Happy day after Christmas everyone! I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas and got more presents than coal. If you got coal, save it and we’ll have a BBQ! Thank you, Santa, for the fuel for our fire!
As humans, we’re pretty hard wired to get stuck on focusing on the potential problems and obstacles in our paths. Something that falls into this category is definitely food.
Food tastes good! It’s a great way to socialize and it can make us feel better. It’s something that we look forward to. It’s something that we use to soothe emotions, to connect to others and look forward to when we go to social gatherings.
It can also be something that we can use that can start to create negative connections to as well. We create meal plans with the intention of “losing weight” or “enhancing performance” or even “gaining muscle”. All of those goals are fantastic, but sometimes we forget the JOY of food. No wonder it’s easy to “fall off the wagon”.
All of these plans, while noble in their goals, assume that food is just a means to an end. That food is just meant to fuel a goal and not to enjoy or a part of a healthy lifestyle. That food is just macros, 43 grams of protein in a chicken breast or 27 grams of carbs in a sweet potato and not our favorite meal that mom makes once a year.
The problem with this approach is that we don’t eat just macronutrients (protein, fat and carbs), we eat food. So, what can we do to learn to love food without sending the wrong signal to just eat ALL the food.
Here are five steps to help you be able to connect to cooking and eating your meals in a more meaningful way, so we don’t feel like we have to “stick to a plan” or that we’ll “fall off the wagon” (side note, there is no “wagon”. Ever. But, that’s another post.):
- You’re mindful of your meals. Once you’ve used the World’s Best Calorie Counter, you’ve got your meal in front of you and now you’re ready to eat. The best thing to do now is to really connect to your food. Savor every bite. Enjoy the texture. Is it salty? Is it sweet? What about that one bite makes it so special?
- Eat slowly. By slowing down, you’ll have more time to do step one. Not only will you have more time to savor every bite, you’ll have more time to talk with your friends or family that you’re sitting with.
- You’ll respect your meal more. By taking the time to prepare your own meal, you’ll feel more connected to it, own it. Think about the last expensive purchase that you made. Like a car for instance, I’d bet that that brand-new car lives a pretty good life. It’s washed often, given the high-octane gas, you park away from other cars, and you probably talk to it a bit too. When you take the time to invest in something, you take more ownership in it, more pride. You can do the same thing by preparing your own meals believe it or not. You’ll take much more pride in that meal because you prepared it and cooked it from scratch.
- Not having a meal plan allows for flexibility. Now, that doesn’t mean that every meal you’re flying by the seat of your pants and making it up as you go, that’s a recipe for disaster. You’re still planning out your meals for the week, but allowing for the flexibility of eating “food” versus having a “macro-based” meal. It allows you to experiment with new vegetables, new recipes and seasonings without the pressure of “oh no, I totally have to make sure that I get 43 grams of protein 23 grams of carbs and 8 grams of fat” in this meal.
- Cooking is also a form of expression. When you’re connecting to your meals through cooking and eating, all of your systems are working as one; physically, mentally and emotionally. You get to connect to your family and friends through the process of preparing your food and eating it. You get to express yourself through your food and cook the things that fit your background and health goals.
I encourage you to think about how you can start to incorporate more ownership into your meals. This ownership will relieve a LOT of stress about “meal plans” and trying to hit specific numbers. There is a place for that, of course, but if you don’t have the foundations of; quality meals and ingredients, proper proportions, and eating slowly, it’s difficult or near impossible to incorporate some higher-level strategies like eating for macros.
Stick with the basics. Love the food that you’re cooking. Take ownership of your meals and you’ll find that it’s much more relaxing to eat and cook.
Let’s have a great last week of the year, not only that, it’s Bring A Friend Week! Bring your family and friends in this week and let them know that they can be a part of our amazing community! Getting fit and having fun!
5 Man makers
20 Double Unders