Chronic Deprivation?

So we’ve established you’re not on a diet. We know that. You’ve made a lifestyle change. Cool. There is a huge difference and you know that now.  You’re learning…

So what’s up with all the 30 day diets?

I remember when I was a little kid, watching people eat shit I wouldn’t allow myself to eat, thinking when is my turn? I recognized the absurdity of a “diet” when I was young, maybe 9 or 10, and knew that I had to do this forever, not just temporarily.  Was I unlucky enough to be cursed with a lifetime of deprivation? That seems so harsh. Could I be so unlucky? It took me about 15 years to answer this.

Happiness is always the ultimate goal. If you are unhappy with the mirror, most likely you are unhappy with your life.  But staring at someone eat, green with envy, constantly worried, constantly hungry, constantly deprived…that’s not very happy either.

I’m here today to tell you people you don’t have to choose between being fat or constantly deprived. You don’t have to chose between unhappy and unhappy.

You just have to not want the things you don’t really want.

I used to slam some fast food. Now McDonald’s disgusts me. I don’t feel deprived at all that I don’t eat it. Quite the opposite, actually. I feel blessed that I am disgusted with McDonalds.  Mt. Dew disgusts me.  I see my clients drink it and I get a queasy stomach, my teeth feel grainy from the sugar I imagine nestled on my teeth.

You get the point.

It’s not all easy. I’m getting there. Ice cream still looks pretty yummy and doughnuts still smell pretty good, but it’s getting easier. I think of the spike in my blood sugar, the insulin, the bloated feeling, the inflammation, the feeling of failure, the cravings for more after having just a little…etc. It makes it easier to turn it from something I am not allowed to have to something I don’t want to have. Deprivation Free.

I truly do not want to eat anything that isn’t good for me, anymore. I am not deprived; I am not waiting for my diet to end. I am just eating, lifting and living and it’s fucking liberating.  I’m not so jealous of the people eating cake anymore. I feel bad for them because they are as trapped as I used to be.

I’ve had a lot of jealousy issues. Clearly, I’ve loved food my whole life. I have always been so mad that I HAD to be on a diet; that everything in my life seemed to revolve around something some people just didn’t have to worry about. It’s a lot for me to deal with, as a child and now. I lost a lot to this fight, but gained so much more in the end. I thank God every day that I have this wonderfully slow metabolism and chronic perfectionism tied together. I would have never cared about fitness or nutrition if it didn’t spawn from my desire to be skinny. And look what it has turned into! My life, my passion, my goals,my dreams -all have stemmed from my continued failures.

Eliminate bullshit from your life, my friends. Bullshit of all kinds. You’ll only end up with awesome once the bullshit is gone…and it is so liberating.

Core Values and CrossFit

Life values I’ve learned from CrossFit and why I want to introduce CrossFit to everyone:

Integrity…Goals…Excuses…Confidence…Truth…Equality…etc, etc…

It’s weird when I try to explain to people how much I’ve learned about life from a nutrition/fitness program….maybe I can explain a little better…

When I first made my blog about my personal challenge of this 30 day diet, I said that it was hard for me to post this so publicly but doing so helps keep me accountable.

So there I was a few days later, sizing up my (whatever I wanted to eat), looking for an excuse to make it ok, I realized I would have to push back the entire experiment, admit failure to everyone and look like a weak person. I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to look like a weak person after making such a strong and public declaration. And I have people who read my blog tell me they respect my will power. I didn’t want to let them down. I knew, if I’m going to eat this, I’m just going to have to lie about it. I have to appear like a person of integrity.

WAIT….
Why am I aspiring to LOOK like a strong willed person? Why am I aspiring to LOOK like a person of integrity? I don’t want that. I want to BE a person of integrity.

Because, people sense genuine, and people know bullshit.

