You may have heard the phrase: you are what you eat. When I was about five years old, I was deathly afraid that I was going to spontaneously transform into a giant grape after my grandma once told me, “If you keep eating those grapes, you’re going to turn into one!” But the point is, not all food is created equal. Some are better than others, and what quality of food you give your body greatly affects the quality of your health.
One of the greatest examples I can think of in my own life was in high school during Basketball season. For away games, we were fed on the way to the game so that we had some fuel to “blast away” our opponents. And also for our coach’s benefit. After all, hungry teenagers aren’t the most pleasant to be around. Oh yes, it was pure genius to feed our team…Chick-Fil-A (CHICK-FIL-A?!?!). Yes, you heard me correctly. Or rather, read correctly. Our pre-game meal consisted of a fried chicken sandwich, fruit bowl, and brownie. Sure, fruit is good, but the rest of the meal was pretty nutrient deprived. Meal of champions? Our team rarely won games. Surprise, surprise. Of course, the food alone wasn’t to blame. But it sure didn’t help. Our team looked sloppy and lethargic on the court, and I know my stomach wasn’t very happy about having to digest all that grease while I was running around everywhere.
On the flip side, nutrient dense foods give the body what it needs in order to operate to the highest capacity it can. When the body doesn’t get what it needs, it’s not like you’re going to keel over and die immediately, right? The show must go on. But you’ll find that after you eat nutrient dense foods for a while (fruits, vegetables, yada yada) your body feels so much more energized that you stop craving the greasy fried foods as much. Notice how I say “after a while.” That’s because a lot of our guilty pleasures we like to eat with lots of sugar and salt are highly addicting. So just like you can’t assume a smoker will be able to go cold turkey without having any cravings, it’s unrealistic to assume that slice of cake won’t be tempting.
Just focus on one small step at a time. If you tend to get overwhelmed easily, just incorporate things like whole grains, lean meats, fruits, and veggies over time, and before you know it, you won’t have room for as many Doritos as you did before. Or if you want to just go for the plunge and make a drastic change, try and find someone to keep you accountable and motivated to stick with it. What works for some people doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. What is important is that you find what works for you. Be good to your body and give it what it needs to operate at its full potential. You are what you eat, so eat healthy.