Steve Kamb, the founder of the awesome site NerdFitness.com likes to say, “You can’t outrun your fork.” And my, oh my, how true that is!
Here is the TLDR (too long didn’t read) version in bullet point format in hodge-podge order, because I can:
- Emotional eating is a trap, don’t do it!
- Don’t try and justify your choices to consume junk food with “I deserve it”.
- Know your weakness. Have a plan.
- Plan your “cheat” meals.
- If you consistently fuel your personal machine (your body) with shit fuel, your results will be shit. At best, they will be sub-par.
- If you consistently fuel your personal machine with good fuel, your results will be good.
- Own your shit.
For the TLDRs out there, thanks for stopping by, I hope that helped! And now, the rest of the post…
“Don’t eat your feelings!”
The Achilles Heel that I have isn’t my struggle with Menieres Disease, or the sciatica that is currently plaguing my training sessions and allowing me the opportunity to really exercise mental toughness as I train through the pain. No. My Achilles Heel is sweets.
Cookies, donuts, milkshakes.
In that order. Especially cookies. Offer me some cookies made from the Costco bakery and I turn into Cookie Monster.
Emotional eating, using broad strokes from what I understand of the subject, basically boils down to getting the chemical fix of an endorphin shot from the high of eating tasty foods when we are sad, angry, stressed, etc. Basically, we want to feel good and for a few moments, while we are eating those things, it gives us that feeling. One reason that sweets, fried food, etc., is called “comfort foods”. Obviously, like other substances that cause an addiction, it becomes cyclical and you begin to chase that feeling. Sometimes it is a BIG problem, sometimes it is not. Either way, though, we are “rewarding” our body and mind in a negative way – temporary pleasure, long term harm.
From careful thought and observation/self examination, I can see where I have used the “I deserve it” / “I’ve earned it” excuse to justify me eating absolute garbage. I’ve given in many times to emotional eating on different levels. I’ve had rough days at the office, complete hell in my personal life, I’ve worked my ass off at the gym, the kids are acting like banshees hopped up on Jolt Cola (yeah I just went there), etc. and you know… that cookie is exactly what I need! Well, no it’s not but who cares, it’s all about my feelings anyways!
Don’t eat your feelings!
“…it’s a work in progress.”
Beware the trap of “I deserve it!”. Yes, you may have worked your ass off this week. Yes, you may have given your all in your training sessions. Yes, your boss or your spouse or your children are acting like Gollum tweaked out on 5 hour energy drinks… but that doesn’t mean you can come home every night and have a cookie or three, or a donut, or a cinnamon roll.
Ask me how I know.
To tell on myself, I stumbled into my own little experiment on this subject recently. I’ve been walking that fine line and not using as much discipline as I know I could to keep myself from eating too many sweets. It’s those damn cookies!
Okay, maybe it’s me.
Cookies are inanimate little pieces of heaven that await the glorious day when a human consumes them. As much as we could imagine them having minds of their own, they don’t have minds of their own and they cannot will us in any way to eat them. Marketing makes them alluring, yes. But we are the ones who make the decision to pop open the package.
This is why recognizing your particular weakness, using some discipline and planning the deviations from your meal plans are so crucial. Don’t “cheat” on your meal plans, make a plan and have that plan includes a treat or a meal outside of your plan on a specific day so you can work towards it and not just give in here and there… and everywhere.
In order to keep my family from mutiny against me, I normally plan a meal that deviates from my normal dinners of grilled protein, rice or light pasta and a good salad. This seems to work out more than it doesn’t and I am still fine tuning the process – its a work in progress to say the least. Instead of going out, I make the meals more controllable, meaning we make it at home. Burgers or Nachos or something like that, this way we can control the kinds of burgers and nachos we make. Not 100% “good for us”, but usually way better health-wise than anything you can get at a restaurant or fast food chain.
I have found more success in doing it that way, by planning and controlling the kind of deviation we partake of, than just going to a restaurant. It’s usually much, much cheaper. Yes, we still go out to eat on occasion. Haven’t totally curbed that. Like I said, it’s a work in progress.
Which brings me to the final piece where I hopefully tie this all up for you.
It is amazing how the body reacts to the fuel that is put in it. Feeling groggy, bloated, tired, etc.? It might just be the fuel your body is receiving. Purely anecdotal, I know, but over the last few weeks of having an increased “uptick” in sweets, I noticed how shitty I felt. I was tired… a lot. I mean, really, really tired. I struggled at the gym and at work. Even my mind and thought processes were cloudy.
Fast forward to where I am now, back on track, and I’m getting a little less sleep than I was then but my energy levels are higher. I don’t feel sluggish. I just hit another PR for reps last night at the gym and I’m alert more at work and my mind is sharp again. Take it for what it’s worth, but how many times do you see someone slurping down a quad shot mocha-choca-sugar-latte and still complaining about how tired they are after an hour or two?
80 – 90% of your success in achieving and maintaining bodily health and fitness comes from what you eat. Good fuel = good results. Shit fuel = shit results.
And at the end of the day, it all boils down to that person in the mirror that I look at each and every day. It’s up to me to take ownership of myself. It’s up to me to understand my weaknesses. It’s up to me to make the choice to improve. It’s up to me to take action and do the work.
Get after it.
Be strong for you.
Be Strong 4 Family.