Are calories, macros, and food content really a BAD thing to obsess over? Sure anything taken into an extreme direction can prove to have negative impacts on our lives, but doesn’t everything we do successfully have to start with first understanding that thing?
Recently there has been a lot of buzz surrounding food obsession and why we shouldn’t obsess while we are on the track to get in shape, shed pounds, and generally lean out. Instead we should ease ourselves into understanding what our bodies want and like, and learn to use “intuitive eating skills” to control our cravings and hunger.
I am calling bullshit on the whole thing. Do I disagree that eating should be, at some point, intuitive? No! In fact, hell no, I agree completely that, that is the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to be able to step away from counting every calorie, every protein, fat, and carb, and I think over time this is completely possible and most definitely the best way to sustain a healthy, fit lifestyle.
So what am I saying then?
I am saying that to learn to be more relaxed about the food you put in your body and not have to worry about constantly wanting to splurge or feel like your starving all the time so you can fit into your teeny weeny polka dot bikini, that you must take some responsibility for learning how to nourish your body properly. There is no quick fix to obesity, being overweight, or even being underweight.
There are a million different programs out there to tell you exactly how to lose weight, or get strong and lean, or promise awesome gains, but there is one trait all of these books have in common that is a downfall for the reader. They all assume to some extent that the reader knows that the program they are being sold is the right one for them. Of course this is not a malicious act on the writers’ part. They are doing their job, and most likely doing it well. They have done their research, created a successful program, and now they are trying to pass on their gems to you, the reader.
Basically, you cannot just decide one day that you are going to start a diet or program when you have never actually sat down and tried to educate yourself on why some of these things work. You can never free yourself from the binding chains of being “on a program” or “on a diet” if you never learn how to feed yourself by yourself.
I definitely don’t expect everyone in the world to go out and get a degree in some sort of nutrition studies, but I do expect that if you are truly seeking to free yourself from the binds of dieting, that you take the time to find out how your body runs and why. It’s no different than buying a new piece of machinery or electronic device – if you want to learn to use it properly or understand all of the functions and features, you must read the manual. Think of educating yourself for your body like you are reading the manual on how your body functions.
There are plenty of online resources and literature that help you understand why your body processes things the way it does and gives a simplified version of why it’s important to understand what you are putting into your body. Once you learn about your body and how it handles different foods and exercises, then grab a new program and start it. Get one that makes you obsess over your macronutrients and calories for a while, long enough for you to see results, and then FEEL how it works.
When you are eating and exercising properly your body will feel great and your mind will be freer to worry about other things. Once you have learned to hone in your food skills then it’s time to wean yourself off the diet wagon and finally feel confident enough to splurge on occasion without feeling guilty about it, or to pass on dessert because you understand the consequences, not just that its “bad”. You will understand how to feed more “intuitively” and without constant worry if you are breaking a diet rule. And isn’t that what it’s all about anyway? Shouldn’t we enjoy eating? We eat when we celebrate, when we spend time with friends and family, and even when we are sad, so shouldn’t you be able to enjoy all of those times when you eat without the constant nagging of wondering if your diet is working or not.
As I said earlier there are a lot of different resources both online and written, but I wanted to share some of the books I found most useful while I was undergoing the journey of breaking free from dieting. I hope you enjoy them and they inspire you as much as they did me.
Thanks for reading!
**Side Note: All of these books do have a diet recommendation in them, but they also do an excellent job on explaining the body’s processes.
- 1. “It Starts With Food”- by Melissa Hartwig (hard copy or digital download)
- “The Metabolic Effect Diet” – by Jade Teta & Keoni Teta (hard copy of digital download)
- Eat To Perform, “Metabolic Flexibility” – by Mike T Nelson PHD (digital download)
- “The Renaissance Diet”– by Dr. Mike Israetel w/ Dr. Jen Case, & Dr. James Hoffman (digital download)