I get asked all the time “What should I eat?” And this isn’t just by people in the gym- I get asked at work by doctors, other nurses, pretty much everybody. I used to be surprised by it- I mean, come on, how can an MD, PhD not know what to eat to be healthy?? I think that part of it is people don’t want to know that what they are eating is not good for them, even though they kinda already do. Yes, I will tell you to stop eating carbs; yes, you already know this. Also, there is a lot of conflicting information that A) we are taught (the food pyramid is a lie) and B) is always trying to sell us a shortcut.
Trust me, I would love to lose 10 lbs of belly fat in 10 days…but it is not a reality. Weight loss is hard work, eating a well balanced diet is hard work. It takes planning and will power. There is no magic pill, no special herbal tea that is going to allow that to happen while I continue to eat like crap. A 7 day cayenne pepper, lemon juice, maple syrup diet is also not going to do anything in the long run. Why not? Because being healthy is about habits. It is about making choices every day. And about turning those daily choices into long term habits. A 7 day fast does not change how or what I eat. Crash diets are notorious for adding more weight than is lost. If I wake up late, run for the CalTrain and don’t make breakfast I have a choice- I can get to work and eat the donuts on the table (and this is definitely what I would prefer to eat), or I can march my butt to the cafeteria and get bacon, eggs, and a veg. And those donuts are there most of the day, so the choice to not eat them is a constant one.
I avoid legumes, grains, dairy (I do eat cheese on occasion since it makes my soul happy), sugar, salt, and most alcohol. Yes, that fad diet commonly (though really a misnomer) called Paleo. So what do I eat then? Real food. If I can find it outside growing on a tree or bush or out of the ground, I eat it. If it comes straight from an animal, I eat it (minus the milk part). There are no Oreo bushes (to my eternal dismay). This does not mean I never eat “bad” food (I prefer to call them non-nutritious foods since really food cannot be inherently bad or good, it can only be nutritious or not.) I just limit it. I find that what works for me is choosing one day a week where I can eat whatever I want. Some weeks I go all out, some weeks I don’t desire anything outside of my normal foods. This works for me since I have NO moderation- who are those people who eat one cookie and what is wrong with them?? I don’t keep non-foods in the house, whatever is not finished Sunday is tossed that night. Also, I never feel as though I am depriving myself. If I really, really want a donut I will wait until Sunday and go get a hot fresh perfect one from Bob’s, not eat that cardboard shittiness on the table. (A nurse goes on a diet by not eating “table food” which is the donuts, cookies, candy, sweets and other non food patients families drop off as thanks.)
I recently was targeted by facebook with a “6 proven tips to lose belly fat” and wanted to see what they were selling. I was pleasantly surprised- no gimmicks! And all the things I recommend: Don’t eat sugar, cut out carbs, eat more protein, eat more veggies (studies have shown that 3 cups of veggies a day will increase your metabolism!), exercise, and track your food.
The bottom line is that there is no quick fix for weight loss or being healthy. It takes time to cook, to exercise, and to take care of your body. But in a world where the top cause of death is preventable and cancer is a close second I think it is worth investing in your body. I happen to love crossfit but I don’t care if you prefer Zumba or walking around the mall. Do anything that gets you up and moving- our bodies were made to be mobile. Make them happy!