Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press & Bodybuilding
January 22, 2021
Eating For Performance Not Pleasure
by Caitlin Johnson

Eating For Performance 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.

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