When people talk about diet and exercise the conversation often turns to willpower. Willpower as a reason for success and the lack of willpower for failure. I am no expert but I don’t think anyone has enough willpower to resist eating the things they love or to force themselves to engage in activities they hate with any regularity (at least not without turning into a raving lunatic).
Personally, no amount of willpower will get me to go running with you and no amount of willpower will get me to skip a piece of my sisters chocolate peanut butter pie. I mean – seriously???
I love chocolate peanut butter ice cream (ok any ice cream that is primarily chocolate) and I think gooey chocolate brownies and homemade chocolate chip cookies are YUM. If these foods are in my house, I will find them. I will hunt them down and do my happy dance as I devour them.
I believe we have to tailor what we eat and our activity level to fit our unique selves. I believe we have to stop relying on willpower and start relying on good old-fashioned common sense. If 90% of what I eat is fresh, healthy and created in my own kitchen then I am ok that 10% is gooey and chocolatety.
I am learning to make good food decisions not only at meal time but at the grocery store and at meal preparation time as well. A couple of years ago I created a grocery shopping list for my favorite store. I had my regular purchases listed aisle by aisle and all I had to do was circle or highlight what I needed. I haven’t managed to do this yet since my move but I think I should. It made shopping really easy and no where on that list was any of my favorite junk food. I usually have nuts or 1/2 of an apple left over from lunch in my car so stopping for chips or cookies is no longer needed. For me, not only is it not needed it is not even an option.
Having healthy food in the refrigerator, freezer and cabinets makes eating healthy easy. In the last few weeks, I have started to make dessert when I make dinner. I take a banana, some fresh or frozen fruit and blend it up and spoon it into a fancy colorful, plastic wine glass. I put it in the freezer and by the time I am ready for dessert I have a nice cold fruity slush.
I enjoy exercising with my patients but trust me – I don’t work up a sweat. Give me a ball or a frisbee and my odds of actually burning some calories increases dramatically. Get me to put on my hiking boots and try to keep me out of the woods. My yard work side hustle is also great for helping me burn some excess calories.
For me, eating right and being physically fit is not about being on a diet and going to the gym. It is about eating healthy foods that I love and being physically active doing things I enjoy. The more structure I can build into my daily routine to help me choose health the better.
I have seen what refined flour does to my honey – talk about going into a carb coma. I have seen what practically eliminating carbs, processed food and added sugar did for Child Number 9 and his wife over the last year (130 pound combined weight loss). See Ditch the processed S*H*I*T Redux for more on how they have chosen to be healthy.
My Little Blue Kayaks Guide to eating right.
Step 1 Only buy REAL FOOD! Read this for more information!
Step 2 Keep plenty of your favorite healthy food on hand – My kitchen is stocked with nuts, grapes, bananas, watermelon, my favorite trail mix and fresh salad ingredients.
Step 3 Eat as much as you want!
From my perspective cooking and eating healthy is not only the better path it is the easier path in the long run. As an Occupational Therapist, I see what eating unhealthy processed foods does in terms of leading people on a dangerous path in the direction of diabetes, morbid obesity and a couch potato lifestyle.
The crazy part is many people think they are eating healthy by choosing low-fat granola bars vs candy bars, diet soda vs regular soda, refined wheat bread vs refined white bread, and nutra-sweet vs sugar.
To me this is like an alcoholic who chooses beer instead of whiskey for dinner.
Time to go stock up on REAL and yummy FOOD for dinner!
No Willpower Needed!