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Tuesday
Dec022014

Food Ramblings

Food is a problem for a lot of people, myself included. As a former, mostly-reformed, fatty there is something so alluring about the taste of fast food, ice cream, candy, and all the junk that isn't food and we shouldn't be eating. I've had a few major slip ups lately, more than just Thanksgiving, so I wanted to write out some thoughts (ramblings?) about food.

There are some people who say you can't judge food, there is no good food or bad food, you can't call one food healthy and another unhealthy... these are people who are trying to justify eating shit food. Most food available in stores today wasn't even invented until the 1970s and after. Go back and watch That 70s Show and see them reference these new foods coming out - popsicles, chips, frozen dinners, microwave foods. Prior to that all that was available was real whole natural foods, and everything was healthier. Was there apple pie? Sure, but it was likely more fruit and natural sugar and less added sugar as that is what people were used to. A lot of what is available today isn't even real food.

Humans are omnivores and evolved to seek out the highest calorie foods which include fat, sugar, and salt. Fruit would be available during limited times of the year, and fructose helps you to store fat, so humans would gorge themselves on limited quantites and put on additional body fat to prepare for the winter. Super, this helped us to stay alive. Fast forward to today when food companies hire food scientists to design foods that specifically trigger our basest desires - fat, sugar, salt.'

Between this, the increasing prominence of emotional eating, and the fact that food is available everywhere we have to take a lot more personal responsibility about what we eat, when we eat, how much we're eating, and why we're eating.

WHAT

Food quality is a touchy subject, so let's simplify by saying vegetables, meat, and eggs are basically all good. Fruit should be eaten in moderation, and I personally think only during certain times of the year. Rice, bean, and potato consumption should be based on personal tolerance, goals, macros, and necessity. Basically everything else should be avoided as best as possible. So last week when I ate mass quantites of McDonalds, Arby's, frozen pizza, and Taco Bell in just a few days, that wasn't such a good idea.

WHEN

I don't know what happened, where the idea of needing to snack all day came from, but it is getting out of control. Starvation mode is a myth unless you are literally starving. If you've eaten in the last 7 days and have more than 10% body fat, as far as you should be concerned starvation mode is not real. If you eat 3 meals a day that is more than enough, even 2 is plenty, and even 1 is sufficient. Only if you are a scrawny hard gainer (and likely a teenager) is there any world where you need to eat 4 to 6 to 8 times or more a day. Get your shit together, plan your meals, eat at the same time every day if you need to.

HOW MUCH

If you are trying to lose weight and can't, you are eating too much. If you've lost weight, you might not get to eat as much if you want to keep it off. You need to calculate your shit. Figure out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) or the number of calories you burn just from existing and laying in bed or whatever, then figure out your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) and knock off 500kcal a day and maintain it every day. You can cut more if you want, if you can handle it, but a lot of people say they get too hungry, if you're an athlete or work out regularly your performance might suffer. Just remember if you think about a cheat day, if you're cutting 500kcal a day and maintenance on the cheat day that's only a 3000kcal a week deficit (less than a pound a week). If you overeat or indulge on your cheat day and eat at maintenance+1000kcal that's only 2000kcal a week deficit which would be barely a pound of fat loss every two weeks. You can try to move more, and you should move more, this can help supplement your deficit, but for a 180lb person running a 5k in 25 minutes (my best 5k was 26:22, so that would be tough for me especially in an untrained state):

 

Distance:
3.1 miles
Duration:
00:25:00
Pace:
8:04 / mile
Calories Burned:
422
Calorie Burn Rates:
136.13 / mile
1,012.8 / hour
16.88/ minute

 

422 kcal. That's less than in a single Hostess Cherry Pie. Don't reward yourself for running or working out, you're probably undoing all the work you just did.

WHY

Whenever you feel hungry or want to eat, one thing you can do is HALT and decide if you are:

 

  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired

 

If you are experiencing any of these feelings in conjunction with hunger when you know you've eaten recently you need to be consciously aware of and mindful of these feelings, and acknowledge that you are not actually hungry, rather it's a way of coping with these feelings.

Thirst can also be misinterpreted as hunger, so whenever you are hungry try drinking some water and wait 20 minutes before eating again.

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