I love food. I don’t find this a complication on my journey to health and fitness. I find, however, that most people do. When I talk to people who exercise, but fail to address the nutrition side of the fitness equation I usually hear the same excuse. They all tell me they love food too much.
Loving food is not a bad thing. Food is not the enemy. You do not have to stop loving food to live a healthy and fit lifestyle. It is really the dynamic of your relationship with food that has to change.
First, you have to look at those foods that you really love and ask yourself do they love you back? If you really love French fries you need to ask yourself what are those French fries doing for you? They are giving you lots of sodium, fat and tons of calories with little nutrient value. Why do we love something that doesn’t love our body back?
Next, take this same food and realize that you can make it better. One of my favorite foods is sweet potato fries. You can find many variations on this recipe, but basically you cut up a sweet potato into sticks or wedges, drizzle with some olive oil and your favorite blend of spices. Personally I enjoy a Cajun spice with a little kick. Then bake. This is a quick, easy recipe that is full of nutrients without all the fat. I find that any fattening treat can be revised and retooled to become part of a healthy eating plan.
When I do indulge I pick quality over quantity. If I decide I just have to have some French fries, I would not go to some generic and bland fast food establishment. I go to a restaurant that has homemade hand cut waffle fries with just the right blend of spices. I use my calorie “budget” on something that is worth it. I would also probably share so I could have a little, but not enough to make me miserable for the rest of the night.
I am not saying you can never have your favorite French Fries again . I do not think it is realistic (or fun) to expect us to give up our favorite treats for life. After sometime on your journey however, you may not want them as much as you used to. I use the French fry example because they used to be one of my favorite foods. If I had a “cheat meal”, fries would most likely be included. The further along I got on this journey, a funny thing happened. I wanted them less and less. They made me feel bad after I ate them. They were too greasy going down. The last time I had French Fries was probably 6-8 months ago.
After we clear out some of the junk food we start to crave different things. Our bodies start to want something more than salt, fat and sugar. I know it sounds odd, but our tastes do change. Another personal example, I love hard boiled eggs. I crave them like someone else might crave Ben & Jerry’s. I also look forward to those sweet potato fries with a tasty veggie burger.
Your love of food should not impede your progress. You need food to stay strong and healthy. Loving the right foods and changing your relationship with food will make your fitness journey that much satisfying and successful.
Got a healthy but somewhat unconventional craving? Tell me all about it!