The most frustrating health advice…
As a health and wellness junkie, I read a lot on the subject. On any given day, you can find me reading a raw food recipe book, thumbing though a bodybuilding magazine or browsing an exercise blog. I love health and nutrition information, and I love to stay on top of the latest trends and studies.
There is one piece of advice that I read time and time again. It’s universal, no matter what I’m reading, from the holistic to the conventional. And it’s this:
To be successful at weight loss, don’t bring tempting foods into your house. If you only have healthy, clean eats, you can’t eat the junk. You’ll actually have to drive to the store to get that candy bar! So get rid of all the bacon, white flour, pasta, sugar, candy, chips, pasteurized juice, crackers, etc., etc., etc.! Only have healthy food in your house at all times!
O-kaaaay. I understand the concept there. If you don’t have junky foods at hand, you won’t eat them. Makes sense. And it would totally work if we all lived alone or had our own personal kitchens. But that’s the problem. Most of us DON’T live alone, and most homes only have one kitchen, which means we have to share our pantry/cabinet/fridge space. I would estimate that 90% of us live with a parent, a child, a spouse, a partner, a friend, a roommate, a significant other, a caretaker, etc. And if others’ relationships are anything like mine and my husband’s, the people in the house don’t always eat the same things.
Personally, I’m a vegetarian health junkie. I don’t like candy or crackers or store-bought juice, I’m ambivalent about chips and I sure as hell don’t eat bacon. Ditto for milk, pasta, cheese and the rest. If I had my own kitchen, it would be full of fresh and frozen fruit, veggies, nuts and seeds, almond milk and probably some chocolate. We all have vices.
But I share my home. And my husband loves pasta, cheese, bacon and eggs, bread with gluten, pizza, all varieties of chips, and every candy the Wonka people have ever produced (except for taffy!). So, if I were going to clean the “junk” out of my kitchen and ban it from the house, my husband would starve. Therefore, we must do that thing that all married couples do: compromise. His OJ lives next to my almond milk. My Earth Balance shares a drawer with his butter. My Trader Joe’s raw almond butter sits next to his giant vat of Peter Pan. His bags of chips are touching my big bag of raw protein powder.
And that’s how it’s always going to be. He is never going to decide to eat salad every day, any more than I could eat pizza and pasta on a regular basis. So the idea of “throwing out the tempting food” is ridiculous! You know what would be actually helpful?
If books and magazines and websites actually taught how to NOT BE TEMPTED by crappy foods. How to distract your brain with meditation, conversation, yoga, jogging, bubble baths, whatever! when temptation strikes. How to train yourself to remember how bad you feel when you overindulge in greasy fries and mass produced mini-donuts. How to physically stop craving certain foods (after giving up soda years ago, the idea of it makes me sick now. How do I achieve that same effect with brownies?). How to share your home with loved ones and still eat well, even if they make homemade beignets (I’m looking at you, hubby).
How about that, fitness world?