One of the hardest things that I have had to overcome during my lifestyle overhaul (and especially during Project Tighten Up) was to stop eating food for pleasure. I loved food (I still do, but not as intensely) and whilst I didn’t eat extremely unhealthily, I still made taste the main focus of my meals. A lot of people would think, “Duh, taste is what it is all about!” but when you embark on a mission to TOTALLY reshape your body, taste can no longer be the primary or only focus.
When we eat something yummy it sends little signals to the pleasure centres in our brain that says, “Om nom nom, this is GOOD” and we want more. So we eat more. And the whole time there is a little party going off in our mouths and our heads and it’s a glorious time. Ever been to a party and there’s some amazing soft cheese there? How hard is it to stop at one piece? Bloody hard, if you’re a cheese-a-holic like me. That’s because food is almost like a drug – you become addicted to the pleasure it provides. Hence, fat happens.
So, how do we disconnect these crazy little signals? It all comes down retraining the way you think about food. At the moment, I think of food as fuel. I figure out what I will need throughout the day to fuel my workouts and I plan my menu around that. I know I will need low GI carbohydrates to give me slow release energy, lean protein to help my muscles grow and aid recovery and healthy fats to keep me full. I can make these things tasty and therefore give my pleasure centres a lil sumpin sumpin by adding garlic, herbs, lemon and chilli without increasing the calorie content.
People ask me if I get bored eating the same thing every day. I honestly don’t because I’m now so focused on food being fuel that it doesn’t bother me. I make my lunches for the week on a Sunday and I will happily eat the same breakfast, lunch and snacks every day resting assured in that fact that by doing so I will be moving closer to my goal
of taking over the world of achieving ultimate health and fitness. And a bangin body to boot.
Now, this doesn’t mean that I don’t reward those pesky little pleasure centres every now and then because I certainly do and would probably die if I didn’t. Okay, I probably won’t die but I would be a sad little bulge battler. Once a week or so I’ll indulge and have a treat – that might mean a few pieces of chocolate or it may mean a delicious takeaway thai beef salad but I maintain the discipline not to go overboard and to keep it within a reasonable calorie limit. Only on special occasions do I allow myself to indulge further and have something that I really want (like my favourite pub meal – steak, salad and chips) and maybe even a few glasses of wine. But apart from these moments I stay strict on my food and alcohol intake because I don’t workout this hard to go and undo it by eating foods that offer me no nutritional value. I’m going forwards people! I do not want to stay at a stand-still or go backwards!
Think before you reach for that chocolate or that piece of pizza next time and ask yourself – why do I want to eat this? Is it purely because it tastes good? If so, you’re falling back into the old ”food for pleasure” cycle. Have something that offers better nutritional value instead and treat your body like the temple it deserves to be.
Do you think of food as fuel or are you stuck in the “food for pleasure” cycle?