Eating for Health and for Fun
I got certified as a personal trainer last summer and I can't (won't) shut up about it. This is relevant because during the last staff meeting at the gym I work at, one of the office staffers suggested that everyone in the company (all 7 of us) do an "Ab Challenge". The point of this challenge is to see who can improve their abdominals the most over the course of two months, and being the youngest and leanest trainer, I thought it was going to be a cakewalk. Not really though, no cake is allowed. Most everything else is allowed though, and I think it's important to mention that.
Lots of folks who are into fitness and LIFTING, BRO get all in a tizzy about hitting their "macros" aka their macronutrients. Macros break down into Carbs, Fat, and Protein, and there is a never ending debate over which split (ex. 20% fat, 40% carbs, 40% protein) works best to get you the most swole or lean or vascular or yadayadayada. Meatheads and moms alike meticulously count their macros in order to achieve certain weight goals, eschewing the simple pleasure of eating so they can meet arbitrary fitness goals. I say f*ck that. 99% of people aren't professional athletes. It is unnecessary to be so anal about food. Eat well, eat when you are hungry, and don't beat yourself up if you need a bar of chocolate every now and then.
This may seem hypocritical coming from someone who is denying himself cake, but hear me out. Having a goal and fueling your body appropriately to achieve that goal is not wrong. If you want to deadlift 300 pounds or ride a bike 100 miles or make your abs so poppin' they eat your face, you can't eat only muffins or only lettuce. Generally, whatever your fitness goal is (unless it is medically necessary weight loss), deprivation is not the answer. Some folks swear by low-carb high-protein diets, others favor high-carb medium-protein diets, some swear that they can live on only sunlight and fresh air. Do not listen to that last group. Listen to your body, think strategically about what you want to achieve, and plan accordingly.
My plan for now looks something like this:
2 Eggs + Avocado toast (whole wheat) + Coffee
2-3 Bananas + Protein Shake
Meat + Vegetables
Meat + Vegetables
Drink 1 gallon of water throughout the day
Aside from meals 1 and 2, see how non-specific it is? See how doable and relatively cheap? Eating for fitness and health can and should be enjoyable. I love avocados and bread, SO I EAT THEM. I love chocolate and beer too, but I only enjoy them once a week.
People in my industry make it seem very difficult to be healthy and I want to dispel that notion. I think the rise of tightly regulated diets and the worship of certain body types has led to the dissemination of some truly harmful ideas about what it means to be in shape. Are you strong enough to complete everyday activities? Is your heart healthy? Do you feel good in your body? These are the important questions I think we need to be asking instead of obsessing about what we put in our mouths as it relates to a number on a scale.
Get ripped if you want to, lose weight if it'll make you feel sexier, but realize that these goals are ancillary to your fitness. The point is to live well, and to live well you have to eat!