Each year on this day, I send out an email with a similar theme about the Holidays.
And each year I get a handful of replies from people that are pissed!
Why are they pissed?
Hang on, and here is a story to illustrate my point.
As you know, it is Turkey day (as I’m writing) for those living in the US. I am at home with my wonderful wifey hanging out today since we were traveling.
And yes, I will be eating and enjoying it. You should too! Although I am making steaks on the Traeger instead of turkey.
About 4 years ago around this time, I was in Canada for the SWIS conference and after day 1, myself, Dr. John Berardi, JL Holdsworth, Lauren, and Geoff Girvitz went out for dinner to a local Steak and Ale restaurant.
It was pretty funny as the waitress asked us
“Is there some kind of fitness thing going on around here? You are the second table of fitness people I have tonight.”
To set the scene, most of you probably know Dr. John Berardi who was the co-founder of Precision Nutrition – an awesome guy.
JL, according to my buddy Dr. James Heathers is “one big unit” and looks like a side of beef with eyes and glasses, plays with the Thomas Inch DB for fun, and has pulled over 800 lbs.
Geoff Girvitz runs the amazing gym Bang Fitness in Toronto does powerlifting and BJJ. Lauren was a massage therapist/ trainer at JL’s gym The Spot Athletics in OH.
All of us had an amazing dinner of nice portions with some type of dead animal (all vegans just unsubscribed now).
What may even amaze you more is that most of us also had a beer and dessert.
Yep, all these nutrition/exercise people drank beer and had dessert.
Oh my, the universe just imploded.
What was even more interesting is that not once did it come up in conversation.
It was not a big deal.
Nobody was spending 17 minutes of inner conflict to see if they really wanted a piece of cheesecake or not. It was a simple yes or no decision. Nothing more.
There was not a debate about the pros/cons of any of it for an hour.
Not even 4 seconds.
The only slight debate was JB who is sensitive lactose and was wondering how much there was in the brownie bomb dessert.
It was a fun night out and the next day everyone just went back to their normal plan.
I did not find JB the next day feeling like he had to eat chicken breast and kale for 3 months now to make up for it.
Geoff was not in utter agony over the beer he drank. It was life as normal at an uber nerd-a-thon conference.
Here is the lesson my dear reader.
You eat for 2 main reasons:
1) Hedonic – food tastes good!
And there is nothing wrong with that reason.
Of course, you can’t mainline Krispy Kreme donuts and expect to reach your goals.
The flipside is also true. If you have a (singular) dessert it will not ruin your body composition overnight
2) Homeostatic – food is needed to run your body.
Everyone knows you need basic nutrients (macro and micro) for your body to run.
Most of your nutrition should be geared for this reason, but you don’t need it to be 100%.
The worst thing you can do is eat a really tasty piece of cheesecake and NOT enjoy it.
If you are hanging out with friends this Turkey Day discussing the latest research studies (oh wait, that is probably just me on the research geeky part), it is fine to have a tasty dessert on occasion.
If you are eating for the main reason that it is tasty food and you are NOT enjoying it, you are doing it wrong.
Both reasons (hedonic and homeostatic) are important. If you are extremely polarized on only ONE of them, you are stacking the deck against yourself big time.
Relax, enjoy it, get back to your “normal” the next day and move on.
Keep the fond memories and don’t sour them by making yourself feel bad that you ate an “evil” piece of food. Food itself does not have morality.
Food is your friend,
PS- yes, I do seem to get a handful of very upset people about this information for some reason. I guess a sane approach when most dietary approaches are insane is quite odd.