This is a self-improvement post. See all here: https://starandlotus.wordpress.com/2016/05/29/self-improvement/
Few things are more important to your overall well-being and happiness than what you put into your body. The food you eat has such a large impact on everything from energy levels, mood, self-image, disease resistance, physical and mental performance and sex drive. Unfortunately diet is also one of the most neglected and misunderstood behavioral traits in the US.
When I was in college as well as a workforce member, I lived off fast food. In retrospect, I have no idea how I did it. Literally my early 20s, when I should have been at peak performance, I was at my unhealthiest and it was all due to diet. I worked out a ton, but I just couldn’t resist taco bell, subway, or McDonalds whenever I got that craving. It showed in my performance. I had issues sleeping, less self-confidence, and an inability to maintain focus for a sustained period of time.
Eventually the military did some things to help me clean up my diet. I deployed, which switched up my routines, and showed me the importance of eating in a way to make sure I had enough energy for the whole day. When I came back, I was off the fast food wagon, although I promptly fell onto the binge drinking/partying wagon. It took a bit, but the military eventually forced me to give up that habit also. The last major piece was finding a food I could make myself easily and cheaply. That was solved when I found quinoa.
I can now say that I’m close to my healthiest I’ve ever been. Which is critical, because I probably have the most mentally demanding job that I ever had. Really, I owe a lot of my work performance to my diet. And the fact that I mentally make that connection helps me stay disciplined with my diet.
Another big factor is the people you have in your life. My father was always an outstanding role model when it came to health. It was a pretty big motivator when you’re in your 20s and your dad who’s in his 50s is more cut than you are. He’s now moved to be a full-fledged vegan for heart health reasons, and he’s still as active and energetic as he has he’s ever been.
For folks who are trying to improve their diets I can offer some advice. Look at it as a permanent lifestyle change, not a temporary thing to lose weight. Take it slow and make gradual changes that you can accept. Focus on eating right, not eating less. Educate yourself on nutrition, there are plenty of great resources out there. Finally, get in the habit of looking at food labels. Just try to understand what you are putting into your body. One nice website is fooducate.com – you can search for any food and bring a report on it’s healthiness. Sometimes things that are marketed as healthy really aren’t.
Finally, I have very little willpower when it comes to food. I know this, so I avoid putting myself in situations where I will be tempted. I don’t keep snacks where I live, and I make sure I eat plenty of healthy food, so I’m not tempted to eat that donut at work.