Are You Listening to Your Body?
Last week we discusses how smart devices impact your training and why you don't need a fitness wearable to tell you if you slept well. If you missed it check out Episode 086 of our podcast. Today we are continuing the trend and discussing how tracking your food is unnecessary.
First off, I'm not against tracking food. I'm not for it as well. I believe it was created to help individuals who don't live an active lifestyle get a basis to help identify calories in versus calories out. I am against it being used for the eternity of your life.
The calorie was first discovered in the 1800s. I won't get into the whole process of how a calorie was discovered/invented but it involves heat (energy) to raise the temperature of water one degree by burning food that is surrounded by water.
Nowadays, diets are based on calories, macros, and lots of hard data. The problem is there is no hard data on how many calories we burn every day. We can only estimate. No matter how great your app, nutrition coach, or how well you stick to the plan of your diet you will never be 100% on how many calories you've burned or consumed.
Before the 1800s people ate food. When they felt full they stopped. How is it that we have more gyms and nutrition coaches, nutrition plans, and science than ever but have the highest obesity rate the world has ever faced. This seems counterproductive. What changed?
The industrial revolution happened and the introduction of heavy metals into our body and food. You can read more about this in the book "Medical Medium" by Anthony Williams. We started using more machines to do the work we did with our hands. This lead to less activity and an increase in processed foods, all which are contributors to obesity.
The technological age came which allowed us to stay home and be stagnant. Our bodies are like water. Stagnant water promoted disease and bacteria versus flowing water which helps filter and prevent disease and bacteria. Once again, we aren't utilizing the body the way it was build. This is why we do see more chronic disease, pain, obesity and discomfort.
Tracking food is relatively new and is great if you have a healthy relationship with food. If not, it can cause stress and anxiety. Cortisol levels increase under stress and tell the body to retain weight making it harder to lose the gut. Nutrition marketing is all about 6 week diets, lose 30 pounds in 30 days, etc. convincing the population that a healthy life is only 30 days of work. Social media advertises perfect bodies with six pack abs as the norm. This can't be further from the truth. Eating is not a chore, nor something we should stress about. It's healthy to carry body fat. Body fat regulates our hormones and we can dive into it as energy when we've burned up all the carbs in our system. Eating is part of our life until we die. We need to build a relationship with it like we do with our body.
Whether it's our physical appearance, the weight on the scale, our finances, relationships, career choices- they all can change. There are ups and downs. If we accept that it helps us take the necessary steps to choosing a more appropriate path to get us where we are going.
When I opened 7 years ago I weighed 200lbs. I went as high as 250lbs (on purpose), back down to 225lbs, up to 242lbs (not on purpose), down to 218lbs (on purpose with tracking) , and now I maintain 225lbs +/- 10lbs. I put on more muscle, leaned the body, put on fat, leaned out, and then found a comfortable balance of body fat and muscle.
Our weight sneaks up on us. Life happens and we have to live in the present. We can't dwell on the "I want to get back to my weight when I was 24." The number on the scale is just that, a number. I feel more comfortable with a few percent higher body fat with more muscle and eating habits that are easy to maintain while I enjoy all the foods I want in moderation.
When it comes down to it, tracking food is to help keep moderation in your life. We need to use tracking as a way to help us feel the way our body responds to food. Do I have energy? Am I starving or feeling full? How is my bathroom routine? We need to REViVE these habits so we can take those stressors away. We need to REBUiLD the way we naturally look and consumed food. We need to love food and realize it's the fuel for our one vehicle that allows us to perform everyday.
Starving yourself is only hurting you. Too much of a calorie/macros deficiency will zap your energy and motivation. Too much food leads us to feel lethargic and unmotivated. Telling yourself "I can't eat that because it is bad" is not healthy.
Ask yourself what is this food going to do for you. When you finish ask yourself how you feel. Do you feel stuffed or still hungry? How is my energy after I've eaten this food? These are simple questions to help you build a healthy relationship with food and stop relying on tracking your food.
"What you eat in private, you wear in public"