If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard this statement: I have my workouts all figured out, I just really like food and I really like to eat, that’s my problem.
Well, then I would be a billionaire!
And the best part about this statement is that guess what, I also LOVE food. I like sweet foods, salty foods, rich foods, fresh foods, whole foods, and yes, even some processed foods too. That’s why food, recipes and even treats are a huge part of the writing and coaching I do.
After working with hundreds of women over the past decade, a commonly held belief I’ve noticed is that our love of food is a roadblock to our health and fitness goals, not an ally.
I know it seems ironic. Food can help us to feel better, or food can leave us feeling like crap. And I believe the key to feeling really great in our skin and realizing our health and fitness goals is peace with FOOD, and a healthy relationship with what we put in our mouths.
So today let’s discuss how our love of food is NOT a roadblock to our health and fitness. This is how we can continue to eat what we love with a few tweaks to favour our goals of better health, more energy and being able to see our rockin’ muscles (those are my goals and same with many of my coaching clients).
#1. We have the capacity to learn how to eat better, if we’re willing.
Believe it or not, eating is a skill. We have honed our eating habits from a number of sources. Our family, our friends, our working environment, our socio-economic status, where we live and what we believe will all affect the way we eat.
If we are willing to view eating as a skill that can be improved and changed, then we are golden. Like any skill it takes time, practice and patience to improve. We can’t expect that our eating habits will change overnight when we’ve been doing it a certain way for decades.
We also can’t expect that the skill of eating well, eating enough (not too much, not too little) and enjoying what we eat will be innate if we’ve been ignoring our built in fullness and hunger cues for years. Eating habits are learned and can be changed over time.
Just like my husband says when he is teaching me a new sport (there’s totally never any fighting involved…) try to be coachable, and you’ll be amazed at the world of tips and tricks to which you’ve opened your mind.
#2. We can see great results if we change our behaviours around food, rather than solely changing what we eat.
In the internet nutrition world there is a huge focus on changing what we eat. Certain types of food are demonized and others are held up on a pedestal. Of course if we eat bonbons and potato chips for the rest of our lives we aren’t going to feel well and our health will suffer. But, what is truly overlooked when it comes to nutrition is our behaviour around food.
Powerful food behaviour changes include:
– Eating with less distractions. Consuming food while driving, working, in front of the TV or on the phone causes us to bypass our built in fullness and satiety cues. It’s not always possible to eat without distractions (ummm, hello dinnertime with a baby and toddler) but even working on eating one meal while seated and relaxed is a great shift.
– Not using food as our primary numbing tool to deal with challenging emotions. This is a BIG topic for us in the Blast Fitness Coaching Club because it is so common (and has been a big part of my own food and health journey). Eating is comforting, and it is a coping strategy, but it’s not our only coping strategy. Instead, we practice powerful mindset tools to deal with normal but tough emotions. We work on finding additional sources of comfort like social connection, a hot bath, or cuddling up in our favourite pjs with a great book or show.
#3. We can eat delicious flavour combinations in healthier ways.
Yesterday in the Blast Fitness Coaching Club we discussed some ah-mazing flavour combinations that are tasty, satisfying and super easy to tweak in order to make our meals healthier.
Sacrificing taste in order to eat healthy is not a sustainable practice for most people. We’ll get sick and tired of bland and boring food and just go back to our old ways if we do not find ways to healthify our favourite dishes.
Here are some awesome flavour combos and how to tweak them to up the healthy factor:
– Smoked salmon, dill, capers, red onion. Traditionally eaten on a bagel with cream cheese, try it as a salad topper with mixed greens and a lemon vinaigrette. Or put it in an ancient grains wrap with a ton of chopped spinach.
– Tomato, basil, bocconcini, balsamic reduction. Add some torn rotisserie chicken for a protein-packed caprese salad or make it into a wholewheat pita pizza.
– Restaurant style fish tacos can be easily adapted to an uber healthy meal at home. Use butter lettuce as a wrap, pan fry your fish and add purple cabbage, avocado, pico de gallo, cilantro and feta.
I hope this helps to give you a few ideas to embrace your love of food while realizing your health and fitness goals. Enjoying food is not a roadblock to great health or rockin’ muscles. We just need a couple simple tweaks and our love of food can be an ally not a foe.
Until next time,