Why is something that sounds so simple, is in reality difficult for so many of us? Recently The New York Times posted an article in its column, “The UpShot”, entitled Simple Rules for Health Eating by Aaron E. Carroll. The rules Mr. Carroll outlines really should be considered a road map for a healthy relationship with food. This isn’t another “diet” being sold as the latest greatest way too lose weight or cleanse your gut or make you a better athlete. Instead, he offers up a few simple common sense tenants to a life long way of life.
There you have it. Just follow these seven simple rules and you have the keys to the kingdom of healthy eating. Well, except it isn’t always that easy. Really, there is nothing new or novel in these steps. The problem is developing the discipline to follow the plan. For some of us, we have an unhealthy relationship with food. For me, many of my food choices are like hanging out with the wrong group of kids at school. Those “bad kids” are so much more fun to be around. They do what they want and don’t worry about the consequence. Stay out all night and skip class the next day? Sure! Eat that pasta with fatty meat and lots of cheese instead of grilled meat and fresh vegetables. Yes! I walk through the grocery store and the smells and sights of the bakery beckon me near. Watching television, the constant advertisements for snack foods and fast food restaurant make me crave chips and french fries. I watch cooking shows; I read food blogs. I love food-all things sugar, fat, baked. I just keep eating.
When we moved to Austin a few years ago, food became my hobby. My kids were off at school and I no longer had my cycling group to ride with several times a week. With all that time on my hands, I got more adventurous in my cooking. And of course I ate all those things I cooked. Austin is also known for having great restaurants and a myriad of food trucks. So we ate out-a lot.
For other people maybe they are too tired from work to come home and cook a meal or maybe they just never learned to cook. It is so much easier to pick up the frozen food items at the grocery store. It is more fun or relaxing to go out to eat rather than eat at home. There are as many reasons for our eating habits as there are people. Some people have been eating healthy for a lifetime, some never have and some of us are struggling
Despite the comments from the people who are at their college weight forty years later or who say they have always eaten healthy, for most of us, it can be a constant battle. For me, my weight reached a point where it interfered with my lifestyle. Climbing those Austin hills on bike or foot was becoming increasingly difficult. I knew it was time to make a change. After losing weight ten years ago and then gaining most of it back, I know the changes I make need to be for life. In January, I began a diet which closely aligns with Mr. Carroll guidelines. Now I find myself craving salads with a variety of fresh vegetables and a light vinaigrette dressing. A couple of bites of some sweet on occasion has become an indulgent treat.
If you commit to follow these Simple Rules for Healthy Eating, you will likely discover what a pleasure healthy foods can be. While making the changes such as choosing different foods or cooking more at home can be a challenge, the results will be worth the effort. You don’t have to make all the changes at one time, you can gradually incorporate these steps. One day you will look at this article again and think to yourself, “well of course this is how I eat”!