Manic Monday ~ A New Year: A New Perspective on Food

It's the hyped up time in our year which most of us decide to make better resolutions and goals to improve our lives. So, while there is motivation to do so, I want to capture your attention regarding food.

In America, we are rich in food. We have all kinds of grocery stores, restaurants, and food stands. We put food at the top of the list for social events. I know my family is known to plan ahead for huge food infested gatherings like July 4th, our fall family reunion, Super Bowl, and so on. Most of our fundraisers are bake sales, gourmet popcorn/cookie/pizza/nut orders, and taco dinners. Our family nights are sure to include pizza and pop, if not all kinds of fun snacks. Campfires HAVE to have s'mores. And a night out to the movie theater is not the same without buttered popcorn and a cold fountain soda. See what I'm saying: FOOD IS PART OF EVERYTHING we celebrate or enjoy. Most times than not, the foods in these moments are generally not the best for you. In fact, some are just plain terrible for you!

So, we've built a certain association with food. We associate good times and pleasure with food. AND we are "certain" that we can't enjoy those special moments without these types of foods. BUT, I'm here to tell you.... you CAN change that perception! Don't be fooled! It's time to make NEW associations with food!! Associations that are healthier for you and even enjoyable!!! I read a poster one time that said: "The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine OR the slowest form of poison." I find that very true. We tend to live in the moment and can't understand how we are over weight or experiencing health issues like high blood pressure or high cholesterol. We've made some comfortable lifestyles with the foods we consume. It's not easy to get out of those comfortable, good tasting food eating habits. How do you make new associations with healthier foods? With mental focus, time, and effort!

Mentally, you have to learn to love healthier food. It's like acquiring a new taste. I can tell you the best example I have is when I was in college. I decided to trade Cherry Coke for Diet Pepsi. Now, I'm not a soda drinker as time has pruned me to cut it out...but I like the occasional soda when there is a place for it (moderation)! As I tried my first few occasions with Diet Pepsi, I could barely handle the taste. It was so different and not as delightful as my normal Cherry Coke. But over time, I became more accepting of the new taste. I actually began enjoying it. It didn't happen in one moment. In fact, it took weeks to become use to the new taste. Months later I remember grabbing a regular soda....and I couldn't handle it. It seemed so sugary. Almost like syrup (which, really...it is with all that high fructose).

Now, ideally all of us should avoid all soda types but, this is an example of truly what it is like to acquire a new taste. I've done this with all kinds of foods. I've learned ways to think about whole clean foods that actually have me craving them. I get excited over a robust salad of greens -toss in some grilled chicken, red onions, tomatoes, walnuts, pecans, apples, and a vinaigrette. It's divine. Or a large breakfast alkaline shake consisting of almond milk, frozen pineapple, fresh spinach, coconut flakes, protein whey, and a hint of raw honey.... I feel refreshed! Most people would think "blah " at this. I sure use to! However, I absolutely love the clean, fresh taste of these foods. I feel clean and I feel energized. I have had to renew my mind and keep my focus on these better options. You have to make the effort. When you go the movies, make the effort to pack a new snack, like a pack of sweet sliced apples and almonds. When you go to Texas Road House, try the top sirloin with a plain sweet potato and side salad. Have a few servings of peanuts. Enjoy the environment but build a new association of food instead of steak fries and loaded potatoes. When you want something sweet, build a fruit plate. You need to keep your mouth busy? Pop in some sugar free gum instead of munching on the "munchies." Keep at it and eventually you will form new habits, new tastes, new cravings, and amazing results.

A quote to ponder:

"Eat to live OR live to eat."

Have a GREAT week!!

Rachel Zimmerman,

Certified Personal Trainer and Life Coach

ACE/NSCA

Wife, Mother, and Friend

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