Feeding the Machine

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I’ve gone through a long evolution of changes with my diet and where I am now versus where I came from are very much night and day.   In the very beginning, I ate fast food but we’re talking over 20 years ago.  It was convenient, I wasn’t an athlete, or at least not by comparison to who am I now, and I didn’t know any better.  At the time, I worked crazy hours and I had little time to cook if I even knew how – which I didn’t.  I started to put on weight which is something that never happened in my life up until that point.  And perhaps it was a combination of a sedentary lifestyle, getting to that age where additional weight sticks, or I don’t know what but I was well aware of the metamorphosis.

I made a decision to change my eating habits and In conjunction with exercise, my diet slowly evolved.  At first, I cut out full sugar soda for diet soda.  Actually, now that I think about it, I recall mixing half sugar and half diet to lessen the blow.  And then I switched from diet soda to water.  Eventually, I got to a point where the only fast food I’d eat was In-N-Out Burger because I thought it was healthier and they were my go to fast food place.  It was hard to give up that stuff. 

I’m pretty sure I didn’t know what healthy food was but I knew fast food wasn’t it and at the very least, I was eating real food.  Of course, real food might have included chicken, beef, pork, bacon, heavy whipping cream, etc., and the idea of fat content or cholesterol were not of any concern to me.  It’s been so long, I can’t really pinpoint the exact time I started thinking about fat intake or caloric value but I’m going guess and say it’s around the time I met my wife.  She was most definitely well versed in that area.  I’d venture a guess and say that when I started cooking for her, she made me aware of such things.  Or maybe I became aware of it and she reinforced the ideas.  Who knows?

Regardless, my diet began another evolutionary change which slowly removed fattier ingredients.  Back then, I bet a lot of the decisions were based on what she’d eat and not eat.  Never were any of the decisions based on a so-called “diet”, it’s always been focused on eating healthier.  As the evolution continued, the changes focused on eating more nutrient dense foods, reducing empty calories, reducing unhealthy fats, and if you’ve ever stumbled across my food blog, you can see the protein choices change, the elimination of pasta and rice, the elimination of cheese, etc., etc.  In fact, the food blog became so boring that I just stopped blogging my meals altogether.  There are really only so many pictures you can see of salads before you realize we eat more like rabbits than people. 

With the exception of one instance, I don’t think I’ve ever followed some sort of food fad.  At a training camp, I was briefly convinced that a high fat diet would create a lean, mean, fat burning machine.  Almost ten years later, I’ll say this – you can be a lean, mean, fat burning machine without eating a lot of fatty foods.  That’s my opinion, I’m not a doctor but I’ll have this discussion with you if you like – anytime. 

Aside from that, my belief is that there is no quick fix, changes take a long time, and a lot of patience is required.  If you’re overweight, it didn’t happen overnight.  If you’re expecting to drop that weight, it won’t happen overnight.  The question I’ll ask is this – how long did it take to get here?  That’s probably how long it’s going to take, or should take, to lose it successfully. 

A habit takes three weeks to form.  Start making small changes -- small changes add up overtime.  Like I mentioned above, I’ve been working at this for over 20 years – it’s not a diet, it’s not a fad, it’s a lifestyle change.  I want to eat healthy because it makes me feel better, it makes me feel stronger, and it makes me a more successful athlete.