Recently, at a family function, my dad made homemade donuts- hot out of the fryer covered in powdered sugar. They are basically one of my favorite things he makes ever. For the obvious reason that fried dough covered in sugar is flipping delicious, and because it reminds me of being younger when my grandma would feed my brother and me. Somehow we escaped our childhood without developing Type 2 Diabetes, but not for a lack of trying from my grandma.
As I sat hunched over my plate scarfing down my third donut, my eyes glazed over with delirious happiness, a family member commented, “Donuts?! Are those on your health plan?” Hardee har har. I somehow squelched the overwhelming urge to roll my eyes and bark out a sarcastic retort since I know he was just ribbing me a little.
Guess what, world? I tell other people what to eat and how to get healthier, and yes, I do eat donuts. How can I do this? As a health coach, I do take extra precaution to set an example of healthy eating and fitness. My food choices and habits often get picked apart by family and friends. But convincing people that living the clean life is doable, worthwhile, and actually enjoyable (it is, I swear!) is a teensy bit difficult if I put an ironclad clause on their life banning fried dough and other favorite foods forever. I’m already a little bit of a freak with my habits, I don’t want to become a complete societal leper, and I don’t want my clients to feel like they are, either.
I am a huge believer and advocate of the 80/20 or 90/10 rule. When applied to eating and health, it means that you are sticking to your healthy goals and clean eating 80 or 90% of the time, and eating foods or doing other things that might not fit that bill 10 or 20% of the time. Did I feel guilty eating those donuts during Easter? Not at all, because I had salads coming out the yin yang that entire week before. Also, I can probably count on one hand the times in a year that I eat donuts. I have overcome the whole mental berating, guilt eating cycle of doom by realizing one thing: I can eat whatever I want. The little catch that keeps me out of Taco Bell drive throughs and candy binges is knowing that I just don’t want to. What makes me not want to? Three things: education, knowing how I will feel after I eat it, and my priority of long term health over a 30 second, enjoyable tongue experience.
Another point to mention about changing how we eat is the attitudes and perceptions we have towards dieting, losing weight, and being healthy. In an article I read recently on the Forks Over Knives website, Dr. Kerry Graff talks about how love is a much greater motivator than fear. A fear based attitude we might have towards food: I can’t eat that, I’m scared I’ll get fat. A loving attitude towards food would be: I love how energized I feel when I eat fruits and vegetables. Dr. Graff says, “We need to transition from thinking in terms of what bad things are going to happen if we don’t change to focusing instead on what good things will happen if we do. This process is called “cognitive reframing” and it is crucial for any lasting lifestyle change.” By reframing your perception of “good foods”, “bad foods”, as well as approaching new habits out of love for yourself rather than bashing yourself or using scare tactics, the healthful journey becomes so much more enjoyable.
Maybe you will be like me, and once you start feeding your body the foods it needs to reach optimal performance, plus experience super awesome benefits like weight loss, better sleep, and higher self confidence, you might find yourself willingly passing up the donut box 80% of the time without feeling like you’re missing out. So the answer to my question “Donuts and health: can you have it all?”, is a resounding yes!
I am your partner in health crime. I ask you important questions and create strategy on how to improve your performance. I help you make good choices and am your support system on this winding highway to health.