Stop Being Obsessed with Food

As a society, we are too interested in food.

We spend way too much time and money on thinking about what to eat, and posting pictures of food with recipes on Instagram. And then tens of thousands of people follow those people who post food on Instagram. Ridiculous.

Just eat, people. There doesn’t have to be so much discussion about it.

If you want to lose weight, research shows that ALL diets work if you stick with them. The problem is that few people can stick to their diet. Because diets are not sustainable. They are not designed to be sustainable. They are designed to make money.   

One of the reasons it’s hard to stick to most diets is because of their rigidity. Nearly all diets restrict something and many diets restrict a lot of things. When people exercise a lot, the extra calories they burn give them more flexibility with food intake, so they’re not relying so much on rigid changes in eating habits. They can eat a few chocolate chip cookies and it won’t destroy their weight loss goals. If people don’t exercise, which they don’t in America, their diet becomes everything; no chocolate chip cookies allowed. And therein lies the problem. Because people like chocolate chip cookies. So do I. They’re yummy.

When is someone going to figure out how to make kale salad taste like chocolate cake? Wolfgang Puck, are you listening? Now that will be a diet that everyone can follow for the rest of their lives.

One of my academic colleagues is a nutrition and metabolism professor at Kansas State University who, for a class project, went on a Twinkle diet for 10 weeks and lost 27 pounds (I tell his story in my forthcoming book). How did that happen? Because he ate fewer calories of junk food than of the more healthy food he was eating before the diet. As he lost weight, his body fat dropped from 33.4 percent to 24.9 percent, and his body mass index dropped from 28.8 to 24.9. And traditional markers of his health improved—his “bad” LDL cholesterol dropped by 20 percent, his “good” HDL cholesterol increased by 20 percent, and his triglycerides, which are a measure of fat in the bloodstream, dropped by 39 percent.

I’m not suggesting you stuff your face with Twinkies and Ding Dongs every day, but truth is, if you do the physical work and train your butt off, all of the food you eat, no matter what that food is, will be used as fuel. None of it will collect on your ass.

Only in America is the philosophy to eat first and then work. We say things like, “I have to go to the gym tomorrow to work off this meal.” When physical work comes before food rather than the other way around, your health and your life will change for the better. View the food you consume as your nutrition plan to fuel and recover from your workouts and you’ll never have to go on a diet again.

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