There's no doubt about it - when it comes to processed food, we live in a time of plenty. Those convenient, tasty meals and snacks are ALWAYS there for us when we need them...
...which make them nearly impossible to avoid.
However, if weight loss (or simply eating and moving a little better) is on your agenda right now, then you need to find a way to resist the comfort of those ready made bundles of joy - at least some of the time.
How do you do that? We have the answer.
Everywhere you turn, there they are.
Sandwiches and microwave burgers are ready-made and waiting for you.
Noodles are available in a pot.
Crisps, chocolates and "healthy" cereal bars are always easy to come by.
And those donuts look (and smell) ah-maaaazing...even through the plastic bag.
Yep, I'm talking about processed foods (and summing up around 90% of my teenage diet in the, erm, process).
They're readily available, heavily promoted and scientifically created to be all but irresistible. Seriously, the men in white coats spend a great deal of time making absolutely sure that these products hit our pleasure sensors HARD.
Plus, they just make our lives so much easier. Seriously, why spend hours preparing and cooking food when it's already there, ready and waiting for you to tuck in? More time to watch The Office? Yes please.
Why are processed foods a problem?
Well, as tasty and convenient as they are, most processed foods don't offer much when it comes to getting healthy nutrients into the body.
Sure, there a few that can be added as handy, ready-to-go contributors to a healthy diet (things like cold-pressed olive oil, frozen vegetables, canned tomatoes and yogurts are good examples).
And I'm certainly not recommending that you avoid processed food altogether. Because chances are that kind of approach will lead to a major fall off ye olde wagon and a head-first landing into some pretty disordered eating patterns.
Also because, well, pancakes.
Besides, APH nutrition coaching isn't about creating super-strict rules and saying stuff like "Processed food is going to kill you".
It's about finding a way to live a healthier life on your own terms, and creating better relationships - with food AND with your own body.
Still, no matter how you dress it up, most processed foods are bad news for us. Here are a few reasons why:
- They are usually high in calories, but low in nutrients
- They typically contain large amounts of sugar, salt and trans-fats (the type of fats that actually are bad for you)
- They make it hard for us to figure out when we are actually hungry...or full
- They are easy to over-eat
- They almost always leave us wanting more (again - this is how they have been designed. Curse you, science!)
Plus, the marketing is clever as hell.
Companies use all the "healthy" buzz-words.
Organic, paleo, gluten-free, vegan...
...you name it, it's on the box of some pre-made macaroni cheese in a store nearby.
Or they'll brag about the natural fruit juice used in their sweets/sugary drinks.
Or about how their crisps are "oven-baked" or whatever.
When you actually look at these foods, their nutrition profile is still pretty poor...but we somehow still feel like they're healthier options.
Then there are the celebrity endorsements, adorable cartoon characters, pictures of sweet old ladies...and all the other things that give us all the feels.
Then they tell us how they understand us.
How we need to take a break.
How we should...no...how we DESERVE to treat ourselves.
Is it really any wonder why we love them so much?
So how do we choose which ones stay and which ones go?
First off, you need to decide which processed foods and "treats" you truly value.
For me that's things like weekend pancake breakfasts with my awesome fiancée.
(In case you hadn't figured, I like pancakes).
Or meals out with family and friends.
On those occasions, I tend not to worry about the consequences of what I'm eating. I just enjoy the food, the company, and everything else that those special moments have to offer.
They matter to me. So I keep them, in balance, as treats.
Which treats do you really value?
Pizza and wine night with the girls?
A burger and a beer at the football?
You choose what's important to you, and keep it.
Then, figure out the ones you can do without.
The habitual afternoon flapjack at your desk. The cake and/or biscuits after dinner. The extra marshmallows on your whippa-frappa-dappa-doodle coffee.
Those kinds of things? They should probably go.
Take a moment and think about (or even better, write down) which foods fall into which sections.
Ok, so you've decided which foods you need to cut out of your life for good, and which ones you'll keep around. Now what?
"Thanks Dorian, but I already knoooooow the kinds of things I want to stop eating. I want to know HOW to stop eating them! Isn't that the point of this post??"
So, with out further ado, let me introduce...
The Kitchen Makeover
The concept is pretty simple:
Get rid of the unhealthy stuff you don't want to eat.
Make it difficult or impossible to access.
Get it out of your home, your life, and your mouth...
...and into the rubbish bin. Or at the very least somewhere you can' tsee it.
Re-fill your kitchen with as many nutritious, minimally processed foods as you can.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
- Beans & legumes
- Fresh fish, poultry and meat (if that's your thing)
After all, as John Berardi (Co-Founder of Precision Nutrition and total genius) states in Berardi's First Law:
"If a food is in your house or possession, either you, someone you love, or someone you marginally tolerate, will eventually eat it."
Wise words indeed.
Long story short: You'll eat better if you have healthier food in the house.
It sounds kind of simple right?
Still, I know that actually doing this can be difficult. There are a whole number of reasons not to. You might already be coming up with some of them for yourself:
But I really hate wasting food.
My husband/wife/kids/cat/uncle Albert likes these.
I don't need to do this. I can control myself. This chocolate is just here for special occasions. Like Wednesdays. Or days when my boss is being a moron."
They're all valid points. But let's be real here. None of them will help you or those around you eat better or live a healthier lifestyle.
So if it's not on the "this is really important to me" list you've already made...
...then it doesn't need to be in your house.
Out of sight, out of mind.
It's makeover time!
It's simple. But simple doesn't always mean easy.
Will you need to compromise with family members on certain items? Quite possibly.
You might need to have seperate shelves or cupboards for your stuff and their stuff.
You might need to reduce the quantities of certain foods without eliminating them altogether.
Hey, you might even need to do a little bit of negotiating with yourself.
But this is all about creating a healthier environment for yourself AND for the ones you love (or marginally tolerate) at your own pace.
And that's something that's worth doing.
Need help figuring out what to do next?
When life gets crazy and responsibilities at home and work pile on top of each other, it's easy to let our health and fitness slip. But for most of us? There comes a time where that needs to change.
Perhaps you already know what to do, but have a hard time staying consistent.
Or maybe you have no idea where to even start.
Our nutrition, movement & lifestyle coaching can help you.
Work with us, and you'll get:
- All of your complex nutritional goals broken down into small, easy-to-follow daily practices
- Every single workout planned for you, including both gym and at-home workout options to ensure you can stay active wherever you are
- All of the ninja-style mindset tactics you’ll ever need to learn to keep yourself on track when things get tough
- Absolutely no complex diet plans or calorie counting
- An expert coach that’s truly committed to helping you every single step of the way
- A promise that if you do everything we ask and still don’t get results, you’ll get a full refund
Seriously. Bring your A game. Give us your best. And if you don't get the results you're looking for? We'll give you back every penny you spent with us.
Find out more here.