I know several people that can eat whatever they want and maintain a normal weight and run well. I'm not one of those people. I've had people tell me "You're skinny, You can eat whatever you want." The thing is that I want to be at the top of my game. And that means that I have to watch everything I eat. You may have heard this before but it's something that I've become a firm believer in, you cannot out-train a bad diet. I've been going to the same gym for the past year. Everyday I see the same people there. While there are some very fit and athletic people there, there are some individuals that you can tell their diet is no where near where it's supposed to be compared to the amount of working out they do. These guys can throw up all kinds of weight on the bench press. They spend twenty to thirty minutes on the treadmill. They're at the gym for hours and they look just the same as they did a year ago. I'm not trying to put these people down, what they're doing is much better than nothing. My point is that one cannot achieve the look they want with just working out.
When I say diet, I mean the way one eats. I'm not talking about a fad diet. Fad diets do not work. They are for the short term, everyone eventually gets back to their old habits and their old weight. I 'm a proponent for just eating healthy. When I wanted to lose weight, the only thing I looked at was calorie intake. While there are some calories better than others, let's just say that a calorie is a calorie for now. Everyone's caloric needs are different but the average person should be taking in around 2,000 calories per day. For the few months that I was watching my calories, I was taking in roughly 2,500 to 3,000. I was logging all my food. This is a great way to really look at what you're eating. It will also make you think twice about eating that candy bar. During this time, I ran my fastest half marathon and my fastest 10k. There were days that I very easily hit my caloric goal. There were times when I was near 2,000 calories by the time lunch rolled around, and I wasn't eating that double cheeseburger from that fast food place down the street.
My taste buds have obviously changed over the past couple years. Not only that, there's the fact that I may get sick if eat something I shouldn't. The thing is, and I've said this to my wife on several occasions, If I miraculously overcame my celiac disease and lactose intolerance, I would not reintroduce them into my diet (especially dairy). Some may disagree but I've seen the benefit to not have some things in my diet and would not want to go back. There are times that I see a picture of some junk food and think that it does look good but I know it's not good to eat it. Even being a plant-based eater, there is still a lot of junk food out there for us. I choose to not eat it or keep it to a bare minimum. I don't really have any cravings for junk food anymore. Whenever I think about eating something that's unhealthy, I ask myself, "is this going help me reach my goal?" Most of the time the answer is no and I leave it on the shelf or throw it out.
Does this mean that I never have any junk food? The answer is no. Every now and then I will have some potato chips or some starburst candies. These occasions are rare. I read a great article the other day about eating things in moderation and how it doesn't work. The link is down at the bottom of this post if you want to read it. It basically says that if you eat one thing everyday that's outside of your diet, It all adds up and it's not helping you. The other thing that should be taken into account is the amount of calories burned in a workout session. If I go on a run and burn 500 calories, that doesn't mean I burned an extra 500 calories. Just in my normal actives of walking or playing with the kids, I could've maybe burned 200 calories. So, it would be more like me burning an extra 300 calories. That's actually not a lot calories if you look at it in food value.
I purely look at food as nutrition and it's purpose, to fuel the body. I try to be as careful as possible with what goes into my body. I don't even like buying those fake processed vegan "meats." Just because they claim to be vegan doesn't mean it's good for me to eat it. While I think they're great for people that are transiting to a plant based diet, I think that they're meant to be eaten sparingly just like anything else. I'm not trying to get anyone else to convert to a plant-based diet but I would encourage everyone to eat foods that are whole and healthy (and as close to their natural state as possible). I don't feel like I'm depriving myself of anything. So, if you're doing the exercise and want to see the results, next time you eat, ask yourself "is this good for me?"
Why "Everything in Moderation" Doesn't Work