It's summer, which means that there are hot dogs and s'mores to be made around the campfire, beer/wine/sangria/lemonade mixed with Southern Comfort (ugh, the first drink I ever got drunk from when I was 17 ... never to pass these lips again!) to be consumed with gusto, and sugar-filled popsicles to bring the summer heat down a degree or two. It also means that most of my amazing and normally dedicated clients are coming to me saying "I went camping/to the cottage/to a family BBQ and ate complete junk and drank the whole time, I'm so sorry and I feel like I disappointed you!".
The first thing I tell them is that as far as I can remember, they did not come out of my vagina, therefore, I'm not their mother. They should never feel like they have to apologize to me (or anyone else for that matter) for something that they did or did not eat.
The second thing that I ask them is "was it fucking delicious?". If it was, then awesome! I'm so glad that they had a moment of pure pleasure that seems to be so lacking in our lives today.
The third thing is how did they feel after eating it? Most of the time after working with me for several months, they'll tell me that:
1. their body completely rebelled, and they spent the next few hours writhing in pain either on the toilet, on the couch, or in bed.
2. the treat that they ate didn't taste as good as they remembered, and they don't even know why they wanted it in the first place.
3. they felt so guilty for "cheating" on their healthy eating.
Let's get one thing straight: you'll never be perfectly healthy if you feel guilty when you eat food, no matter HOW healthy it's supposed to be.
I'd rather have myself or one of my clients eat a piece of chocolate cake and be 100% present by focusing on how chocolatey it is, how smooth the icing feels in their mouth, how orgasmically delicious it is, and how happy they feel after, than to eat a salad and hate the entire process, from preparing it, to how it tastes, to how boring it is compared to a bowl full of spaghetti.
What you feel when you eat is just as important as what's on your plate.
Your body only has two ways of being at any one time: rest-and-digest or fight-or-flight. Negative emotions like anger, sadness, and jealousy turn on the stress response in your body, which turns on your fight-or-flight response. This response moves blood away from your internal organs (i.e. your digestive organs) to your major muscles so that you can "run away" from the problem and survive.
Our brains haven't evolved as fast as our technology, so it can't tell the difference between a bear chasing you 10,000 year ago and your to-do list that's 3 pages long (or worse, stuck in your head where you obsess about it 24/7).
When you're stressed, your body literally can't digest your food. It's not what you eat, but what you digest. That's why you're not going to get healthy eating salad when you secretly hate it.
We're stuck in a state of stress, and our expectations of perfection aren't helping.
Here are a few of my own expectations of perfection:
- I should be able to chase around a toddler-aged boy who gets up between 6:30 and 7:30 am and doesn't. ever. stop. all day, 364.5 days a year, and be full of energy by 7 pm.
- I should be able to simultaneously keep the house clean, the dishes washed, the laundry done, the carpets vacuumed, the floors mopped, the windows clean, all meals made from scratch, run my own business, see my clients, do the meal planning, get the groceries, look cute all the time, get regular exercise, meditate, see my girlfriends, support my extended family, take my supplements, have enough energy for mind-blowing sex, take time for myself, floss, and sleep for 8 hours a night.
- I should be able to stay perfectly calm and zen while my son is losing his shit and rolling around on the floor, yelling and screaming for 20 minutes straight, all because I took away his drum sticks that he was using ... on my head.
It's OK to yell and spank your child (lightly) when they physically hurt you, and then apologize after.
It's OK to sometimes eat junk food and drink too much wine.
It's OK to not be able to work 24/7. You're not a machine.
It's all OK because you're a human being.
You'll don't have to eat perfectly healthy to be perfectly healthy, because the stress of trying to eat healthy 100% of the time is more likely to kill you than that slice of chocolate cake.
Here are 3 vitamins that I want you to start adding to your daily eating:
Vitamin FD - Fucking Delicious
No matter what you eat, whether it's "healthy" or not, it better taste fucking delicious. You know what's healthy and tastes fucking delicious? Butter. Put that shit on everything. The quickest way to inject vitamin FD into your daily meals is to eat real fat, like olive oil, butter, avocados, and nuts or nut butters. Life is too short to eat plain iceberg lettuce with Kraft fat-free italian dressing (I dare you to try and pronounce all of the ingredients).
Vitamin P - Pleasure
The #1 guideline that I live by and preach to my clients is the 80/20 rule, and it can be applied to anything, not just food. I try to eat super healthy 80% of the time, and the other 20% life happens. Shit happens. Birthday parties happen. If you try to eat healthy 100% of the time, you're setting yourself up for failure. What does the 80/20 rule look like? Well, you can break it down by day, week, or even month. If you eat 5 small meals in the day, you can eat whatever you want for one of those meals. You can eat whatever you want for 1.5 days of the week. You can eat whatever you want for 1 week of every month. How freeing is that?!?! Have that extra glass of wine, that red velvet cupcake, that bowl of chips, or eat whatever you want for your entire vacation. It's OK, because you've hopefully meal planned, and tomorrow or next week every meal is chock full of nutrients and vitamin FD. 20% of the time you can eat whatever you want for the shear pleasure of it.
Vitamin S - Sanity
You need to figure out a way to turn off the stress response in your body and find some sanity, and I'm here to help you. When Aleks first came home from the hospital, meal planning and my food processor gave me some sanity. Now I've taken it a step further with batch cooking. I meal plan in about 15 minutes before I go grocery shopping (click here to let me help you get started, or click here for 3 whole weeks already done for you), and take 1-2 hours on a Sunday to prep as much as I can for the week. This could include any or all of the following: baking a batch of muffins, making some no-bake energy balls, assembling the weeks' crock pot meals in a freezer bag, cooking brown rice or quinoa, and cooking a large batch of soup for lunches. Batch cooking has made the biggest difference in my weekly suppertime sanity. That, and I park Aleks with Ben or my parents and spend the 1-2 hours ALONE in the kitchen while simultaneously having a dance party. The tootsie roll is how I roll.
I wanna know: what vitamin would YOU add to the list?