Once I’ve decided to do an experiment. I would only eat fruits and drink water for 3 days and see how I would feel about it. Psychologically more than physically. Curiosity was one of the reasons why I wanted to do it, plus I hoped to shred few pounds along the way. Fast. Don’t we all.
I wrote down all my goals and reasons (in case I had a moment of weakness), braced myself and went for it the following morning. I was fine till afternoon then I started to feel hungry. I was’t starving since I ate as much fruits as I wanted to but I missed REAL food. The only thing that kept me going was the thought of a nice breakfast I would have after the “fasting” was done and a slimmer waistline. Somehow I managed to keep it going for the whole day only to go crazy the next. On the next day I ate more than I usually eat and I couldn’t stop for two days. So I ended up with two extra pounds and a bruised ego.
Despite it all I learned the most valuable lesson of all. I realized that once I was really hungry my brain didn’t perceive my goals and reasons the same way it did when I wasn’t. I’m pretty sure you can explain scientifically that at that point our brain shuts off the parts that are responsible for reasoning because you are basically messing with your body’s primary function which is to keep you alive no matter what. Your body is used to get a certain amount of food every day and once you cut it down your brain freaks out and starts working agains you. That’s why you are experiencing the mood swings (from bad to worse) and unusual cravings. The worst part though is the GUILT that comes along. You feel guilty for being hungry. Because in your head you’ve already pictured a perfect beach body and the only thing that stands between you and that dream body are those stubborn extra pounds. Depending on the level of guilt some people suffer quietly, others take it to the next level and starve themselves into anorexia.
That’s why anorexia is a mental illness rather than physical and should be taken very serious. Think about it would you break your leg on purpose? Of course not. Then why would you want to hurt your body by starving it? Skipping meals seems like a harmless thing to do at first but it is a path to a darker place. Place where you just need to get rid of that “few extra pounds” to feel happy, place where you hate yourself every time you look in a mirror never feeling satisfied with your looks. Do you really want to live all your life feeling like that? Truth is it won’t change even if you do loose those extra pounds. It will never be enough. Once you loose few pounds you’ll want to loose more. Because the problem is not in you pounds. It is in your hatred towards your body. You hurt yourself mentally and it is a harder thing to mend than a broken leg. That’s why you’d rather want to find a balance between what you eat and how you feel about it rather than restricting yourself from food and feel miserable. Hunger is not your enemy. It is your body’s way of telling you that it needs energy. So don’t work agains it. Work with it.
Here I put some advices that I hope will help you on the way to a more healthier and balanced diet.
COOK AT HOME
I bet you’ve already started getting a whirlwind of thoughts in your head like “how can I ever squeeze cooking in my already super busy schedule”. Let me stop you right there. First of all, isn’t it your wellbeing, your HEALTH and slim waistline we are talking about? Second, here is a secret – cooking is not hard. It is fun and satisfying experience that makes you feel good about yourself. Big corporations have been selling us the idea of cooking being messy and time consuming for years. (I really recommend watching documentary serious on Netflix called “Cooked”. Just to take another look on how we eat and cook. I definitely started to appreciate food much more after watching it). If you don’t know how to cook learn simple things like how to make rice. Then start from there. Boil rice, sauté your favorite veggie in a different pan then mix them together. A meal under 30 minutes. Plus you can cut time in half by boiling rice the day before, cutting veggies in the morning to keep it in the fridge till dinner. That will save you even more time. But it requires a little bit of planning which is my next advice.
PLAN YOUR MEALS
It might seem like a difficult thing to do especially if you’ve never cooked for yourself before but it is much easier than in seems once you get the hang of it. When you know what your next meal is going to be it is much easier to avoid the temptation of eating something that probably will end up being unhealthy. Plus when you do groceries shopping you know exactly what to buy. If you didn’t have time to prepare your meal the day before and you know that you won’t be able to make it have an “emergency” healthy cafes and restaurants list. But before even going there plan what will you order while you are not hungry. Just remember once you are REALLY hungry all your willpower and your reasons for healthy eating disappear into thin air. I don’t eat McDonald’s but when I’m passing it by when I am very hungry even their food seems like a good idea for my brain. It smells like good food and that is all it cares about. That why….
KEEP HEALTHY SNACKS HANDY
It is very important not to put yourself in a situation when you are so hungry you’ll eat ANYTHING. Again, when you are super hungry all you reasons and determination fly out of the window. Your body needs to get food NOW and it doesn’t care how many calories and sugar that super processed cheeseburger has. It doesn’t care about its nutritional value either. It smells GOOD. Minutes later your tummy is not rumbling anymore and guilt starts to sink in with every sip of soda. So BE PREPARED. Have a healthy snack with you – banana, nuts, energy bar. Whatever you are in to. The options are limitless. You still will feel hungry after the snack because it’s not a proper meal but it will give you some time to get or cook somethings healthy. The point here is to win some time.
DON’T GET FRUSTRATED WHEN YOU FAIL
Did you notice I said “when” not “if”? That is because at some point you will. One busy day or your unpreparedness or simply your mood will get the best of you and you’ll end up with a very unhealthy meal and it will make you feel horrible. You will feel guilty but feel just a little bit guilty, don’t blame yourself too much. Adding healthy eating habits to your life is something you need to learn too like riding a bicycle. You didn’t just jump on it and magically knew how to ride it. It was try and fail experience. So is leaning how to eat healthy. Change is slow and sometimes unnoticeable. Keep a food diary where you write down all your meals – healthy and unhealthy. Make notes but more importantly be patient and make that experience fun just like learning how to ride a bike was.
I don’t think a lot of people realize that there’s a direct connection between what you eat, how you feel, how your skin looks and how healthy you are. If you are feeling unwell or have some sorts of health problems just LOOK AT YOU PLATE. If you are eating highly processed food day after day your body takes all the energy it has to digest the food it doesn’t know how to digest. The energy that would otherwise be used to mend your broken cells or built new ones. I could give you even more advices but truth is you still need to do the hard work yourself. You need to educate yourself about the food you eat, what is good for your body and what is not. It is a never ending process of learning but believe me nothing makes you feel more powerful and proud of yourself than knowing that what you put on your plate will make you a better and healthier person.