I’m an avid watcher of The Biggest Loser TV show. Although it can be incredibly frustrating to watch at times, I love seeing these people transform their lives. They start out as these incredibly sad, broken people, and through time they are on the show, they begin to find themselves. They end the show with smiles you can’t wipe from their faces and an undeniable healthy glow.
Although their individual stories may differ, they have one thing in common (besides being overweight), and that is how they got to be overweight and sick. In the second week of the show, the contestants sit with a doctor and their medical conditions are discussed. They all end the same way, the contestant is in tears saying “I don’t know how I got here.” It’s really very heartbreaking. The truth is, it’s very clear how they “got there,” they just aren’t able to see it yet. In reality, even the tiniest decisions you make every day are what gets you “there,” it didn’t happen overnight. However, most of the contestants are in denial and aren’t ready to take responsibility for their actions. It is their own actions that got them “here,” but many fail to see it for many weeks. It is a true turning point when you see these people start to “get it.”
The way many people think about food is what begins their path to self-destruction. “It’s only one donut;” “I have been really good today;” “I worked out this morning;” These are dangerous ways of thinking. It is difficult for many people to draw a definitive line once these statements begin. It’s also difficult to keep track of how often you’re using them as excuses to eat something you know you should not. Instead of thinking about this donut as a reward for a good workout, think about what type of food your body requires to rebuild and repair the muscles you’ve broken down. The answer is probably not a donut. Or maybe you haven’t worked out yet. Instead of thinking “It’s okay, I am allowed to eat this donut because I’ll work it off tonight,” think about what type of food your body needs to fuel it through a good, hard workout. Again, probably not a donut. I will get more into what to eat before/during/after workouts in future posts, but a major shift in thinking is required first.
Another issue with this last statement is the word “allowed.” In this country, we typically treat the foods that are killing us as rewards. What would you say if after a workout I said “Great job today, now you are allowed to eat foods that will eventually kill you”? You’d look at me like I was crazy, right? Well, that’s essentially what is happening. Foods such as ice cream, candy, donuts and other pastries, fried and fatty foods, etc. are deemed as “treats.” How are people so shocked that childhood obesity is at an all-time high? Or that for the first time in history, our children will not outlive us. Are you ready to bury your child? Harsh, I know, but this HAS to be addressed. Our kids get all their homework done on time, or receive excellent grades on their report cards, and to reward them we give them foods that not only will make them sick eventually, but are also incredibly addicting. We try so hard to teach our children to stay away from drugs, but do you know how many “drugs” or chemicals are in processed foods like cheese puffs, doritos, oreos and other snacks they consume every day? These foods are manufactured to be addicting, and it works! If you offer your child one of these snacks, will they turn it away and ask for carrots instead? Probably not. We have to teach them how to make healthy foods something they’ll actually want to eat. But again, that’s another post.
In short, if you want to make changes to your body, you’ll first need to make changes to your mind. When you start to look at things like donuts and candy as things that make you sick, you start to want them less and less. The more sweets you eat, the more sweets you will crave. Don’t give in to those sugar cravings, it’s bad news! As you begin to eat healthier, you will begin to crave healthier food. Think about food as fuel, and that will help aid your shift in thinking. This will take time, so be patient with yourself. If you slip, ask yourself why, don’t ignore your actions, deal with them. You shouldn’t abandon your goals altogether because you “slipped”, nor should you beat yourself up about it, but you absolutely cannot ignore it. Ignoring the bad choices we make during the day is exactly what will get you “there.”
Peace, love and healthy thoughts,