Before I get into actual exercise, I want to talk about food.
It is possible to gain weight whilst exercising like crazy, just like it’s possible to not exercise and actually lose weight. I know both of these from experience. The secret my friends?
I love food. Whilst some would argue that food gets in the way of living (I have a certain friend who once said he wished he didn’t have to eat because he would have more time for other stuff) – I would insist that life is actually enjoyed around food. And so the idea of dieting, feeling guilty for what I eat and constantly thinking about what I’m meant to be avoiding sounds like ‘lack of living’ to me really.
Personally I think that the introduction of ‘low fat’ processed foods into our society has just perpetuated the actual problem. We’re designed to eat to withstand potential long periods of fasting. Our ancestors were all like ‘sweet, here’s a woolly mammoth that we’re going to devour and hey, we don’t know when our next meal is gonna be so let’s just eat until we can’t move anymore’. It’s true. Although the thing is, that nowadays we know that our next meal is gonna be in oh say, 2.5 hours? So if I was to eat for surviving as though I live in cave-person-days, then I would probably be morbidly obese by the time I’m 35.
So by making it ‘ok’ to eat a shit-load more processed food because ‘hey! it’s low fat!’ – really doesn’t help change behaviour or make eating very enjoyable. It just makes us think that eating heaps is AOK.
So how do I use ‘portion control’ to control my weight?
When I was a teenager I used to eat four bowls of cereal for breakfast. I’m not even joking. I’d put the box & the milk on the table and eat until I was pretty much stuffed.
At one point I started wanting to lose weight and I figured I’d just stop eating so much for breakfast. After trying and failing many times to limit my breakfast to just one bowl, I devised a little trick. I’d measure out how much I wanted to eat and divide it into 3 portions. Then I’d eat ‘three’ bowls of cereal (using a smaller bowl and a teaspoon) whereas really I was only eating the equivalent of one. Somehow I managed to trick myself with this method and over time my body adjusted to the smaller amount of food and stopped needing more. The moral of this story? Adjust your portions slowly.
If you suddenly stop eating breakfast one day (oh please don’t do this) then your body will cry out ‘WHY? Are we in a time of crisis? Shit, I’d better start storing this fat then… Who KNOWS when we’ll see food next!?’ and you will eventually crumble and feel mega hungry and start scoffing some shitty food and your body will be like ‘must store must store’ and you will be like ‘WHY AM I GETTING FAT?’ and the answer will be: because you are eating like a starving cave-person.
If you currently eat like this, then start slowly reducing how much you eat. If you eat 1/2 a cup of oats for breakfast, try eating 1/3 of a cup instead and see how it feels. If you currently eat 8 pieces of sushi for lunch, try eating 7 instead. And then 6. If you currently eat a piece of cake every day, try cutting the piece of cake in half and eating half now, half tomorrow.
Seriously, there is nothing more lame than feeling like you have to say ‘no’ to an amazing dessert. Try saying yes. And eating a few mouthfuls. And savouring it and enjoying it. And then you will have no desire to eat that entire tub of no-fat-no-sugar “ice cream” in the freezer followed by a chocolate bar (because you don’t really feel satisfied from eating frozen ice).
So whilst I am struggling with getting enough sleep and wondering how I am going to begin my training program with Ivan at work all day and my parents leaving to Canada on Saturday – I am reminded that no-matter where I am in life, I can control what (and how much) I put in my mouth.
And if ‘you are what you eat’ then I’d like to be ‘interesting, rich, petite, healthy and raw.’ How bout you?