In my opinion the path I “walked”, and probably the path most people walk on when trying to make the transition from unhealthy to healthy eating, is equal to evolution- an evolution in the way of thinking, the attitude towards life, health and the way our body functions.
As everything else, that undergoes evolution, the same way our attitude towards nutrition, goes from one level- where we use food just as a mean to satisfy each caprice and each need of the mind, to actually looking on nutrition as something valuable, as a source of health and as a reason to be thankful.
Today, I look on healthy eating from a totally different perspective, compared to the way I approached my diet in the past. As we talked with one of my friends, it is humiliating to read your own, old articles. But I wouldn’t remove them from the blog. I would just periodically, update the information. Thus, everybody who walks on my path, will see that there are a minimum amount of “essential” steps, which we should make- mistakes, which we should make, in order to become mature and realize what is truly significant.
Today, I will share with you some of the mistakes I made. Or to be more precise, part of the steps towards my personal evolution in the world of healthy nutrition.
1.I used to NOT be interested in what, how and why works. Instead I tried to force myself to fit in somebody else’s working formula
Imagine it like a math problem. If you do not know neither the formula, nor how to get to it, or if you don’t get the logic behind the whole process, but you are still trying to learn by heart the end result or worse- you are cheating from somebody else’s solution, you are usually bind to fail. The next time when you are supposed to solve a similar problem, you will have absolutely no idea how to get to the answer and no idea what is the logic behind the solution.
The same happens with your body and with your nutrition. When we do not have an idea how the body functions, we don’t know what it needs. When we don’t know what it needs, we can’t be sure what nutrients we should fuel it with. By taking the ready to go formula, i.e. the diet, which works for somebody else, we could hope for just one thing- that we will be lucky enough, so the formula contains what our body needs today. Yes, but luck won’t be with us every day. There will come a moment, when, because of our different needs and lifestyle, our body will need different food and different macro and micro-nutrient proportions.
By trying to force our body to get used to the ready to go formula- diet, we leave it unsatisfied, and from there on, comes, a cascade of unpleasant consequences- we feel the need to eat, because our body is hungry for something particular, which is not present in the ready to go formula. Then we start overeating, because biology always trumps willpower- by using our willpower, we can cave in our body for a limited amount of time. After that the body will ask for what we have deprived it form.
How to avoid the mistake:
In a long term aspect, the quick always turn out to be the slowest. With a risk to postpone your transition to getting in better shape and the improvement in your health, invest some time, when you will learn how your body functions and what it needs. Then, on the base of this knowledge, build the formula ( the diet), which worked for you. This formula will have one “x”, which is called “THE PRESENT MOMENT”. This “x” is actually the present day and the needs that it will impose on your body. This means that your diet should change, taking into account the different activities you perform.
That’s where mistake number two comes into play…
2.I used to take my nutrition as something static
A mistake which is closely connected with the first one. Actually the diet is not something static, but something dynamic. You do not need to start every single morning with exactly 3 eggs, not more than 7 olives, three flowers of broccoli and two pieces tomato.
The diet changes, taking into account, many factors from our surroundings, which influence our body. And this is kind of logical. Our body functions in a way, which strives to sustain homeostasis- let’s call it balance. Homeostasis has a different manifestation, which is called allostasis. This means that our body conforms its functioning with the signals, which the environments sends it.
From here, follows the fact that with the change in these factors, you need to adapt your nutrition plan, in a way that it will correspond to the environment and in a way that it will give your body what it needs.
What do I mean? The nature of life is cyclic. Seasons, for example, reflect this cyclic nature. With the change in seasons, the climate changes, as well as the foods which are available. This is no coincidence. I’ve told you before how and why seasons influence the macronutrient proportion in food and I’ve previously suggested you how with the change in the climate you should adapt your nutrient proportions.
A way to avoid this mistake:
Listen to your body and the signals it sends. Your body is wiser than every fitness magazine, than every sport’s guru. Our body is constantly “communicating” with the environment and then it gives you instructions how to react. The mistake is that we usually ignore this instructions and we try to impose it on something else
Imagine the body as a complicated machine, which comes with a textbook of instructions. When it comes to technologies, I always ignore the instructions and this always leads to a bunch of problems. One of my friends- Dako ( who is an IT), always tells me: “Ines, take 15 minutes to read the textbook with the instructions and then you won’t have problems.” Well, I will play the role of your own Dako, and I will tell you- take some time to understand how your body functions and then you won’t face difficulties.
3.To be a slave of strict schemes and diets
A common mistake, made not just about nutrition, but about life as a whole. The mind always needs to attach to something, so it can find security, even though security is an illusion.
Back in the days, I made the mistake to follow strict diets and every diversion was equal to a mistake. It was a reason to feel guilt and to feel as a complete failure. This is one of the premises to develop an eating disorder. Besides that, food problems are connected with the problems we have with our own personality. By following strict nutrition plans, we are setting our own trap, where sooner or later- we fall.
As I already mentioned, the diet is not something static and a strict scheme is bound to a long term failure.
A way to avoid this mistake:
The information and the knowledge you will adopt, by avoiding the first two mistakes, will help you stay away from strict rules. You will already know what and when you need to eat and you won’t need to set external limitations which are supposed to control and direct your actions.
