing. You're shocked, I know.
Eating. It's an essential part of life, necessary for us to survive, but it's one of the most talked about, and debated, issues these days. Being that it is the new year, many people make resolutions. Resolutions that they do genuinely want to stick to. Resolutions that will help them to change their lives. But you know that the reality of the matter is that 90% of those people who make those resolutions will fail within the first month. Why?
A very wise pig once said, and yes I said pig, "Never eat more than you can lift." Now, depending on who you ask, they may argue with that. Dr. Sears may say that so long as you eat it in a balanced 40-30-30, go ahead and eat it. Mark Sisson might say if you can't lift it because you shot a wooly mammoth, eat until you're full and then turn the rest of it into jerky. Now, this is interesting. One quote, and two very different opinions. But who do you listen to? Who's right?
The bottom line is that they BOTH are. Look, there is not one magic pill for eating. There simply isn't. People are as unique as fingerprints. We all have our own schedules, our own demands on our body, and our own dna. We've learned that different athletes need different exercise programs to keep their bodies in peak condition, why would we assume any differently about their eating? The tweaks may be minimal, or they may be drastic, but the point is that their needs are different. So a lifestyle that works for one, may not work for another.
So basically, you need to choose. Try a few weeks of both. Do you prefer to measure and weigh your food, do you prefer organic foods and no dairy while not measuring food? Or do you prefer to combine the two? See what works for YOU. But remember, this isn't a diet. It's not something you should drop in 4 weeks when you've lost weight and go back to your old ways. This needs to be a lifestyle change. You've spent years forming bad habits and unhealthy relationships with food. You need to give yourself time to lose the weight AND change your relationship with food. It may be that the Zone (Dr. Sears), Primal (Mark Sisson) or Paleo may not work for you. Find something else, but keep this in mind.
Regardless of the two VERY different opinions regarding the quote from Miss Piggy, the bottom line is that all of those lifestyles agree on one thing. TO CONTROL YOUR HEALTH YOU MUST CONTROL YOUR INSULIN. What does that mean? It means control your carb intake. Sure, there are people who will say that you can lose weight simply by watching your portion sizes and cutting back on sweets. For the short term, they may be right. But in the long run, snacking on a bag of wheat thins or pretzels or triscuits isn't doing you any favors. You're still intaking far too many carbs and it will prevent you from achieving your ultimate goals of weight loss and increased health.
Understand that to make a lifestyle change you need to adjust how you eat and how you look at food. Doing this takes time and is not easy. Like me, you may dabble with many lifestyles and enjoy them all. It may depend on your schedule which lifestyle you follow. I love Primal eating in the summer when I have the time to sit and think about how I can make really great food using organic ingredients, little dairy, and different seasonings. I love it! But during the three job run, I totally fell off of any eating plan and I'm miserable. So, I'm heading back into the Zone. I think weighing and measuring is a pain, but it will help to kick me back into thinking about what I'm eating, how much I can have, and how to keep it in a balance.
I know at this time of year, there are many groups etc to join so that you can do a team challenge to get you healthy. I'm all in favor of that if that sort of thing works for you. Go for it! But keep this in mind. If you've NEVER been Zone, or if you've never been Paleo/Primal, this is going to be very hard for your body to adjust to (If you have been Paleo/Primal/Zone but are looking for a tune up, you already know what to expect but keep it in mind). With the amount of sugar/carbs that we consume as a society, we have basically turned sugar into a drug. Going to a completely clean style of living like Zone or Paleo is like sending your body into sugar detox. While this may be good for your body, your body has been conditioned to get X number of carbs during the day, and now, goig without will be hard. You will crave things like bread or cookies, or soda or your morning coffee. You may slip a bit, but just remember that you can always get back on with the next meal. Cut yourself some slack, but try your best not to give in. Liken this to going cold turkey to quit smoking because they're really actually quite similar. We conditioned our bodies to expect certain things, and when it doesn't get them, it's not happy and it wants to know why. If the first week you're only 50% perfect, aim for 60% next week and so on. It will get easier, but remember that it's a process. Also, to try to help yourself, be prepared. Find substitutes. If you're a person who craves sweets, try keeping apple slices handy or strawberries. Both are great for you, but carry some sweetness with them. Or, if you like sweet, try sunflower butter. Put it on an apple as a Zone snack, or put it on celery for a low carb option. You can then have another carb as a block for your snack, but you still get the sweet from the sunflower butter.
See what I mean? It's a process. Not only do you need to change how you eat, but how you shop/prepare your food. Prepare as best you can and learn from your mistakes. And above all else, don't be afraid to reach out. There are lots of people who have recipes, tricks, and general words of advice/wisdom. They can be incredibly helpful. Here's to getting healthy in 2010!