This is a problem a lot of people tell me that they have, and so I made a post on facebook asking if people would like some advice on the matter. It turns out, people did.
Now, your situation might be different to mine. I need to eat a certain amount and in certain ratios if I want to maintain decent results and performance at training. If I get complacent, it’s likely that I won’t eat enough in total, and I’m likely to not be at the ratio of carbohydrates to protein to dietary fats that I want to be at. Or maybe I’ll just think that I haven’t eaten enough earlier, try to make up for that later, and end up going into excess total energy and still messing up the ratios. Or maybe not. Who knows where I actually end up for the day? That’s the problem.
I have some highly motivated clients who dial this stuff in tight with great organisation skills. If I want to keep up with them and match the progress that they make myself, I need to have my shit together on this and not be complacent. Even for people who aren’t in training though, who just have a busy every-day life, I hear similar stories all the time. “I am always thinking about food, it’s a problem”.
Is it though?
Well, again that depends on your situation. If you’re worried about food all day, that’s a problem. And why wouldn’t you be worried? With all the scary fear mongering about “toxic” this and that, all that pressure to be in shape as if not being in super athletic speedo / bikini shape year round is the worst possible failing of human character, or something. All the talk about “guilt free” indulgent treats is no help either, implying that you should feel guilty about anything else you enjoy. No doubt you get a few judgemental or condescending comments from others about whatever you’re chomping on as well. That’s become a bit of a sport with myself and some of my colleagues recently… post a photo of a meal or snack on facebook and see how long before some fkn idiot can’t resist making a “you shouldn’t be eating that, it’s full of [insert scary ingredient du jour] and not healthy” type of comment. Shut the fuck up.
These are issues that I’ve talked about a lot elsewhere and will no doubt continue to address later on. Within the context of this entry, suffice it to say that you should forget, ignore, and aggressively dismiss all of that sort of nonsense. I mean aggressively, too! Maybe it’s not in your nature or it would create a different set of problems to be openly hostile with people you need to be around every day, but at least in your own mind, you should be outraged by the very idea that eating of all things is anything to feel guilty about, or that other people have any right to voice an opinion on what you eat. How dare they?
Contrary to common misconception, you do actually need to eat food to survive.
In no small quantity, either. Especially for those who are training with a sports performance or body condition goal, you need to meet certain nutritional requirements for that to be possible. For everyone else, you still need to be fueled adequately to get through the day, to be able to focus on whatever you are doing and be at your best.
Now speaking for myself, I know what my requirements are and I have a plan to meet them each day. I usually have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to eat already, and since I know I’m meeting my requirements I’m not too worried about the choices being healthy or unhealthy either. If they were too unhealthy, I wouldn’t be able to fit them into a plan that meets my requirements, right? Therefore you can take “is this enough, or too much” and “is this a healthy choice or an unhealthy choice” out of the equation, for me.
Still, there’s still a bit to be occupied with even in this situation. What time am I going to train, and when should I eat to make sure that I do have some fuel in the tank, but aren’t training on a full stomach? Do I have PT sessions booked for the evening, and what time will I get home? Does that mean I won’t want a large meal at that time, and I should have my main evening meal earlier and just a smaller one after?
I’m not on a very tight schedule and I can adjust on the fly without much difficulty. Still, I do think about when and what my next meal is going to be, and the one after that, and my bowl of fruit, and so on. Those of you who have to allow time for breakfast before leaving for work, have allocated break times, have to think about whether to pack a lunch or buy lunch, and so on… you have all the more reason for food and eating to be in the back of your mind.
Not to mention, your body gives your brain those signals because it has done digesting the last lot and you need to keep supplying it with more energy and nutrients, because it needs them.
It shouldn’t be on your mind quite that much though, should it?
Think about it this way. Do you think about what time you should go to bed to get a full night’s sleep and be up on time in the morning? Of course you do.
Do you ask yourself “do I need to go to the toilet first?” before leaving the house to travel somewhere for some reason? Or leaving somewhere else to travel home? Of course you do.
Would you consider either of those things to be problems? I guess if you are well hydrated then frequent urination could become annoying. Or in some cases could be a sign that you’re due a medical check up. Would you feel that it’s a problem in that it’s not something that should happen, that a person with more willpower (or whatever) wouldn’t be so per-occupied with? Probably not, would be my bet.
It’s exactly the same thing. As a living being you require food, you require sleep, and you need to go to the toilet as well. As modern humans with places to be and a schedule to keep, this requires some planning.
Also food is awesome. Why wouldn’t you look forward to more of it?