Food Matters | Why Quality Counts Part 1
When I first started flexible eating, I didn’t care about the quality of my food. As many of you have heard me talk about before, I lost the first 10lbs. on my journey eating an abundance of Cinnamon Toast Crunch…I know some people might think this is open to debate, but Cinnamon Toast Crunch is THE best breakfast cereal out there. FACT.
Like I said, it was working. For the first time in my life I was eating foods I loved and not just losing weight, but forging a happier and healthier relationship with food. Prior to that if I was going to eat mac n’ cheese or a slice of pizza it was either part of a well thought out and executed “cheat” meal or part of a binge that left me feeling guilty AF after.
Like a rebellious teenager who does exactly the opposite of what he’s been told to do, I started rejecting quality foods and began regularly eating foods that I used to avoid or binge on. Basically any food that came in a package or was loaded with sugar! I actually began seeing improvements in my body, my performance, the scale, and most importantly to me at the time, the mirror! Why did I need to care about quality?!
My friends, my family, members of my CrossFit affiliates, couldn’t believe it. I was always decent at CrossFit, I could hang with the best at any box, but I never looked the part, I never felt like my body was a reflection of all of the hard work and training I was putting in.
Flexible eating was changing my life! It was so liberating to be able to go out with friends and enjoy food for the first time without shame or guilt after. I was eating carbs and not hating myself, I even had a few drinks here and there. Friends and members noticed and became curious about what I was doing.
“How can you be eating donuts and lose weight?! Tell us what your secret is!” Like I was holding back on some magical pills that I’d stumbled across.
The very first person I helped was my friend Jess. Jess owned the yoga studio I went to, The Hot Yoga Spot in Albany, New York. One day she saw me walking out of a Bikram class with my shirt off and she finally said, “help me!”
Now Jess is a vegetarian and she had always struggled with weight loss. As she found herself becoming busier and busier with the growth of her yoga studios, she found herself eating out nearly every day. Her go to was P.F. Changs and I can’t blame her, I love me some Mongolian Beef!
We sat down in the lobby of her studio and I had her download MyFitnessPal. We figured out her numbers and then I had her start slowly by simply keeping track of what she was eating with no stress about trying to hit any numbers. We discovered pretty quickly that she was eating about the number of calories I wanted her to eat, but from a far different ratio of macronutrients.
Once she saw what was happening, she was able to sit down and figure out what types of food she ate had more protein and less fat and make some simple adjustments to her daily meals. Within a few days she was ecstatic, feeling great, already losing weight and still eating out. She continued to be vegetarian and focus her diet on plant-based foods.
Flash forward six years and Jess is still tracking, looking and feeling better than ever and she even had a baby along the way…she looks better post-partum than she did when she started.
So what does this have to do with quality foods? Well as you can see, in the beginning my primary focus was on getting the right quantity of foods in my diet every day and focusing on that alone seemed to be getting me the results I wanted. I rejected quality foods because they were what had lead me to gain weight in the past. Of course it wasn’t the fact that I was eating good quality foods that caused me to gain weight, it was the fact that I was eating TOO MUCH of them, or actually that I was eating the right amount of them but in a way that caused me to feel deprived and that lead me to binge on the foods I was restricting.
At a certain point though, I was forced to shift my mindset and focus. Check in later this week and I’ll tell you what happened as a result of eating like an a$$hole!…