4.I made the mistake to think that it is enough to eat the same foods on a daily basis and I used to never bring in some variety or include spices.
There was a moment, when I used to preach that it doesn’t matter that I eat the same thing on a daily basis. I used to find it tasty and my body “received enough nutrients”. I used to explain how I do not need spices and that boiled chicken breasts, salad without condiments and so forth are really healthy.
Diet is not something static and our body has different needs, depending on the variety of factors from the environment.
Besides that, in order for our body to function properly, it should USE the food. Our body doesn’t work with what we eat. It works with what it absorbs1 There are a lot of premise for the good absorption of food, but one of them are undoubtedly enzymes and balanced gut flora.
By eating the same foods over and over again, we exhaust these enzymes and we create an unbalanced gut flora. Thus, even though we eat high quality food, we fail to absorb it and our body is starving for nutrients.
There is more to it- after I read countless books, I got to the conclusion, that traditions, when it comes to cooking our food and the abundance of spices are not just a caprice of gluttony. Spices, which are typical of some meals, actually assist in its preparation, which makes its nutrients more bioavailable.
And even though I have no problem with eating boiled chicken without any spices, nowadays I avoid doing it.
Let me add that the preparation of food and the time we invest in it, demonstrates attitude towards our nutrition. I’ve noticed that when we prepare our food with more care, we appreciate it much more- we do not eat just to satisfy our hunger. Eating becomes a real pleasure.
A way to avoid this mistake:
Remember, that it is no coincidence that traditions resisted the test of time. They have their roots in a time period, when people used to pay more attention to the world around them, they took care of their body and they listened to the signals it used to send. I think that we can trust their wisdom and the traditions they’ve imposed.
Remember that every day is different and we should approach it from the perspective of the present moment, and avoid living according to a template- no matter if we speak about food or another area of our life.
5. When I saw food I used to see numbers. I used to feed my body with quantity and not with quality
One of the most common mistakes is turning every bite of food in its calorie equivalent. Even though I strongly believe in the laws of thermodynamics and even though I believe they cannot be ignored, I can bravely state that it is not just the quantity of the calories that matters, but also the quality of the food.
Imagine what happens in your body as a chemical process. Food that we eat, causes a particular reaction, a particular process. We know from chemistry lessons, that if we mistake the quantity or the type of the elements, we will cause a different chemical reaction. The same happens with our body when we give it crappy food.
Besides that, nutrition is something like an information, something like a code, which our body deciphers and based on it, our body determines what is gonna happen with our health. Crappy food is a code, which our body cannot decipher. It is a material our body cannot use and a material which stops the proper functioning of our body.
A way to avoid this mistake:
Stop slaving the calories in and calories out philosophy. Change your attitude towards food and towards your health and choose to feed your body with real, quality food.
Our body is smart and when we give it what it needs, it will return the favor. It will start regulating the quantity of food we take and we will need to just observe the signals it sends- are we hungry or not.
And here comes the next mistake…
6. Eating through a strict schedule- in particular time and particular number of meals
This is really ridiculous. I state it with a hand on my heart. This is one of the things, that were the hardest to avoid. When you get your mind used to the fact that you should eat in particular time, you start existing on autopilot. You stop listening to your body and you do not give it much thought if you are hungry or not. What matters is that at 14:00 you MUST eat.
Since when did eating become an obligation? Isn’t it a need, meant to satisfy our body’s needs, when they arise, and not when the arrow of the clock or the nutrition plan from the magazine impose?
How to avoid this mistake:
Forget the word “MUST”. Nothing is an obligation! You are the one who is choosing. Eat when you are hungry. Sometimes you don’t even need to eat- you won’t die if you feel some hunger, but neglect your primitive instinct and eat 30 minutes later. Your muscles won’t disappear, nor your body will start storing fat.
Actually, I could keep on writing about my mistakes for eternity. I think I am in the mood to write a whole book, and probably when I finish it, I will remember that I’ve missed something and I will have to write a second edition.
I will limit myself with these 6 mistakes, because I appreciate your time, but I will say something in conclusion- weight problems, health problems and everything else you could think of, comes from the fact that we’ve distanced ourselves from nature and from our own body.
Somewhere on the path, humanity made the wrong turn and with every passing year, we are getting further away from what we need. We are losing the right focus and we concentrate too much on the things that keep us busy, but don’t bring any value.
Today I will aks you for something. Close this article and all the forums you are reading. Close the magazine, where they promise you that you will get fit in a week.
Stand up from the chai and for the next couple minutes don’t do anything. Just stand and ty to pay attention to your own self. Feel what your bod is sending you as a signal and interpret what you really need.
Am I hungry or did I once again fool myself that I “MUST” eat?
Do I really feel like working out or am I a slave of my habit to work out on a daily basis?
Do I feel like eating eggs or am I doing it just because my “guru” is eating eggs every single day?
Be conscious for a moment and I am sure that you will notice how the path you need to walk on is revealing in front of you!
Everything in life is so much simpler- even getting in shape. The solution is in being able to differ the meaningful from the meaningless; to focus on the 20% which bring results and stop wasting efforts for the rest 80% which are just keeping us busy!
Thank you for sharing this post through the social buttons below! 🙂
And some pictures from my last trip 🙂