I find that the times I am most successful with my eating and nutrition are the times when I fully embrace the concept that food is fuel. It is not gratification. It is not love. It is not a warm hug. It is what fuels my engine. It is what helps me stay healthy.
This is not to say that food should be unappetizing, dry, boring or flavorless. Simply that, like my car engine, I run better on high-octane fuel rather than low octane fuel. When I think like this, my Dad’s beautiful classic pickup truck immediately pops into my mind. Low octane fuel in the tank means the engine knocks and hiccups and complains each and every time he tries to accelerate. The truck’s performance, in short, goes right into the toilet. Replace that cheap gas with a little more expensive gas and the truck immediately thanks him with a smooth running engine that responds well to a little pressure on the accelerator.
Our bodies are much the same. Feed them low octane fuel (processed foods, sugar, candy, chips, junk food, etc.) and we become sluggish, handling daily life poorly. Our response to the stresses of our high-speed lives becomes impaired. We are tired and more irritable. We greet life with less enthusiasm. Hiccups in our daily routine become major stressors. For those of us who workout, we see immediate negative results in our workouts. The weights feel heavier. Our cardio grinds to a halt faster. We feel sluggish, nauseous and light-headed. In short, a tough workout becomes not only difficult but something we just plain don’t want to do. Most importantly, bad food doesn’t validate us. It doesn’t make us feel good about ourselves and it interferes with the positive, confident image we want to see in the mirror.
On the other hand, feed our bodies high-octane fuel (fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, water) and the result is nearly immediate. Our bodies move better. Our minds respond quicker. Daily troubles roll off our backs more easily. Our moods improve and working out becomes something we are more likely to look forward to…or…perchance even love!
For some reason, I’ve found, both for my clients and myself, eating well and working out go hand in hand. No one seems to want to mess up a great workout with bad food. For those who love working out, they remember what they felt like the day after cheat day or a night at the club. For those who don’t love it so much, they calculate how long it takes to burn off the huge calories in those little morsels. Either way, working out is a great motivator at snack or mealtime.
Long term, high-octane food makes us healthier and stronger and facilitates maintaining a healthy body weight. We like what we see in the mirror and feel better about ourselves. This is, in short, what Better Everyday is all about…better bodies…better minds…better lives…today and everyday!!