I sucked at double unders. It took me about a year and a half to get more than 3 together. I would complain about them, how I’m not meant to be good at them, how they were just never going to come to me, everyone knew I hated them. I went to Rogue and got a custom rope. I would “work” on them after the WOD. I would do a few, stand around, do a few, talk to the homeless people, try a few more, look around, get pissed off, and then call it a day. Then one day it started raining, I was in the parking lot across the street from the gym fumbling around with my rope, and it was a pretty quiet day. A few people were working out but no one was really outside or walking around to see me. I had no one to validate the fact that I was trying to be better at double unders. I had no reason to continue.

Hmmm…wait a minute. Why am I more concerned that people SEE ME attempting these than I am actually getting them down? I’m faking it! I’m just looking for people to validate that it’s not my fault I suck at these, and It’s ok, at least I’m trying. I got pissed at myself. I was shocked and embarrassed of my own childish behavior and excuses I didn’t even realize I was making. Do I want to be a good athlete, or do I want to appear like a dedicated athlete? …because I’m sure as shit not becoming a better athlete from standing around here trying to make people feel sorry for me, and feeling sorry for myself.

Feeling sorry for yourself or encouraging other people to feel sorry for you is completely and utterly pointless.

I emailed someone I respect a lot about diet, my biggest vice. I needed help. It just wasn’t working for me. I need his secrets. He said ‘cool, tell me what you’re eating and I’ll get back to you.’ I quickly logged on my online food journals and erased all the McDonalds I ate 3 weeks ago. I left some stuff out; moments of weakness I didn’t want documented, for myself or others, on display. And I waited; I waited for him to say “I don’t know, man, everything looks good. Poor you, you are doing all the right things.”

…and I waited. And I waited and about 6 weeks later I hadn’t heard from him and I finally was able to email him to admit I was a fraud. He forced me, unknowingly, to self-reflect on my diet. It wasn’t his secret knowledge I needed. It was someone to call my bullshit. I wanted people to feel sorry for me because I felt sorry for myself. I just wanted my efforts validated, and that was getting me NO WHERE.

So I called my own bullshit.

Ask yourself, have I really, truly done EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to achieve my goal. If I were to look back on what it is that DIDN’T get me there, and eliminated it, would I be successful? Is it worth it? Do I want that thing that is standing in my way more than I want my goal?

And if you ever get there, if you can look back and say I have tired 100% absolute hardest I know how and didn’t achieve my goal, you were never supposed to. Either that or life is forcing you to further educate yourself. Challenges are a gift. Embrace what you learned and move on.

Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Don’t want other people to feel sorry for you either. As coy as you think you might be, you’re probably just annoying. Don’t get jealous, get better. Life’s not fair, deal with it. Learn to recognize excuses. They are sometimes hidden. And be you. Don’t lie to others or yourself.  Fuck people who judge you. They don’t matter. Friends are always quality over quantity. Don’t fill up your life with bullshit; it takes away from the awesome. And you only have so much time.

Being true to who you are, being truthful to yourself and others, being happy with who you are—it is liberating. And people know. You can’t fake being a genuine person. It just doesn’t ever work.

Fasting Experiences

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Fasting, outside of the metabolic benefits, is good for the psyche too. Like everything I blog about, I learned this from my own experience.

I learned that we, as humans, tend to freak the fuck out when we are hungry. I know I do. Being hungry sucks. But it’s really OK to be hungry, it’s normal. And the worry, the fear, the “OMG I have low blood sugar, I’m in a catabolic state, my stomach is growling, I need to get something to hold me over”, is just you being dramatic. I promise, you’ll be alright.

Do you really think that caveman were able to satisfy their hunger immediately all the time? Do you think they woke up with available bacon every morning?  Do you think they got a snack to “hold them over” until dinner? Do you think they had a guaranteed dinner every night? Do you think that the fishing/hunting was any easier for them because they had a hard workout that day?

I know, I know. Mr. Caveman probably didn’t look at a tree log on the ground and think “hm…I think I’m going to thrust this 21 times, and then pull my body up over this tree and then do it again 15 times and then 9 times and not stop until I vomit or die” I get it. Competitive athletes should eat more than caveman did, but you still should eat like a human.

