Healthy eating is more important than exercising. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. Don’t get me wrong, I value exercise and do it at least six days a week. Exercise is essential to overall health and one should take the time to workout. But, I know that I’ll never reach my health goals if I eat unhealthily. I’m no doctor, nor a nutritionist, but even I, a laymen, know the difference between bad and good food: broccoli is better for you than a donut. We can all decipher that. But what choice will we make when presented with that option?
It was harder for me to turn around my eating habits than to start exercising regularly. There were a few things that helped create different eating habits in me. One thing that helped me was to just do it. No matter how much I didn’t like eating healthily I did it. I told my brain to shut up. I told my taste buds to take a hike. I basically forced myself to eat in a healthy way, and over time I started to crave those types of food more and more, and shun the unhealthy options. I remember when I tried beer for the first time. DAMN that stuff was terrible! But everyone drank it so I kept drinking it. Eventually, I liked it. I even enjoy the taste of certain beers, but it’s definitely an acquired taste. You can do the same thing with food too. Don’t like something? Just keep eating it. There’s an article about that from Real Age. Now when I eat the junk food, my body doesn’t always feel so hot afterward.
Another thing that helped me was to be aware of my food intake: conscious eating. I thought about food constantly, what will I have for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner? There are plenty of unhealthy snacks offered at work. It’s so easy to blindly, walk to the kitchen and just start munching away with no real thought about what you’re eating. Why you’re eating. Or if you’re even hungry. There goes a few hundred calories. I always tell myself think before you eat. One tip that I’ve learned is that if you’re between meals, you think you’re hungry, go ahead and drink some water instead. This helps because you may not have been hungry in the first place, and the water will satiate you until you’re actually hungry. Again, two articles from Real Age that talk about water in particular: Drink Water to Lose Weight and 3 Liquids That Help Halt Hunger.
The third thing that helped me were results. Physical changes in myself just by eating differently, no exercising. A few years ago when I was at my heaviest of 185 lbs (83.91 kg), I had a friend tell me that I looked fat. That spurred action because I agreed with him. Though ignorant action, nonetheless action. I started the Special K challenge (by the way, I don’t recommend or endorse any diet). In this diet you replace two meals a day with Special K cereal. (To my knowledge, at the time I did this Kellogg’s hadn’t created the whole line of Special K food, it was just cereal). Now I’m not sure if I followed the exact serving size, but I probably wasn’t eating more than 200-250 calories per cereal meal. My third meal probably didn’t exceed 1000 calories so that’s roughly 1400-1500 calories in a day. Even without exercise I lost weight, significant weight. In about 2-3 months time I lost 20 lbs. (I honestly don’t know the time frame on the 20 lbs lost, but it was a fast turn around.) I now weighed 165 lbs, which is the weight I stayed at until I started P90X. 20lbs lost just by changing my eating habits, that’s pretty amazing!
Eating healthy took a down turn for me around August and September of 2010 after I broke my hand playing basketball. Though, I didn’t totally start eating like crap, the frequency of which I ate crap moved from 1-2 times per month to 1-2 times per week. During this time period it was important for me to eat healthily because I couldn’t exercise with my broken hand. Jumping up and down even bothered it. (I’m sure there are lighter things I could have done, but I did nothing.) So in this absence of exercise if I had not eaten healthily the 5-6 times a week I probably would have started to gain unhealthy weight; instead I gained nothing and maintained my 147 lbs (66.67 kg) at the time.
Being mentally focused about your food intake in times where exercise is impossible is important to, at least, maintaining your current weight. Without exercise, healthy eating habits can help you lose weight (where as bad habits will have you gaining weight.) These two reasons are why I think healthy eating is more important than exercise, because if you can’t exercise (or don’t) then how else will you stay healthy?
Wow this post is a lot longer than I thought it would be. And now here’s more!
Go check out the website Forks Over Knives for showtimes. The movie releases on June 17th or 24th, depending on your area.