Many of the decisions we make in life are made while on auto-pilot. Humans tend to be creatures of habit and after years or decades of choosing the same foods, the same restaurants, the same routines, we rarely even realize what we are eating on a daily basis.
This simple fact is the culprit behind the slow build-up of weight and body fat over time. We visit the same burger place twice a week, have pizza another two times per week, get the same soda at the gas station every day, and mindlessly go through an entire bag of potato chips while watching TV.
When we want to make better choices, however, we don’t even know what our options are because we haven’t thought about it in years. This is why I am such an ardent advocate of keeping a food log.
As I’ve mentioned in other articles already:
Awareness breeds better choices.
Have you been logging your meals in MyFitnessPal? Or in another app? Or in a notebook? How has that simple task changed the way you eat?
Personally, when I first started logging my meals years ago, I quickly realized that I was consistently making bad choices. No one explained it to me. No one showed me. I just noticed it. I would start ordering pizza and then remember I would have to log it, which would remind me I had eaten pizza twice that week already.
I was learning what I was eating. Because before I started logging my food, I didn’t know what was I eating.
We do so many things on auto-pilot and eating is certainly one of them. I advocate for food logging because it teaches us about what we eat, which then leads us to making better choices.
Once I would remember that I had already eaten pizza twice that week, I would choose to eat a salad, or a sandwich, or cook up some chicken with rice and vegetables. Knowing that I had eaten pizza already caused me to choose to eat something healthier.
To me, that is the key to starting a sustainable change in our daily nutrition. Everything else anyone could teach you comes after you’ve gained control over your daily eating habits. So log your food as often as you can and be mindful of what you choose for your next meal.
An important note:
As I go farther down this series of articles, I wanted to address something that is absolutely crucial to anyone’s weight-loss or nutritional journey.
Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Sure, making meaningful changes takes dedication and an adherence to the plan, but if you beat yourself up every time you fall off the wagon, the stress alone can be enough to negate any efforts you make.
Remember, weight gain, like weight loss, happens over time. It takes consistency to gain weight. If you have a slice of cheesecake or a burger, it will not derail the entire project. If you are more consistent about eating healthy than the contrary, you will see results. Aim for that.
We’re all doing our best. Be patient and compassionate towards yourself, just like you would be for a friend or family member.
You got this!