Want to know the secret to living a long and healthy life? First of all, don't believe what the centenarians tell you. Second, make sure that you only eat the foods that you love. Just be sure to have a long list of yummy, healthy foods that you love.
A Good Trolling
Yesterday my husband was telling me about a woman who was in her 100's who claims that the secret to her longevity is that she doesn’t eat any vegetables. She hates them and has never eaten them--ever.
That is the secret that she wants to share with the world?
My husband sometimes tells me stories like this and just sits back and watches. He is a great guy, but sometimes he will tease me just because he knows I can’t help myself.
“What??? I don’t believe it. That’s impossible!!!” My face reddens and my blood pressure rises as I get going.
My teenage son, who by nature of being a teenage boy, loves a good “trolling.” So, he joins in the fun.
“Yeah mom, I heard of this woman who is 100 years old and loves McDonalds. She says that she has lived so long because she eats McDonald’s every day. McDonald’s has decided to give her free food for the rest of her life.”
My son says this with awe and respect as he imagines what a gift it would be to get free McDonalds for life. He stares at me with a mischievous grin waiting for my reaction.
It works. I am in full-on rant mode now.
“Those people are the outliers, vegetables are the best thing on the planet, fast food is the devil, blah-blah, blah.”
Flash of Insight
All of I sudden I stop. Mid-rant it hits me.
A flash of insight--The centenarians are trolling us.
I finally get it.
It goes something like this...
A reporter shows up at their house on their 100th birthday asking them what their secret is.
They think, “If I tell this reporter I get 9 hours of sleep every night, take a 2 hour nap, eat oatmeal for breakfast, and I go on a walk, it will be boring. Screw it! I am going to have some fun.”
Yes, the centenarians are trolling us. I no longer believe them. From here on out, I will take all their health claims with a grain of salt.
What’s really happening is something more like this.
The elderly woman is thinking, “I’m 99 years old. I’ve had oatmeal for breakfast for the past 99 years. Dagnabit! I’m going to have an Egg McMuffin.”
And then she likes it, so she thinks, “I’m going to do this everyday.”
And then the reporter asks, and she tells them she has McDonald’s every day.
Or, she thinks, ”This is my chance. I’m going to mess with all the moms of teenage boys out there.”
So she tells the reporter, “I am 100 years old, and I don’t eat my vegetables and never did (He-he).”
I’ve got a 99-year-old grandmother. She has a mind like a whip. Her doctor told her to eat whatever she wants. She has earned that right since she is closing in on 100.
We ALL Eat what We Like
But, here is the deal, you don’t have to be 100 to eat what you want. We do that already.
Researchers have found that our food preferences are what determine what we eat. We don't eat vegetables because the dietitian told us we should, or because the USDA told us to get 5- A Day, or because our Moms wouldn't let us have dessert until we did. Nope, it's none of those.
Stop Using Willpower
So, stop fighting yourself. Stop trying to make yourself eat foods you don't like.
I tell my clients all the time, "I only eat what I love, but I don't eat everything I love."
The key is to make sure that you’re not only eating foods you enjoy, but they happen to be healthy too.
Flax seeds happen to be a superfood. I don't particularly like them, so the Costco size bag of flax languishes in my freezer next to the hemp hearts.
Now on the other hand, I absolutely adore chia seeds. Chia seeds mixed with protein shakes are one of my favorite breakfasts. I could eat that every day for the rest of my life and still consider it a treat.
I don't make myself eat foods that I don't like--not even for my health or weight loss. Instead, I have experimented enough to find a huge reservoir of foods that I love --that just happen to keep my health and my weight where I want it.
Many of my clients when they first meet with me say, "I can't lose weight because I love food too much."
I tell them that we are supposed to love food. I love food too. Delicious food is one of the great pleasures in life. But losing weight and loving food are not mutually exclusive.
Develop a Large Repertoire of Healthy Foods
Maybe we can make ourselves eat boring things for the sake of weight loss in the short term, but eventually were going to give them up.
You can only make yourself eat food that you don’t like for so long--especially in a world with easy access to highly palatable foods.
Sure, I can force myself to eat cardboard oat bran cereal for a while, but put some pancakes with whipped cream and fruity sauce on it in front of me, and all bets are off.
So, I don't put myself in that position. Instead, I treat myself with French Vanilla Greek Yogurt topped with fresh blueberries and sprinkled with my favorite Coconut Dark Chocolate Chunk Granola.
So, one of the keys to losing weight, is to have a large repertoire of healthy foods that you love. Then, you don't have to make the willpower laden choice between healthy, yucky food and unhealthy, tasty treats.
When you’re deciding what to store in the cupboard or what to serve for dinner, treat yourself with healthy foods that you love. You know-- the foods that help you get to your goal weight. The foods that keep your blood sugar stable instead of causing crazy, insatiable cravings.
If you know what some of those foods are for you, but want to capture them in one place, download and fill out my action guide. If you are stumped at what those foods are for you, you'll find my favorites on my action guide. And, stay tuned in the weeks and months ahead, and I’ll help you add to and personalize your list.
Until next time,
Coach's Tips is a short, weekly post with an insight that I have on losing weight and being healthy. It comes from being a health coach and working with my clients. I want to share them with you, so that you too can learn the secrets of losing weight the Real Healthy Habits way.
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Hi, I’m Treva, your weight loss coach! I'm a dietitian, personal trainer, and health coach who helps women who want to lose weight, but are done with the deprivation and disappointment of traditional dieting. I help you develop a weight loss habit plan that is personalized for your body, your preferences, and your lifestyle. Want Help Losing Weight?