I love pancakes, I do… buttermilk pancakes, blueberry pancakes, even corn pancakes. I have yet to meet a pancake I didn’t like; which along with my fondness for ice cream, can cause quite a problem if not kept in check. But I eat those things only 20% of the time; the other 80% I am building a “strong nutritional foundation” by eating a wide variety of all-natural, nutrient-dense, colorful, high fiber, low sugar, hormone free, unsaturated, food. Otherwise, I’m building my dietary principals on shaky ground; and just like a pose needs to have a solid foundation- so do our eating habits.
There is no way I would have the energy to teach my classes and go sledding with my kids if I was eating crap all the time; as much as I’d like to believe that chocolate peanut butter crunch is a nutritional powerhouse….
The way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than it did in the last 10,000–so they say in the documentary Food, Inc. We’re relying less on foods that come from nature, and more on foods that are manufactured out of technology, sprayed with toxic chemicals, or injected with hormones. This isn’t new information, but it still freaks me out every time I think about seeing my ten year old cousin after a year lapse, and noticed her rack was bigger than mine! (But I’m sure it has nothing to do with the hormones in the milk and chicken.)
For me, this is the bottom line- if I can’t pronounce what I’m eating, then it probably doesn’t belong in my mouth….but 80% of the time I might treat myself to food that isn’t the healthiest but definitely won’t kill me. I decided long ago that strictly forbidding myself anything just made me want to eat a gallon or a bag of whatever it was I wasn’t “supposed” to be eating. I unfortunately grew up in a house without anything “bad” to eat.
My friends would joke that if we came back to my house, hungry after a party in high school, the worst thing we’d be able to pig out on was Total Cereal and skim milk; meanwhile their cabinets were overflowing with Oreos and Captain Crunch! Personally, I’ve learned that everything in moderation is healthy for both the body and the mind. But clearly I am not a doctor, so I emailed Dr. Barry Sears- of The Zone Diet, with whom I’m working on a project, and asked him if I was way off- it seems I wasn’t because here is what he said:
“You have to treat any dietary program like a game. You get points (plus or minus) and then add up the score. Simply pick out a dietary philosophy you are comfortable with. Each meal you eat according to that philosophy and in which you don’t have hunger or lack of mental focus for the next five hours is a winner. Give yourself a +1 for that meal. Each meal you make a really bad choice (as indicated by being hungry within five hours and having a decrease in mental focus), you give yourself a –1. Just add up the numbers at the end of the day, week, etc. You could possibly have a +3 for the day, but if one of the meals was a stinker, then you end up with total of +2 (two good meals, one bad one). Not as good as +3 for the day, but a lot better than –3 (the case for most Americans). It means eating a lot of vegetables and fruits, balanced with a small amount of low-fat protein. The protein can be animal or plant, but just make sure there is enough to balance the carbohydrates. With those basic rules, everyone is a winner.”
In my opinion, if I’m a “winner” 80% of the time, and it makes me happy to eat ice cream and pancakes on occasion and not be obsessive, and I’m able to eat like that and look decent after having 2 kids, then I’m good. I see all these celebrity trainers on their DVD covers that read “lose 5lbs a week!” Yes, and I have some nice oceanfront property to sell you…..
As a former TV producer, I can tell you that the part they leave out is how the people and trainer in the video get delivered special meals for 3 months before, and work out for 3 hours a day to achieve those results! That isn’t realistic for me at 43, and I know it isn’t for most of my friends and students of any age that I speak with. I enjoy food too much to starve myself, and have no desire to spend half my day in the gym.
That being said, even with the best intentions, it’s easy to get in a rut and not know how to get out. I’ve been there, and luckily I’ve found a few ways to get back on track. From my yoga and meditation practice I’ve learned how to live in the present and eat mindfully. If that only translates into not standing at the counter and eating the leftover chicken nuggets from my kids lunch, then it’s working for me.
The bottom line: just like I teach building a solid foundation in your asana, you need to build a solid foundation for your dietary and exercise habits. Eat well 80% of the time, find some kind of physical activity that makes you smile- then look in the mirror and be happy with what you see- life’s too short to be a slave to the scale or a salad bowl.
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” -Buddha
Learn my top 3 favorite free tools to slim down, stress less, and smile more HERE.
NEED TO JUMP BACK ON THE WELLNESS BANDWAGON?
Press refresh with my 1-Day Reset to detox your body and mind. FREE Yoga, Mediation and clean eating guide!