Food is our friend… not the enemy



I recently wrote a post in one of the fitness groups that I participate in and decided to also add my post to my own blog with some additional thoughts.  We are two weeks into January when people are still feeling optimistic about their New Year’s resolutions to get fit, eat better and lose weight but lately I have been reading and hearing lots of things about people’s eating habits which aren’t so great.  About how going off their ‘clean’ eating plan a little makes them feel crap/upset and they hate themselves.  Reading and hearing people talk about themselves in such a derogatory manner makes me sad, not just for them but for us all.  We need to change the way we think about food.

Food gives us life, it is to be enjoyed like most things with some moderation. We should not be in the mindset that we’re on a diet (why put your faith in something that starts with die?!), we should actually be trying to eat according to our training goals. We should not eat to deprive ourselves, to make us miserable or feel like we need to spend a day in the confessional box to atone for our sins from eating a piece of cake. We are not robots, we are human. Regardless of whether you do IF, macros, Paleo, Atkins etc. We each have a different relationship with food. What works for me may not work for others, life is about trial and error and finding your own path. 

I know my training results could have been better if I was more militant about what I ate. But I still made good progress. I don’t see my fitness journey as a short term project, it’s a lifelong project and so I need to be mindful of that and maintain a lifestyle and a healthy relationship with food that will keep me going for the next 40+ years without reducing me to tears because I had to spit out a bar of chocolate for pushing me 20g over my carbs ratio.  I don’t want to be hiding mini packets of haribos around my flat or at work and sneaking off to eat them when no one’s looking.  I don’t want to make myself do a 1000 burpees because I decided to eat some kettle chips. 

Some of the posts that I read and the people I chat to about their eating habits are from mothers (and fathers too).  What some of these amazing parents may fail to realise is that the issues they have with food are being passed on to their children.  They are already setting a good example to their children by choosing to exercise regularly and ensure they are trying to be healthy but why are they unable to enjoy grabbing the odd ice cream with their children, unable to eat a piece of their child’s birthday cake without feeling so guilty that it makes them forget every single good thing they have done?  The self-punishment has to stop!

It seems that some people are letting their occasional food slip ups make them forget all the other progress they have made.  We need to remember that we are hitting new personal records in the gym, when we’re out running or doing whatever exercise we so choose. We are learning and doing new things, we have lost/added on weight in return for beautiful muscles.  We are becoming faster, fitter and stronger.  We do so many things to be proud of but we are letting our achievements become overshadowed by something else.  We have the power to control what we put into our bodies, we shouldn’t let food control us.  Infact, food enables us to smash all our training targets so why do some of us have such a bad relationship with it?

We should look at food as our friend, not the enemy.  When it comes to training we need to remember to train our minds as well as our bodies.  There is no point having a strong body if it is accompanied by a weak mind that taunts you, that makes you feel guilty and tells you that you’re fat when you’re not, or for telling you that you’re weak from eating a plate of chips when you have eaten clean the whole day.  Don’t let your old mind ruin the better you that you are building.  Kick those doubts to the kerb, smash them in the face! 

I speak to many people about training and what they eat because I am so passionate about wanting a fit, healthy lifestyle.  Not just for myself but for others too if they so choose that way of life.  People end up spending money on expensive diets where instead of being told to eat good, wholesome food you are made to buy meal replacement shakes which puts your body into starvation mode.  Don’t allow yourself to be conned.  All you need to do is to make healthier food choices.  I see people ruin their metabolism by going on starvation diets.  This behaviour isn’t smart or healthy. It’s abusing your mind and body!

Enjoy your life, enjoy every step of your fitness journey. Food should not be viewed as something bad, as something that makes us feel guilty, food is amazing! So what if you slipped up and ate some crisps today?  Let it go, tomorrow is a new day to start afresh and eat better.  I would like to say that whatever step you are on in your fitness journey never forget that you are awesome regardless of what the scales say, what your clothes size may be, what body fat percentage you have etc.  

I believe that everyone who has embarked on a journey to change their life for the better deserves to see themselves as others do.  As someone who stepped up and made a conscious decision to want to become fitter, stronger and healthier.  Infact, it doesn’t have to be just fitness related.  It can be anything.  You should be applauded for making that change, not made to feel guilty.  Please never forget that.

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