I’ve thought about diet a lot recently. Having to lose weight quickly for my BJJ competition really forced me to restrict myself and forego ‘treats’ altogether. The result of this, of course, has been a no-holds-barred approach in the following week. My brain, apparently upset at being denied for so long, has decided it’s going to eat whatever it wants; whether I want it or not.
So I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: diets don’t work. Denying yourself food and telling yourself to have more willpower only makes the foods you’re thinking about more appealing, whilst at the same time labeling you a failure with no willpower.
Something that has worked for me in the last few years is approaching food with curiosity; being curious about what foods look, taste, smell, feel like when you’re actually eating them; and being curious about how your body, mind and soul feel in the minutes, hours or days after you’ve eaten something.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, improve health or energy levels, the sheer volume of ‘diets’ and nutrition-related information can leave you feeling unsure of which path to take.
So maybe just walk your own path.
Eat whatever you like, consciously, so that you’re mindfully enjoying the food you eat. And afterwards, in the minutes, hours and days, notice how your body feels; if your energy goes up, down or remains constant; if it’s easy to think, be creative, solve problems; if you find it easy to perform your autopilot tasks; what your mood is like….
Perhaps, if you notice a daily energy slump at 11am, you want to look at what you’re eating daily for breakfast. And get curious! Does this slump happen every day? Is it better or worse on some days? What did I eat on those days? Have a read the labels of the cereal I’m having? Could I try swapping the apple juice for an apple and see if that makes a difference?
Of course, sugar (and sugary carbs) are addictive – which is why I still occasionally find myself eating Dominoes’ pizza and cookie dough, despite knowing that I’ll wake up the next day feeling horrible.