Carbs, fats, proteins. Calories, energy expenditure, deficits and surpluses. High fat, low fat. High carb, low carb. Paleo, Atkins and vegetarianism.
That list is by no means exhaustive either! There are plenty more ‘factors’. Sometimes though, a factor that is crucial, yet often missing, is simplicity.
I’ve preached and preached some more about simplicity being essential to success before on this site, so it needn’t bear repeating.
I have pretty strong beliefs when it comes to nutrition and health and frankly, certain foods are just plain bad for you. So when I see people in my life (mainly family) eating stuff that I believe shouldn’t be in anyone’s diet – with maybe the exception of a rare ‘cheat meal‘ – I’ll often try to supply some persuasive criticism.
If there’s one thing we don’t like, it’s our eating habits being attacked, right? That’s become obvious.
So rather than coming on too strong or spewing a torrent of criticism, this issue lead me to construct my own question that really works like magic………..
“So what are you getting from that meal/food?”
Simple as that. If you can’t provide a solid answer, then the food isn’t good for you. Now you don’t have to be a nutritionist and shouldn’t have to list each and every property of the food item. Again, this requires basic common knowledge – or sense.
A sample meal: Chicken breast, sweet potato & broccoli…….
A simple answer to the magic question: Protein from the chicken breast, vitamins from the sweet potato; fiber and calcium from the broccoli.
Another sample combo: A crisp sandwich & plain white bread…….
‘Answers on a postcard?’ Okay, let me try to find a potential answer.
A high glycemic carbohydrate combo with practically no fiber? Coupled with more fast acting carbs that have been fried in industrial seed oils (TRANS FAT alert!)
Now I know these examples are chalk and cheese. But they illustrate the point adequately. It’s a question that needs no expert insight or knowledge. You don’t even need to have someone ask it for you! You can ask yourself mentally every time you go to prepare a meal.
Get your partner/family member(s) on board or ask someone to do you a favour and ask you that magic line every time you go to eat.
If you can answer honestly and sensibly, kudos to you. You’re doing pretty well.
No answer? Get someone to give you a slap on the wrist, or some accountability themed criticism.
This simple trick really gets people thinking and even if they are stubborn or pig headed, I promise you they do stop and think about their choices. This is experience talking once again.
The more meals you have answers for, the more momentum you build with much less effort than all these hyper-restriction diets and deprivation periods people fail on.
So, what are you getting from your meals today?