Eating For Performance Not Pleasure by Caitlin Johnson
Eating is essential to life and the basis for much of our
interaction. What time should I eat? When should I eat? What should I
eat? How much time do I have to eat? What would be the fastest meal?
What should I eat? Whatís available to eat? There are social occasions
for meals; like getting together with friends or family, meetings,
celebrations, work situations, etc. At times it seems like our culture
is preoccupied with eating and enjoying everything we put in our
mouths. There are even emotions that make us want to eat like
happiness, depression, enjoyment, frustration, etc. Food nurtures us
and we let our emotions drive us to indulge, at times picking the wrong
foods to consume. Then our society asks ďWhy are Americanís so fatĒ?
ďWhy is our obesity rate so high leading to cardiovascular diseaseĒ?
The answer is simple; food is essential to live and at times is the
only thing that keeps our bodies going. Now with that answer, let me
expand a little. Yes, healthy food is essential to live. Unhealthy food
is not essential to live but is overwhelmingly prevalent in our
society. Just because we must eat to live does not mean to eat
unhealthy foods or to overindulge. Eating cheeseburgers from McDonalds
is not going to help you in any way. When thinking about eating we must
think about what is going to help us get through our hectic days. Extra
large portions of the wrong food choices will not give you the energy
you need; besides the fact that it will add the extra pounds we should
keep off. The right portion and right choice of food will give you so
much more energy. A good source of lean protein like chicken, turkey or
fish with some green veggies will make you feel so much better.
When Iím hungry, in my mind I think, ďEat for performance not for
pleasure.Ē Thatís how Iíve achieved such great results and transformed
my body. A cheeseburger and fries is not going to give me the energy I
need to run track because itís heavy and will only make me sluggish.
What will give me energy to run track is a serving of oatmeal and some chicken with veggies; maybe some fruit
too if I need a burst of energy. Now I know weíre not all running track
so this may not apply to you. What does apply to you is the mindset.
For example: youíre working really hard at your job, running to
meetings, and you realize itís lunchtime. The two things your mind says
are, ďI need food and I need it fastĒ. Most people think they need a
bunch of sugary carbs to keep them going, not realizing that choice
will only make you tired because theyíll spike your blood sugar and
then make you crash. The best choice would be something light with a
good source of protein. Protein will fill you up and make that hunger
go away while veggies will add essential vitamins to give you the
energy you need. If you need a fast pick me up with this meal, eat a
piece of fruit like an apple or pear because the fruit will give your
body the sugar it needs to bring the energy level back. It will meet
your needs for performance and will make you feel better, knowing you
made a good choice instead of unhealthy one.
Eating for performance will help you reach your goals and give you the
confidence to get the most out of life. When you eat for pleasure only, itís not truly pleasurable because of
the guilt that comes with a meal like a donut or fast food. It may
taste great for the amount of time it takes you to eat it. Then what
happens; guilt for eating the food, low energy, water retention, and
low self- esteem. Is 5-10 minutes of pleasure really worth all the
negative feelings that come after eating it? Eating right raises
confidence, which raises better feelings. When you feel good about
yourself, nothing can bring you down.
Eating healthy does not mean eating food you dislike. You can eat
enjoyable meals that are good for you. Personally, as an athlete my
focus is to eat the meal that will give me the energy to train and get
the results I want. I donít really think too much about how it tastes,
but I do have my preferences in each category. For example, I like
lettuce and green beans for green veggies. With complex carbohydrates I
prefer oat bran to oatmeal or yams to rice. With fruit and diary, which
I love, Iíll eat pretty much any kind (but donít intake much because of
show dieting). In lean protein I eat chicken, protein powder, fat free
ground turkey or tuna. With fats I only take in essential ones that my
body needs such as 100% natural peanut butter, omega-3 Ėsalmon or
supplement, avocado, mixed nuts, etc. I donít take in any saturated
fats unless itís a special occasion.
Also itís important to remember no oneís perfect. I do not believe you
should never give yourself a treat or make your diet so clean it would
be impossible to follow. Eat right for you and your body; for
performance 90% and letting yourself go 10% of the time. If itís your
birthday, celebrate and have a piece of cake! When making a goal set it
for success not for failure. At Christmas, I eat chocolates! My main
point is that eating healthy depends on your mind set and commitment.
Think about what your body needs to do your activities. Think about
what will give you that energy and make you feel good. Eating for
performance not for pleasure has changed my life and Iím much happier.
I live more positively with fewer challenges because I treat my body the way it needs to be treated. Itís
hard at times and is worth every minute of it.