Stay healthy by eating what you don’t want

Meyken Houppermans, PhD. CrossFit Level 3 Trainer.
Founder and Head Coach
"The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not.” (Mark Twain)

Why is it so hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle? Is it because we are unmotivated and lack will power? Or was Mark Twain right, and is a healthy lifestyle very boring? There are several explanations for this issue, among which the following:

1. Diets never work

Not one single diet is effective in the long run, not even the ones who claim different such as Keto, Paleo or Intermittent Fasting ((Are you on a popular Fad Diet?). People simply cannot maintain a diet for life, and motivation is not to blame (Motivation is an unreliable friend). A diet is by definition temporary. It has a beginning and an end. As soon as the diet- period has come to an end, people fall back into old habits. Diets are often hard to sustain. Many diets are based on the exclusion of certain products. What remains is often food that is not the most tasty to many people, thus they will not eat much of it. This results in short- term weight loss.

2. Ancient mechanisms in new ages

Mechanisms in the body are evolutionary and genetically geared to get as many calories as possible and to exercise as little as possible. In ancient times, when people had to hunt for food and animals or plants were not always available, it was necessary to save as much energy as possible to survive in times of scarcity.

These mechanisms also explain why only after 20 minutes after eating, the brain sends the signal of satiation; and why sugar receptors on the tongue are connected to the pleasure- parts in the brain. Sugar is high in energy and was a great food product for our ancestors.

Ancient mechanisms do not match with new ages. People do not run around looking for food all day. People spend most of their days sitting down, eating processed food that is available anywhere and anytime. (How artificial is your food?). Although our genes have developped over time (Paleo kills ya!) it does seem the body still prefers to get as much calories in as possible, and to move as little as possible.

Advice: take conscious mini- choices

Food choices are made many times per day, mostly unconscious. Food is available everywhere and anywhere, and often not the healthiest products. The living environment and the way we function in daily life, how are lives are structured, do not support being active all day. The environment plays a great role in healthy living.

In a sense, healthy living is partly out of our control. The body's evolutionaly and genetic make-up do not always work in our favor and neither does our environment. Nevertheless, there are parts in life that are within our control. Parts where we can make conscious choices. We just need to be more aware of that.

It can be helpful, if you want to improve your lifestyle, to think to those parts in life that are within your control. Such as if you eat vegetables every evening for dinner; if you go for a walk every day after work; if you reorganise your kitchen in a way that helps you to eat healthy (Lose weight with this kitchen hack).

If you try to make mini health choices as often as possible, you will automatically create a healthier lifestyle. It is not a matter of doing everything 100% healthy from the start because healthy living is not a matter of All or nothing. All little things truly matter. And by taking mini- steps, you can make boring stuff fun again!

Create your own health!©