Food for Thought & what was I Thinking?!

I mentioned a few posts back about my brainstorming for the next BIG THING I want to do. A lot of my plans usually revolve around new work outs, races, or funny physical obstacle challenges like the Urban Assault & Warrior Dash. But if you haven’t gotten this memo, it’s a good thing you are here today:  the biggest predictor to whether your journey to become more fit and healthy is successful? What you are eating.

Diet (and I don’t mean cutting calories or counting calories or whatever when i say this word – I literally mean the food you are putting in your mouth) plays a HUGE role in meeting your health goals. Of course, you can’t build muscles if you aren’t working out – but if your goal is to get some extra pounds off, you really should spend more time thinking about your diet in general. What types of food are you eating? How big are your portions? What variety of food are you eating?

I’ve known this fact for awhile now. It’s not new information for most of us, but if you are like me – sometimes I would rather work out than to change how I eat. Growing up on a “fast food diet” – it’s been a real challenge for me to improve my eating behaviors. At one point in my life – it was perfectly normal to eat out for dinner 3 or 4 times a week. My husband has been a huge help as I’ve tried to put on the STOP SUCKING AT EATING HEALTHY saddle over the last few years and we do a LOT of making our own meals and eating at home now.

Despite being better at eating at home – I’ve felt a nagging sensation for the last little while that I could do even better and maybe that would help me see the results I want. What if I spent half the energy on what I was eating that I did on the workouts I did? I admit that I’ve fallen victim to the low fat/low calorie/non fat food products that are on every aisle of the grocery store. I feel extreme guilty buying the full fat version of anything. FAT IS BAD! Right?

Eek.

Or maybe it isn’t, after all. What if fat is not the REAL enemy, after all? What I’m really starting to understand and internalize as it relates to my health goals is that a lot of that low fat, non fat, low calorie “food” really isn’t food in the first place. It’s like lab food. Processed with ingredients added. Ugh. What have I been doing all these years?

I think a lot of people who are my age probably would say the same thing…it’s how we’ve always eaten. How do we learn to eat? From the people we grow up with – for better or worse. But I’d say my parents didn’t eat the same stuff that we did growing up, right? Because it just wasn’t available. Today’s grocery stores are WAY different than those of yesteryear (I’ve always wanted to use that word in a sentence).

When I think about meals at my grandma’s house growing up – it was always green beans from the farm, gravy made from scratch, even biscuits made from scratch. She didn’t make desserts from a box – it was all made from ingredients right there in her kitchen. And maybe these ingredients weren’t always full of awesome for you nutrients – but at least they were REAL foods, right?

So a lot has changed in the last 50 years or so when it comes to what we eat. How we eat. Where we eat. And my mind is like…over-floweth (I know it’s not a REAL word) with information I’ve been reading about this change and what I can do about it. What should I do about it?

I’ve definitely decided my next challenge after my TurboFIRE summer push series is complete (4 weeks from now) – will be a Food related challenge. And I’m placing my bets that the challenge is going to be about eating LESS processed foods which includes moving away from those fake non fat/low fat products that I’ve been eating for my whole life. This is scary – which is why I’m spending the next 4 weeks researching this topic so I can be educated on the choices I make – not just for the challenge, but for the rest of my life. As I research, I’ll share it here with you too, in case you are interested!

Some of the resources I’ve been digging into lately for information and opinions on this topic include:

100 Days of Real Food – A family started out with a pledge to eat real food (nothing processed) for 100 days – and this is a blog with lots of resources and meals, recipes, etc
Nerd Fitness – Specifically some of his opinions/examples of Paleo Diet got me thinking about the way we eat
Michael Pollan – He has several books about the change in our diets over the past century, and promotes eating real food. I’m thinking of reading a few of his books, starting with: In Defense Of Food
Eating Rules: Funny enough I actually found his site before a friend told me about 100 Days of Real Food – turns out the guy who writes Eating Rules is actually on the blog team at 100 Days. Small world!
40 Day Clean Eating Challenge – This is a challenge that one of the blogs I follow is doing currently. Very cool!
Food, Inc – This is a documentary I plan to watch this week. It’s available on instant stream with Netflix if you subscribe!

But I’m still doing my research and looking for information that will help be an informed eater. I think I’ve nailed down the working out thing – I know how to incorporate that into my daily life, but I’ve just not spent enough time on the food part. I would REALLY love to be done with  calorie counting. Ultimately, it’s just not one of those things I want to do for the rest of my life. If i could find a balance in eating REAL food that is nutritious and healthy for me and keeping up my work outs – perhaps that is the right path for me. And it sounds like a more sane lifestyle than counting up calories every single day.

