Sustainable eating habits - eating healthy(er)
Everywhere I go I hear people talking about what they are eating. What diet fad they’re following. How they are coping with wanting to live their “best life” while still trying to fit into their pants from 5 years ago. Is it just me, or is it slightly depressing when you have to go up a size in any clothing, especially pants?! Here’s the thing. Diet is an ugly word. Nobody WANTS to diet. The fact that you even have to resort to dieting is a sign that you’ve lost control, and the only hope you have of gaining it back is to restrict yourself of all things good and joyful and probably pay top dollar to do so. Eff that!
How about instead of “dieting”, you take a step back and get a 10,000-foot view of your eating habits and adjust those instead. You see, I think we get it backwards. Often times you’ll hear someone say “man, I need to work on my diet” when what they really should be saying is “I need to adjust my eating habits.” You see how one seems way less scary than the other? You have created eating habits over time and chances are, some might not be serving you well. For example, in the Christopher household, typically on Fridays we do not like to come home and cook or try to whip anything up for dinner. Quite frankly, I am just tired from the week and would rather go out and grab a bite somewhere. Totally normal thing to do right? In fact, I am sure some of you are even nodding your head going “yup, same”.
There is actually nothing inherently wrong with doing this. The problem is, we treat it like some kind of celebration where we just have to gorge on the endless amounts of chips and salsa and have 3 or 4 margaritas with it right?? Why do we do this? Once in a blue moon, sure, go for it. But why does eating out once (heck twice) a week have to be this glutenous activity where we almost feel kinda guilty afterwards? Like, did I need that 3rd basket of chips? Excuse my constant reference of Mexican cuisine, that’s just what we enjoy here in Texas ;-)
Let’s digress for a minute. You can see where I am gong with this, right? Am I saying “don’t go out to eat, its bad for you”, not at all. What I am saying is make better choices. Here are a few super easy, super effective calorie savers for all you weekend warriors who let your hair down on the weekends and keep the kitchen super clean by having your meals made elsewhere:
- Opt for no appetizer, or a smaller one. If its chips and salsa like I mentioned above, limit it to one basket for the table instead of 4.
- If you just HAVE to have a drink with dinner, limit it to one each. 1 beer or 1 margarita or (insert drink name here) can run you as high as 150-200 calories each. Calories that do absolutely nothing for you on a nutritional level. Plus, they are super expensive so opting for none would be a DOUBLE Save calories AND money.
- Share a meal. Fajitas for 1 split between two people can actually fill you up if you pile all the fixins onto a fluffy tortilla (or into a bowl of leafy greens). Again, you’re doubling the benefit here by saving calories and money.
- Skip dessert. Not saying you have to deprive yourself of the molten chocolate lava cake with ice cream on top ever single time, but how about saving that for special occasions yeah? Maybe as a milestone reward? Lose 10 lbs and go have a badass cheat meal?! Use it as a reward rather than the norm. Over time, I bet you won’t even care about leaving this one out.
It takes burning 3500 calories in order to lose 1 pound of fat. Doing what I’ve mentioned in these 4 easy steps can easily save you 600+ calories on a typical night out with your loved one or your friends. That is 1 hour less you have to spend trudging along the treadmill or blasting your body with HIIT workouts just to get your caloric balance back to par.
The mistake people make is that they try to do this so abruptly that it feels like some sort of Chinese torture method. Can the “cold turkey” approach work for completely revamping your eating habits? Maybe. But instead, try making subtle changes throughout your week. Start by simply eating smaller portions. If that works, stick with it. If you find yourself getting SUPER hungry as a result, like painfully hungry, try eating more satiating foods that digest a little slower and stick with you longer (complex carbohydrates, high quality fats and proteins are great for this). If small portions are just too hard to do, something else you can try is opting for healthier swaps. Try ground turkey instead of ground beef, lettuce wraps instead of tortillas, taco salad instead of actual tacos, plain Greek yogurt vs sour cream. There are SO many ways to make your everyday meals a little more healthy(er). A great follow on IG for "healthy swaps" and smart eating in general is @maxlugavere who also has a great book (so I have heard, have yet to read though) called Genius Foods.
The idea is that over time you develop good eating habits and make better choices when you have the option to make bad ones. Also, it helps to EMBRACE these changes. Don’t fight them so much. When people say “oh, you’re dieting? Lol” Say, “no, this is just what I like to eat”. I can't tell you how many times I have gone out to a burger joint with friends got a chicken salad or a turkey burger and tossed half of my bun and get made fun of because I am not eating what everyone else is. First, nobody is ACTUALLY making fun of me. It’s called being a guy and giving your other guy friends shit. If your friends actually do not support you trying to be healthier, get new friends. Second, WHO TF CARES?! Like really, are you that worried about what someone else thinks to the point that it influences how you eat around them? Think about that? Doesn’t that sound a little silly? Of course it does.
So, to wrap this up, I want you to remember an acronym which is CICO (calories in, calories out). The equation is so simple it hurts. If CI > CO = calorie surplus. If CI < CO = calorie deficit. You want to do your absolute best to maintain that calorie deficit, if weight loss is your goal. And forget maintenance. There is no such thing. You’re either gaining or losing. As long as what you are doing is aligned with your goals and it results in a healthier you, then DO THAT. This is a marathon folks, not a race. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to couple these methods with some aerobic exercise and resistance training, which we will talk about in another segment. But what we are aiming for are sustainable results. Lose the weight and KEEP it off. And realize that you have COMPLETE control over this. That’s right. No one is putting the food to your mouth and making you eat it. It’s all you. So, YOU have to start making the changes.
A friend and mentor of mine once said that if you take off all of your clothes, stand in front of the mirror, jump and down and if any part of you that doesn’t make or feed babies giggles, you got work to do ;-) He’s right. Have a great one folks and remember to email me with your thoughts, questions or comments! Andrew@elevate-supps.com