(This blog was originally published on July 21, 2015 at LianPrice.com.)
...in an imperfect world. That’s not even proper English, but it got my point across.
There is no such thing. It’s impossible. If someone claims to achieve this 24/7/365, then this person’s quality of life is the first thing I would place under scrutiny.
THE DILEMMA: We battle nutritional challenges on a daily basis, battles our ancestors never had to fight.
– Billboards. Commercials. Smells.
– Oversized restaurant portions. Family gathering-style guilt trips.
– Manipulative taste-engineering. Intensified chemical reactions. Pleasurable food-induced highs, followed by exhaustive self-destructive lows.
– Irrational yet ever-convincing emotional attachments. “Comfort Foods.” Your stress level at work, which towers so high it unravels the very core of your being, leaving you defenseless against the lure of Starbucks Double Red-Eyes (AKA The Starbucks Black Eye,) the microwave, culinary convenience and late-night snacking.
THE SOLUTION: When it comes to being “Perfect” nutritionally, here is my #1 piece of advice.
Make it all about you.
What does this mean? Sounds pretty self-centered.
But it makes sense. When you are making this all-important decision: “What am I putting in my body next?” Do not base that decision on anything other than what works best for YOU.
You CAN be perfect. Perfect FOR YOU. You can avoid every modern-eating pitfall I have just listed, and you can reign victorious every day, if you follow these steps:
1) Know Your Strengths.
Make a list of the top 12-15 healthy (and I mean TRULY healthy, we are not talking orange juice and Wheat Thins here) foods that you thoroughly enjoy eating. These are items that you could eat almost every day and not get sick of.
This is now your personal list of Strong Foods. This is your ammo against all the other temptations out there. These are your go-to items that you will be on your grocery list every week.
This is your new home base. When you get too far off-track, whether it be during the holidays, after traveling, or simply following a fun and crazy weekend, you will now have this list to come back to. Every single time. These are foods you always enjoy, foods you won’t grow tired of, and ones you also trust to help you build and maintain a healthy and sound body and mind.
You see, it is NOT about sacrificing the crazy weekends. It is not about relinquishing the moments, rather it is about drinking them in, enjoying them with all you’ve got and then NOT feeling guilty afterwards. You MUST zig and zag a bit to get through this life, am I right?
2) Experimentation Is Optional, Automation Is Essential!
Studies show that the leanest people on the planet eat the same 5-7 foods every single day.
So you want to be lean too? Then stop fussing about food “boredom” and stop calling yourself a “foodie.”
Narrow your focus.
I’m sorry to be so brash here, but unless your full-time work involves making and/or selling food, get a new hobby. (Food industry professionals, I would create a different game plan for you. Email me and we’ll discuss.)
Find excitement and fulfillment in other parts of your life, and stop searching for the coolest new hipster recipe with the 27 mysterious ingredients that must be braised/soaked/simmered together for 110 minutes.
What I mean to say here, is that do you don’t have to constantly experiment to be healthy.
You don’t have to try daikon root if you already know deep down you’re going to hate it; if you can’t stand the taste of coconut, don’t sprinkle coconut flakes on everything because someone on your favorite food blog told you it was a good idea. Stop trying to “adjust” your palette to enjoy the taste of brussel sprouts if you don’t already.
From Guideline #1 you have your own list of Strong Foods now, so just automate those. Make them a non-negotiable part of your weekly eating habits.
Simply go buy them, then eat them. What will this do? This will:
– Keep you happy
– Keep temptation largely at bay (and when temptation does overtake you, most likely at a rate of approximately 1–3 times per week, again please see Guideline #1 for the remedy)
– Keep you healthy
– Keep you sane
You have now officially taken 97% of the mystery out of healthy eating. Boom.
3) Know Your Weaknesses.
The most important part of this guideline has to do with timing. Know what time(s) of day you are the weakest. Then plan and play around that.
A) If you KNOW, no matter what, you cannot fall asleep without feeling at least somewhat full, then create a larger gap between an afternoon snack and a later dinner, instead of having an afternoon snack and two dinners. This way your caloric/macro counts will be the same, just with different timing.
B) If you know you crave something sweet during that 2-3pm lull everyday, account for that. Plan to consume a substantial amount of your carbohydrate intake at that time of day. Once again, this will allow you to still keep your caloric/macro counts where you want them to be.
4) For Goodness Sakes, Stop Forcing It Already.
Stop forcing your body to do stuff. Don’t want to eat another dry 6 oz. chicken breast? Then don’t eat it. Stop and think first, because maybe your body is trying to tell you something.
Chronically working against your body day in and day out may produce desirable aesthetics in the short term, but they are never sustainable. In the long term, this leads to fatigue, burnout, weight gain, inflammation and other un-enjoyable things.
Working in harmony WITH your body leads to the most lasting, beautiful results.
5) Drink Tons Of Water.
Stop being a stubborn mule and hydrate.
No further elaboration on this one.
Doesn’t get much more simple than this Follow these guidelines and you will be well-equipped to escape the eating pitfalls of modern-day living.
I am really excited for you to create your automated grocery list and then see the pounds come off as you eat the healthy foods you actually enjoy each day. I am excited for you to no longer feel frustrated, confused or bored with healthy eating.
No more guesswork, no more expensive “health food” marketing ploys, no more games. Just you and your kitchen, every week, well-stocked and ready for battle.
Have a fantastic rest of your week everyone! Talk soon