‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’ ~Lao Tzu
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Chris of Zen to Fitness.
The quote by Lao Tzu above rings true for nutrition as well.
It is a shame that so many people are obsessed with fad diets in order to quickly shed pounds and reach their desired weight. And yes extreme dieting of any form does work in the short terms but only for the weight to rebound back on and the body to regain its original weight or the weight it is comfortable at.
I see people fighting their bodies all too often dieting one week then bingeing on junk the next. This is fighting the bodies natural homeostasis in every sense, one week it is getting less than it would like and releasing stress hormones to cope and the next week the body is being overburdened with processed or overly sweet foods in order to compensate for the previous starvation again putting stress on the body as it tries to cope with the overflow of food and chemicals. Others chronically under eat.
Sadly this process takes its toll on your body and while it could handle it in your teens and younger years as we age the damage goes deeper and effects our metabolism leaving us on a gradual path to more and more weight gain.
Contrast this with the people you know who eat practically whatever they want and stay lean and healthy — what is their secret? It is quite simply that they have never fought their bodies, never made themselves feel deprived or starved, their metabolisms never got damaged and this allows for good levels of energy and a stable healthy body weight.
This is not something out of reach but rather something that we can all achieve by having a healthy relationship with food. Some readers may already have this and hopefully this article will help you stay that way! This is not to say we should eat anything we like as certain foods can damage your body and should be avoided when you can, but I do not preach a diet of deprivation rather a way to eat wholesome foods which your body has evolved to deal with.
The first step is to stop seeing food as something special or magical and this can be achieved by feeding yourself well on a consistent basis starting with 3 solid meals per day. How many people do you know who skip breakfast have a mid morning cappuccino, graze for lunch then eat fatty meats, fried foods and sugary desserts for dinner.
The truth is when we eat healthy, wholesome meals 3 times a day our bodies reach a level of nourishment they may have not seen in years, cravings disappear and food stops being so special it becomes something we enjoy and look forward to but not something to live for. You will naturally eat less at meal times, you will feel fuller quicker without any effort, that ferocious appetite will disappear and you will eat more mindfully. It is just a result of your body being well fed and nourished rather then having to force any portion control …
The next step is to add live foods to your diet, especially if you tend to eat mainly cooked or white foods. Rather than depriving yourself of the foods you like introduce more healthful foods alongside them. I am talking about making a big salad with your meals:
- Chopped Lettuce
- A nice dressing of sea salt, pepper, lemon and olive oil
Have this at the start of every meal you have a chance, you may not like it at first and it maybe an effort to get down but this will soon change. You will develop a taste for fresh raw foods and you will continue to nourish your body. Try and do this for at least one meal per day.
This is not about ramping up your “metabolism” by eating regularly but rather feeding your body adequately allowing health to fall into place. Once you start nourishing your body good things will start to happen. Your energy will increase, cravings for sugar and stimulants like coffee will disappear and your appetite will regulate. You will start to crave healthy and natural foods …
Eating Healthfully should always be a long term vision, never look for quick fixes when it comes to health – Consistency is key . Building a good relationship with food will leave you with more time and drive to do the things you love.