Finding Food Normal
There is no such thing as good or bad food.
The idea of “bad foods” is a concept we’ve been exposed to since childhood and puts us all at risk of negative, unhealthy relationships with certain foods. There are people who think carbs will kill them. Others KNOW fat will give them a heart attack. While we know these things aren’t true, with all the misinformation out there, it is no wonder certain foods, nutrients and macros are villainized.
We need to get rid of thinking because it creates an “all or nothing” approach to eating that should be avoided at all costs. If you have a Snickers bar, your day isn’t ruined and it’s not an excuse to just start shoveling food the rest of the day and start fresh tomorrow. We have seen through countless case studies that people can subsist on McDonald’s and lose weight, as long as calories are controlled. Being able to shift our paradigm to not look at foods as good or bad will start to build a positive relationship with food and get rid of the all or nothing approach and potential guilt we feel if we eat a piece of candy. It’s necessary to undo the destructive relationship between our bodies and what we eat that’s been brewing since before we even made those choices for ourselves.
When we search through magazines, social media or the people around us, we tend to compare ourselves to them. Our best friend or brother can eat as much as they want and never put on weight, while we look at a piece of chocolate and gain five pounds. We start to dwell on the perceived unfairness of the comparisons and question why we should even try, because no matter what we may never look the way we want to. Comparing ourselves to others is one of the most harmful things we can do because we are all so different both genetically and in our environments. There is nothing we can do about it, so it’s important not to focus on it lest we create negative thoughts about ourselves including poor body image and perception of self. We have to define what is normal for us, focus on our improvements and why we are doing the things we are doing. Sure we may never be supermodel skinny, but if we focus on how we are feeling, our energy levels, our happiness and what we’re doing to improve ourselves, the process will be vastly more rewarding and will continue to keep you fresh and looking forward. We all have things that favor us, we just push those aside and tend to focus on the things that don’t. I want to always focus on the positive things; the effort we are putting in to get better each day.
Having a better understanding of what is normal can help us not feel like we are not progressing. Keep in mind, we don’t need perfection to reach our goals so don’t strive for it. It is normal to overeat some days. It is also normal to undereat some days. Don’t dwell on either one. Sometimes when we are busy or not training our appetite goes down and when we are training hard our appetite can go up. Learn to listen to your body and hunger cues, and act accordingly. Don’t limit yourself to only three meals if you’re hungry from a hard workout and don’t feel like you have to eat everything you normally do if you are not hungry. It is normal to have weight fluctuations. Our bodies can fluctuate anywhere from 2-4 lbs up or down on a given day for numerous reasons, that’s why the scale shouldn’t be such a significant predictor of progress. It is also very normal to eat things just because they taste good or we’re in the mood for them. We often fixate so much on sticking to certain foods and certain meals that the thought of eating something different because it sounds good makes us feel like we are cheating. Or if we eat something that doesn’t have protein then it’s not a real meal and I should eat more to hit my protein count. This train of thought will make you crave more and overeat. If something sounds good, eat it. If it has no nutritional value, who cares? The vast majority of your other foods do, and that’s what matters. It is far better to eat something that tastes good when you want it than to deprive yourself and end up eating everything in sight that tastes good.