Let’s talk pizza, wine, and ice cream.
Is there a place in our fitness and nutrition program for alcohol and awesome tasting, unhealthy food?
The answer is…it depends.
SUBJECT A: Stacy
Stacy is 50lbs overweight. She drinks a daily 500 calorie Venti latte with whipped cream and eats ice cream for dinner. We know we need to make some serious changes in Stacy’s daily habits in order to get those fifty pounds off. The biggest problem Stacy has is her relationship with food. She turns to food after a long day, when feeling down, when feeling happy, when celebrating, when mourning, when she feels she deserves it. Pizza is not Stacy’s problem, Stacy’s relationship with pizza is the problem.
Stacy’s natural instinct after a long week of work, exercise, and healthy eating is that she “deserves a treat.” Maybe she is right, but that treat usually turns into an entire weekend of poor eating and drinking. Once she starts she cannot stop. By the time Monday comes around, she feels guilty. So on Monday, she barely eats at all to even things out.
All of the exercise in the world is not going to get 50lbs off of Stacy. Her metabolism is confused, her calories are through the roof, and she doesn’t know what to do. Stacy’s relationship with food will always be an obstacle that she will be unable to overcome unless she addresses it. How can she break these binge eating habits? By totally cutting out unhealthy foods and alcohol. Yeah, that sucks. But by committing to totally cutting out these foods for a period of time, she can break the viscous cycle that has plagued her for many years. She can fix root of the problem.
Until those 50lbs are off, and Stacy no longer sees food as a reward or area of comfort, pizza and wine do not have a place in Stacy’s diet.
SUBJECT B: Sarah
Sarah is in her 40’s. She is in pretty good shape. She goes to the gym 3 days per week, eats protein and vegetables at every meal, and plays tennis on the weekends. She cares about how she looks and feels, and right now she is feeling pretty good about herself. She is right at that weight where she feels healthy, looks good, and can hang with the best of them on the court. Every Sunday, Sarah, her husband, and the kids go to her Mother’s house for Sunday dinner. Sarah’s Mother can COOK. Pasta, meatballs, bread, desserts, wine. You name it. Sundays, she indulges. However Sarah knows that these dinners over time can add up and cause some pretty nasty changes that she does not want to see or feel.
So Sarah prepares. Instead of her normal breakfast of eggs and oatmeal, she has an egg white omelet with spinach. Instead of her turkey sandwich for lunch, she opts for a salad with grilled chicken. While her normal breakfast and lunch are fine choices, she knows they may be a little high in calories if she is going to over-do it at dinner. All in all, even with all of the pastas and desserts, Sarah does the best she can to make sure she keeps her total calories for the day somewhat in check. She may not necessarily lose weight, but that is not Sarah’s goal. Sarah has gotten herself to a point where she is happy with the way she looks and feels and can afford to enjoy dinner with the family guilt-free.
Sarah has worked to build a lifestyle that allows her to indulge occasionally. When she does so, she knows to plan ahead of time.
SUBJECT C: Jessica
Jessica is Sarah’s sister and is getting married in the fall. Jessica is in good shape as well. She is not overweight at all, however she would like to drop 5-10lbs for the wedding pictures. Similar to her sister, she eats protein and vegetables at every meal, exercises regularly, and feels great. But hey, these pictures are forever. As much as Jessica loves Mom’s Sunday dinners, she cares more about her wedding pictures. Jessica knows that 5-10lbs off of a body that is already in good shape will be a challenge. While she can normally afford a few bowls of pasta and glasses of wine, right now she cannot.
Would Jessica partaking in Sunday dinner be detrimental to her health? No. But Jessica has extraordinary goals. And extraordinary goals sometimes call for extraordinary circumstances.
Jessica understands this, and has accepted the fact that for the next six weeks, Sunday dinners are just a tad lower on the priority list than normal.
Who’s story reminds you of yourself? Do you have a lot of weight to lose and need to dramatically change your habits like Stacy? Are you pretty happy with how you look and feel and just looking to enjoy life, like Sarah? Or do you have a date in mind you are training for, like Jessica?
Our goal is to be Sarah. Be happy, live a fit and healthy life, feel good about ourselves, and don’t be afraid to indulge 10% of the time.
We can’t live the rest of our lives like Stacy and Jessica. Life is too short to not enjoy our time here. However, there are going to be certain times in our lives when we need to take drastic measures and cut the crap out 100%.
Booze and cheat meals may not have a place in your life today. Be consistent with the little things that make a difference over long period of time, and one day they will.