Updated: Oct 28, 2021
As with any industry, there is information overload in the health and wellness sector. Many want cheap or free stuff but what’s the price they pay for those cheap or free stuff? — their health. Here’s 5 things that no one will tell you about healthy eating or eating to reach your health and fitness goals.
1. You don’t need to force yourself to eat just because it’s ‘time to eat’
This is where most people go wrong. There is a need to have a nutrition plan but there’s no need to follow it religiously. Yes, I said that! You need a blueprint that you can refer to but be able to customize food intake on a daily basis as per availability, preference and mood. You have to have options for each section of your meal plate — your protein, carbs, fat, vegetables and probiotics (the healthy bacteria via items such as curds, yogurt, kefir, salt-pickled veggies). You should be able to mix and match the items on a daily basis for variety. A nutrition plan that has timings mentioned for meals is a major red flag in your pursuit of fitness goals. It is very restricting.
If the plan doesn’t have timings mentioned then what’s the indication for you to eat your meals? — listening to your body. It's about looking out or feeling for signals that your body gives you such as
Another thing to note is that you don’t always have to eat because everyone else is eating. If you work in an office that has fixed lunch break then because of that programming your body naturally gets hungry around that time on most days. That’s ok. But since work places are becoming more flexible now you can eat when your body asks you to through its various signals. Now you know— you don’t need to eat at the same time everyday for better results. Eat when your body needs food.
2. Your environment controls what you eat but you can control it right back
There is a feedback loop between you and your environment. The following are some of the factors of your environment that directly affect your health and wellness
Food available in the kitchen including your fridge
Access to food delivery apps
Distance or access to your favorite restaurant or café
People around you
Events around you
Stimuli such as sight, smell and sound of food
Can you control your environment? Yes, you can. It takes some effort but over time you will master the art of controlling how the factors around you affect you and to what degree. Consider the example of your kitchen. What’s available to prep your meals or what’s already prepared by someone else affects your progress directly either positively or negatively. If there are food items that hinder your progress it’s in your control to store less of it and more of what your body needs but finding a way to make it more enjoyable. There are hundreds of ways to prepare anything. You just need to find the recipe that works for you.
The art of controlling the factors affecting your eating habits takes time to master but you will get there with practice.
3. You don’t have to please people by saying ‘yes’ to extra servings of food
If you are visiting a friend or a family member or even at home when your loved ones offer you extra servings because they love and adore you and because it’s their passion to serve food to people, you have every right to say ‘no’ to extra servings no matter how tasty the food is. You did eat it in controlled portions, you ate as much as your body needed, you are satisfied and content and that should suffice. You don’t need to eat belly bursting levels of food, stall your progress and put your health in jeopardy to please people, even if it’s your grandma!
There are emotions attached to food — both for the cook and the consumer. If you can master your emotions and know how to eat in moderation and please people in moderation you will have control over your health and fitness.
There is another person that you have to learn to say ‘no’ to. Yourself. Again, it takes practice. When you start seeing results you will realize how taking charge of your environment effectively improves your health and part of taking charge is you being able to say ‘no’ when you find yourself reaching for that extra portion despite being full.
Get a grip on your emotions, man!
4. Authentic supplements are ok to consume and they aren’t drugs
Let’s talk about supplements. For majority of the population, supplements are drugs. According to them, supplements are harmful and some even think they are worse than medicine. You know what is worse? Following a lifestyle that’s led them to be on medications in the first place.
What is destroying your health is reckless eating. Not supplements. Of course, when you are confused about the need for supplements you have to ask yourself 2 questions
Do you have any deficiencies? IF yes then
Are your supplements needed to tackle the deficiencies coming from a trustworthy source?
The market is flooded with brands selling wide variety of supplements. You only need the ones that your diet can’t cover. If you are vegetarian and lactose intolerant then what are your protein sources and I am talking about complete protein sources? Very few. You might then want to supplement your nutrition with a plant protein product. Trust me— you need it!
Remember, your nutrition could be the most wholesome in the world but when it’s lacking certain nutrients they need to be supplemented.
5. You are allowed to eat desserts and still be healthy
Not just desserts but all of your favorite food items can be accommodated in your nutrition blueprint in your pursuit of health and fitness. Many make the mistake of looking at nutrition as just a physical thing – you get a plan, you do your grocery shopping, prepare and eat and check your weight every week or every 15 days. You need to stop that right away.
Nutrition should be treated from a psychological and emotional point of view. When you start doing this you will be surprised to know how successful you can be. You will be able to reach your goals effectively. You will feel like you are living the life you want than being forced to live the life you don’t want and don’t enjoy.
Become the master of your environment and you will master your health and fitness.