Sorry – I know this blog today has been a bit of a roller coaster, but I’m wondering if anyone else out there has experimented with this and what their ideas are – or have you read a book or follow a blog that might be helpful to me? Would love for you to share in the comments section below!

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7 Comments

Filed under food, goals, health, Life, motivation, Real Food, resources, what i'm eating, work out

7 responses to “Food for Thought & what was I Thinking?!

  1. Erin @ Happier, Healthier, More Fit Me

    Thanks for mentioning my blog! I’m glad you are enjoying it 🙂

  2. YAY! You can do it… it is crazy how much better you feel when you start eating a lot more whole foods!! =D

  3. Amanda

    Hey! About 8 years ago I stopped eating meat because I realized that the meat I was eating was never healthy (Queen of the Chicken Fingers). I noticed two things: first, meat-based items tend to come with unhealthy sides (fries, onion rings, biscuits) and second, other food started to have more flavor (probably because meat tend to be overwhelming to the palate). As I learned more, I found so many other reasons to avoid or limit meat consumption — check out Meet Your Meat (google it) for what happens in a slaughterhouse and Veggie Revolution (book and blog) for facts about nutrition and the environment. Best of luck — food habits are hard to change.

  4. erinpayton

    Ooh, girl–you are in for it! If you start thinking about “real” food, and then doing research on paleo diets, it’s like a freaking wormhole. I’ve spent days researching/reading this stuff.
    I’m currently in Day 3 of my 2nd attempt at the Whole30 (http://whole9life.com/2012/01/whole-30-v2012/)–no grains, sugars, alcohol, legumes, or dairy. I know, sounds crazy? The blog writers even wrote a book, which I’m almost done reading. They are convinced that a so much sickness, weight gain and general ill health is due to inflammation, which is due to the foods we eat. So the Whole30 aims to take this stuff out of your diet and see if you find a different in the way you feel and look NOT just from a superficial perspective. I made it 15 days before, and felt really great before sabotaging myself with some shitty food and cheap wine. So I’m determined not to do that, but it’s a challenge! The nerd fitness site is awesome, as is Robb Wolf’s site. The benefit of paleo is that you DON’T calorie count, you eat real food, you eat FAT in healthy ways, and you’re eating close to nature. I feel really good that way, and frankly it’s the only sustainable way for me not to gain weight (which I was doing, slowly but steadily, and couldn’t figure out a way to go in the other direction). Nerd Fitness says You Can’t Outrun Your Diet (or something like that). I may not go 100% paleo all the time after this Whole30 is finished (we’ll see how I feel!), but the changes I’ve already made, which is to basically cook paleo at home, have made me feel a lot better–lighter. It’s a lot easier to say “I can’t eat that!” because you’ve taken it out of your diet then to eat it, then eat some more, and then before you know it you’ve binged on a basket of chips and guacamole and you feel super yuck and guilty. I realized how much guilt we associate with food! You don’t feel guilty on paleo. Anyhoo–that’s my spiel. Research and experiment to your heart’s content while you’re figuring it out! And if you have more questions, ask! -E

    • thanks for this, erin! It’s really great to hear from others who are thinking about the same pathways to healthier living. Man – i can relate to you trying to make good decisions amidst trying to have a life – that seems to be my epic FAIL moment, too. I am thinking about trying to stick with non processed foods and I guess i’m also contemplating giving up wheat for my first 30 day experiment .And then see how i feel and make decisions on where i want to go from there. One of my friends recommended this book: http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/about-the-author/ and I just downloaded it on my kindle. Sounds interesting and I noticed one of the Success stories was about a guys wife who had a Bob as well.

      Glad to find another nerdfitness fan – I’m just starting to get into it!!

      • erinpayton

        I was just going to say something about Wheat Belly! I requested it from the library but haven’t read it yet. He’s basically on the paleo track, and i had married friends who said they read that book together and were so freaked out by it they gave wheat up and lost 20 pounds, on top of a host of other benefits. I believe in the inflammatory nature of a lot of the foods we eat, so this Whole30 is a way to test just how good I can feel by eliminating a lot of the crap! We’re starting a revolution, Dre! 😀

  5. Pingback: The Big 1-0-0! | thirtystory

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