I have uncovered the secret to enjoying the foods you love without negative consequences: Stop eating the things you don’t love.
It sounds ridiculous, but read on and I think you’ll agree.
This post stems from a my mission to be able to eat pizza everyday without any negative effect on my body. I adopted this mission on the weekend after making a delicious pizza from scratch. I have always loved pizza, but I don’t have it as often as I want because I know it will soften me up and that will have negative consequences on my performance in sport and in my job (I’m a personal trainer). But making the pizza from scratch was like a light bulb turning on. It was so easy, the ingredients were so basic, and the friend I cooked for brought over a salad so we had pizza on half the plate and vegetables on the other. Huh. Does that still merit being categorized as an occasional treat, or could I adjust the ingredients and serving size such that it actually becomes a healthy meal?
That research is joyfully on-going (pizza 3 days in a row and counting!) and I will report the results once I have more data.
A couple of hours after enjoying last night’s experiment (half plate of olive, mushroom, mozzarella pizza with a side of steamed baby bok choy) I headed to the kitchen for a small handful of chocolate chips when my inside voice stopped me in my tracks: “If you add chocolate snacks to your week, it might make your daily pizza experiment results look bad.” Whoa. That is not an acceptable exchange. I am excited about the possibilities my daily pizza experiment holds, and there is no way I’m going to let a snack I don’t really care about contribute to it’s failure.
I smiled as I returned to the living room empty handed. I wasn’t actually hungry, so I didn’t feel deprived for leaving the chocolate in the cupboard. The smile was because I had just schooled myself in one of the key habits I encourage in the Get Lean Challenge I created: When making food decisions, taste is an important consideration. As part of that program, I encourage those taking it to make two lists:
The A List: 3 not-so healthy foods you love
The B List: 3 not-so healthy foods you don’t really care about
Here is the sample I provide in one of the program emails:
My A List:
- red wine
- molasses cookies
My B List:
- Store-bought cookies
- Most restaurant French fries (don’t get me wrong – I love good fries. In fact good fries would make top 5 on my A List. But fries at most restaurants are very disappointing)
After making the lists, they are then tasked with referring to those lists often, and any time they reach for an item on their B List, they are to ask themselves if they are really sure, and to remind themselves that they would probably be happier if they either chose something healthier or held out for something better.
Last night I skipped the chocolate chips because I was holding out for more pizza tonight. It’s remarkably easy to say no to junky foods you don’t really love, when you put it in that perspective.
What is on your A List and B?
Once you’ve made your lists, try this strategy out for a while. If the experience of the participants in my get lean challenge is any indication, you’ll find this a very effective strategy for healthier and happier eating.
Intrigued about this 8 week get lean challenge?
Truthfully we really should re-brand it as an 8 Week Get Healthier Challenge. But often Getting healthier results in getting more lean. In fact, this thought lead to creating a second version – The Get Healthy Challenge. It’s basically the light version of the Get Lean Challenge.