I have been struggling with skipping breakfast on weekends and days when I don’t have to go directly to work upon waking up. I wake up and I want breakfast. That has been my schedule for 24 years. So last week I took a day off work and had to fast until 2 pm so I could get my blood taken to test my cholesterol. I woke up about 6 like normal and wanted bacon, like normal. I started to search for a justification to have bacon. Anything, anything…common there has to be some reason TODAY is the day I break my rules and eat bacon right when I wake up. But I remembered I HAD to fast. It wasn’t even my choice. At this point I was relieved, no guilt, no decisions, no consequences, no excuses, no failed diet, no deprivation, just no…and bacon…at 3 pm like I was supposed to do. I made it just fine without my breakfast.

Do you ever wonder why people who are diagnosed with severe allergies and will die from peanuts usually don’t have any problem not eating peanuts, although peanut butter addicts just can’t seem to break the habit?

Stop giving your willpower a choice. Don’t walk into work, see doughnuts on the table and look for a reason why it’s ok. Just don’t even think about it. I promise you’ll be ok.

Hunger pains and sugar cravings are a lot alike. And both go away if you ignore them.

Habits, good or bad, are hard to break. The more you say no the easier it becomes and the more you make excuses to make it ok the harder it becomes to even recognize the excuse. Relieve yourself from the pressure of failure. Just avoid it and do what you should, when you should. Whatever that may be.

Acquired Taste

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One of the many things I hear my clients regularly say that makes me want to punch something is “We don’t like water.” How do you not LIKE water?!?! It doesn’t taste like anything. You’re a HUMAN! You drink water. But let’s be real, it’s not that you don’t like the taste of water, you just like the taste of Mountain Dew better.

I have clients tell me all the time that their child will eat chicken nuggets but doesn’t “like” baked or grilled chicken. I have even heard that they love McDonald’s but don’t “like” Wendy’s chicken nuggets. How much do you want to bet the kid just likes the toy at McDonald’s better?

Trying new foods can be legitimately kind of scary. And to a child every food is new.  And almost every time you try something new (unless it is a new kind of ice cream) you are probably not going to like it. Especially if it fails to meet your expectations of what it is going to taste like.  And food eaten with a biased tongue is always gross…hence th e children who don’t like Wendy’s chicken nuggets.

When I first tried almond milk I didn’t like it as much as cow’s milk and unsweetened almond milk took some effort to acquire a taste for too. Now I don’t mind it. But now I don’t even need it. Now it’s a treat.

I was a Splenda and milk whore in my coffee every morning. You can ask any of my co-workers.  I put like 5 Splenda and a quarter of my cup was milk. I slowly transitioned to Truvia (someone said it was better) and almond milk, to Truvia and unsweetened almond milk, to just unsweetened almond milk, to coconut milk, to unsweetened coconut milk to just black coffee.  I used to want so badly to like black coffee, back in the Splenda whore days. I remember trying it and being so grossed out.   But I made an effort to and now I do. Now, every time I order black coffee it’s a little victory.

I acquired a taste for pure, unsweetened chocolate. It doesn’t taste anything like a Hershey’s bar. And the first time I ate it, I literally gaged, expecting something else I associated with chocolate.  But it’s so yummy with some raw almonds.  I love it now.

I used to be a ketchup whore, too. I switched to lower sugar ketchup, which was really expensive, so I started making my own with cherry tomatoes and vinegar,which was very time consuming and annoying. So one day I skipped it and my eggs were fine without it. Now I don’t mind the lack of sweetness with my eggs, hamburger meat, whatever. I acquired a taste for it. And I stopped acting like a child wanting a treat.

You are not a child. We are all spoiled. Food is fuel. Nutrition should be the number one reason we make food selections. Not flavor.  It’s fine to eat meals that are fine. Not every meal has to be covered in your favorite flavors. Try new things, try them again. Stop adding bad shit to good shit. Something that tastes fine and gives your body what it needs is fuel. A meal that has extra shit added to make it taste better is a treat.

How often are you treating yourself?