Hi my name is Casey, this might sound odd coming from a guy as I know men and women are different with nutrition but I wanted some tips on healthy eating. And someone who has been on both sides I felt would give the best advice. How did you help train yourself to stick on the healthy eating habits. What did you start out with?
Hi! Whilst everyone’s bodies may require different amounts of macro nutrients, men definitely suffer from their own share of body bullshit. They get fed the masculinity myth – the idea that they have to be strong and silent, macho and dominant, and always top dog. This can have some catastrophic affects, that can be seen throughout society at large.
First off, I would recommend you to define what healthy eating habits are and why you want to stick to them. Are you overweight, and your health is at risk? Do you want to get more out of life and this will happen through being fitter? This is ok. Or do you want to lose weight because you think you should be more ripped, skinnier, or different looking? Do you currently hate yourself for the way you look? This is not ok.
I set about implementing ‘healthy’ eating habits because I had swallowed the lies that I was overweight. I wanted to work with clients who demanded an extreme body shape, so I jumped into a long list of lies to myself. I trained myself to exist on much less nutrition than needed, to cut out entire food groups, and to over exercise. I got so used to these ‘healthy’ eating habits that I forgot what it felt like to be hungry, or to be full. And every week or so these ‘healthy’ eating habits would implode into a day of crazed binging – where I would eat every ‘healthy’ vegan junk food to extreme. In the spirit of full disclosure, I never did purge. There was a deep part of me that really wanted to eat all the food, and I never experienced guilt after a binge episode. There was one deep, stubborn part of me that was determined for me to eat and to get well. So I would eat, LOVE IT, then wake up the next day and resume my minimal nutrition diet.
So that is how I started out. I went so far in one direction that I endangered my health quite intensely. I set into play some serious mental demons that had been lying dormant for quite some time, and demons that I still struggle with daily to put to rest. But acknowledging them is the first step to learning to live with them. And I am so scared of giving them back their control that I am extremely diligent with my control and food choices these days.
Once I made the decision to start eating properly, funnily enough I didn’t go insane with it. I didn’t go on some wild binge. In fact, binges stopped existing in my world because I was no longer fighting my bodies need for real food. Dessert started coming into my life a night or two a week, and while this is still a bit of a mental sticking point, it is slowly getting easier. It tastes so good, that I kind of can’t be bothered with thinking too deeply about it anymore. I think what has really helped me stand on my own two feet with food is how damn good real food tastes. I cannot describe just how awesome the first bite of a mango is after four years abstinence from all fruit. Eating something as simple as avocado sushi, quinoa or a salad WITH salad dressing on it is incredible. Carbohydrates are not the enemy. Don’t even get me started on peanut butter. These are not foods to be avoided, they are good and nourishing for you. And whilst in the beginning it was hard to stop eating them, it never progressed into a full blown binge. Because I gave myself permission to eat them whenever I wanted to.
So I guess my advice as to implementing healthy eating habits would be the following. I go by how the oldest lived people in the world eat. It is mostly plants, grains and beans. They drink a little. They eat a little dessert. And they live forever. This is not by them making a strict decision to be low carb, or paleo, or high fat, or vegan. They just eat food that is grown from the ground, in its most natural state. I am not a fan of meat, and lactose intolerant, so I am plant-based. The rest of the time I eat foods that I recognize and love the taste of. I do not avoid food groups, I just make sure that I am making the best choice for my health with regards to those groups. This means sourdough bread over wonderbread, quinoa or oats over sugar cereal and wild or brown rice over white (but this one I am not as fussed about).
And if I do eat some of the lesser quality foods? Who cares. I enjoy the taste and freedom of not being stuck in an eating rut. I truly do love food and to eat. Sometimes the fries (sweet potato for me) is just what you need. But I do try to avoid eating lower quality foods and sugar every single day. Because it doesn’t leave me feeling energetic and full of life. And it makes my skin break out.
If you make the higher nutritional quality choice more often, you will slowly train your taste buds to want it. I always have the foods I want to eat in the house. I have learned to cook, and love making up my own recipes. Of course the mars bar will always taste better than the lara bar. But I don’t usually feel too good after a candy bar. Lara bars make me feel energetic and happy. And that has guided me into making healthier choices in the moment.
Follow your gut. It will tell you everything you need to know! The concept of intuitive eating always seemed like a pipe dream to me. I destroyed my intuition through years of struggling to hit the unrealistic body expectations placed on me. But our bodies want to find their healthy weight, and all the energy and thriving that comes from this place. It was surprisingly easy once I let go of the control and handed the steering wheel to my intuition to reclaim my health and energy.
Final point – start meditating. It teaches you to look inwards and pay attention to your bodies cues. When we know what we need, it is extremely easy and gratifying to follow and honor it.
I hope this helps you 😀 Allow yourself to guide you.
I Dictate My Road.
Peace and love,