The director of the nutrition school that I attended, IIN, would always say:
“It’s not what you eat SOME of the time, but what you eat ALL of the time that counts.” - Joshua Rosenthal
I would imagine that your response to this statement is, “of course!”. However, the more I talk to people about the food they eat, the more I see a vast lack of self awareness . It is difficult for someone to accurately identify what they eat ALL of the time. Many of my initial coaching sessions with my clients consist of us getting to the bottom of what they are actually eating. I will ask: “So tell me, what did you eat today? This week?”
The foods they always forget mention are the ones they eat ALL of the time.
These foods are such a part of our daily life, that they blend into the background so they are no longer on our radar. If you always have a Kind bar in your purse for an afternoon snack, it barely seems worth mentioning. If you add Splenda to your tea every time, it becomes like autopilot. And if you have food catered to your office a few times a week, and you always slather your catered salad with the dressing they provide, it becomes so routine that you don’t even think about it.
The things you in fact eat and practice every day -your actual habits - those are the things that determine your health.
Your weight, your mood, your energy levels, your longevity and strength, are all determined by what you eat all of the time.
On the other hand, there are things that we eat that are novel, uncommon, meaningful in some way, or memorable. When someone tells me “Oh I love [insert restaurant name here] - go there all the time.” I know that (actually) they don’t … they only think that they do. They actually go there once every couple of weeks, or maybe even once a week. They mention it because it is a positive memory. But EVERY DAY they grab a coke from their office fridge, and somehow they forget to bring it up. More often than not, we remember and share about the things that we only do some of the time. This is why self-awareness is so crucial.
Part of bringing self-awareness to our table is recognizing the things we eat ALL of the time, and how those things effect our health. Take some time to reflect on this. What things do you eat ALL of the time???
Take a mental walk through your day, and take stock of everything you consumed. Handful of your kids goldfish at the park? Yes that counts. The mints that you keep in your purse? Don’t leave those out.
These “all the time” foods inform us about our cravings, and reveal what our bodies are telling us that we need. If we are always relying on that afternoon latte, this should alert us to the fact that we need more sleep. If you always crave something sweet first thing in the morning, this helps us understand that your body is stuck in a cycle of burning carbs instead of protein and fat (and that what you really need to eat every morning is eggs and an avocado).
This holiday season, there will be many occasions to enjoy food that you save for only this time of year. And I hope you celebrate and feast with those you know and love! Don’t define your eating habits by these celebratory moments. The problem is not indulging in a extra large helping of your mom’s famous stuffing this Thanksgiving. You eat that ONE DAY OUT OF THE WHOLE YEAR. The problem is the bag of “cheesy” popcorn that you mindlessly munch on every afternoon.
Going into this holiday season, let me leave you with this challenge: Become aware of what you eat all of the time.
Next step: how to make those “all the time” foods the most nutritious, and enjoyable things that you eat.
That’s where I come in :). These are the things that we discover and accomplish in my 6 Month Program, and this why it is so powerful. Through working with me, and taking actionable steps each day, you will completely change not just the “some of the time”, but the “all of the time”. As you think about January and the health goals you have for 2019, consider what it will take for you to change your “all the time”.