Do you like to cook? Do you like food? Do you like to entertain with food? If not, you should. Healthy eating can be somewhat bland, boring and restrictive, especially for those who choose to eat for performance or those with body composition goals. Does it have to be this way? No, that is a choice. Food should be enjoyable, it is a way to make us feel better, to socialize and enables us to perform. Too often we focus on enhancing our performance, the way we look with changing body composition or getting healthy instead of looking for ways to enjoy our food. This is part of the reason why so many people don’t stick to their “healthy lifestyle plan.”
When I am asked what foods work best or what should be on a meal plan, I often say to people to eat what they truly enjoy. Find the love in food! Use a variety and try different things. However, this sometimes get misunderstood. People tend to think that it’s ok to eat fried, greasy food all day because they love it. They think they can eat chips and chocolate bars for lunch with a coke and everything is ok. Telling someone to eat food they love could be sending the wrong message, but is it?
Let’s think about what we do with things we truly love. We become more mindful of things we love. We learn about them, we become more aware of them, we give the things we truly love our attention. We spend more time with things we truly love, we try to enjoy each opportunity given and don’t rush. We respect things we truly love. It’s rare you take advantage of the things you love. You understand how important those things become and you accept them at full face value. You don’t like substitutions. Things you love come in all shapes and sizes, they are flexible, so you become more flexible and open minded. You allow yourself to change along with the things you love. You don’t restrict these either and you don’t try to control them. Your values and ideas, your goals and priorities are all a biproduct of what you truly love. Things have more meaning and you realize how important those things are to you. Your mind, body and spirit work together and you feel one with the things you truly love. So why not enjoy the food you truly love?
Be mindful and take a leap and try new foods. Try different ways to prepare the food. Go thru your mom’s old recipes and find new ways to prepare them. Maybe the old way of doing things becomes old and you forget it and you evolve and create new routines and new habits. Try visiting the farmer’s market. Try different, fresh and in season food. Research new and different restaurants offering local options. When we get caught up in all the “healthy ways” we tend to forget what food really tastes like because we often resort to artificial flavors, low fat, low carb versions. Instead, why not try going for the best quality of something? Maybe that means having “butter” instead of margarine or a full fat cheesecake versus the high protein, low fat versions. When we are so focused on our goals such as body composition goals, we rush to get there. This means we compromise a lot, we restrict, and we forget about what it truly means to eat. It becomes fast paced because we want to hit our goals quickly. However, slowing down, taking time to enjoy not only the food but the atmosphere, is important. Tasting food can be a game changer for some. The best part of all of this, the bad relationship you may have had with food becomes a thing of the past. You enjoy your food; you are mindful and respectful of the choices and to your body. Things are more appealing and sustainable.
Take time to enjoy life. Share great food and great moments with friends.