Food surrounds us. It’s in our homes, at our work and the centerpiece of most social settings. Yet, most of us can’t say we have a truly healthy relationship with food. Maybe we eat as little as possible and constantly cut calories so we can lose weight. Or we eat as much as we want but eat mainly fried, processed junk food.
I fell into a third category: I didn’t enjoy eating (and that’s putting it lightly). I ate only because I had to and was able to sustain myself on about 1,400 calories a day. I never thought I was fat or wanted to lose weight, I just didn’t like eating. It was a chore.
All of these scenarios keep us from thriving. Even if we think we feel and look our best, there is no comparison to when we nourish our bodies with the quality and quantity of food it desires.
Those in scenario one might ask, “Well, how do I do that without gaining weight?” People in scenario two would say, “Healthy food is all gross and boring.” And anyone who falls in scenario three like me might say, “There’s just no way I would ever desire to eat that much food.”
What’s great is there is a response to all of those comments that will shed light on the beauty of the vegan lifestyle.
Hurdle 1: Eating as much as you want of the right foods will not make you fat
Society has us conditioned to think if you want to lose weight, you have to eat less. But if you think critically about how our bodies are designed, that just doesn’t make sense. Yes, you will lose weight if you starve yourself. But if crash dieting has taught us anything, it’s that starvation is not sustainable. We end up binging and gaining all that weight back and then some. So we go on another diet. It’s a horrible cycle.
The reason it’s not sustainable is because our bodies need proper fuel to function properly. When we are on these diets, we can feel our bodies begging to be fed. Our stomach growls, we get headaches, and all we want to do is eat that entire plate of cookies. Your body starts to crave high calorie foods (fatty and processed foods) to make up for the deficit. Not only that, our bodies start to store more fat as a reserve because it doesn’t know the next time it will get proper food.
Our brain, organs, muscles and bones all need sufficient amounts of specific nutrients to perform at an optimal level. These nutrients can be found in the foods provided by the earth. There’s no need to outsource with animal products or overly processed foods.
By filling your body with fruits, vegetables and starches that are lower in fat and higher in carbohydrates and calories, your weight will naturally adjust to where it was designed to be. Wait, high carb, high calorie…that’ll make me fat! Carbs are the enemy, right? Wrong. Complex carbohydrates like those found in vegetables, potatoes, beans, etc. and simple carbohydrates from whole fruits energize your body and brain.
Let’s also breakdown the second part of that sentence: your weight will naturally adjust to where it was designed to be. This does not mean we will all be walking around like stick thin models. We all have different body types. Some of us have small frames, some have larger frames. Let’s all just accept that right now. However, there is a difference between having fat and having healthy tissue on your frame. Eating the proper foods will help you ditch the fat and what will remain is the healthy tissue your body needs.
This also means that not everyone will see the number on the scale go down. I gained weight. As I mentioned, I was hardly eating anything so my body did not have enough healthy tissue surrounding my bones and organs. In the first year of eating all the fruits, vegetables and starches I wanted, I gained about 6 pounds. Those were pounds that I was depriving my body of. I have not gotten fat by any means. I just filled in where needed then my weight plateaued.
Gaining weight is not something we should be afraid of, so long as it’s healthy weight. It’s more important to nourish your body with life-giving foods and to love what you see in the mirror than it is to reach an ambiguous number on a scale.
Hows your relationship with food? Is there anything you need to overcome or anything you have already overcome?