Conscious Consumption: Diets DON'T Work!
Firstly, Eating isn't CHEATING!
Don't reward yourself with food and 'treat meals' you are not your dog..
Get's confusing I know, see from over 20 years experience within the health/fitness industry
Along with research, study, investment and yep failure I have learnt that....
A big part of what is wrong within industry (apart from all the fake social media perfection life/body perceptions) is all the confusing often contradictive misinformation that is out there, especially regarding nutrition/food.
For example - Guaranteed you will have heard one if not both these two before
1, Always eat breakfast
2, Never eat after 9.30pm ( bit like a Gremlin :p )
It's moi, Anton Hedges, Health & Longevity Expert in my fifth decade now..
If you'd like to learn some more grab my free no strings wake up warrior 5-pillar blueprint that includes meal plan examples and detailed weight loss/control pdf here: https://anybodyspt.lpages.co/wake-up-warrior-free-guide/
So, I'll let you into a little secret personally I NEVER eat breakfast and sometimes I don't eat my dinner until almost 10pm :p
(Oh and I have a beer or one glass of red most days too)
I get the reasoning behind why you repeatedly hear this GENERIC shite
1, IF you eat a decent (natural) breakfast you will feel fuller for longer meaning you are then less likely to reach for sugary process (man-made) foods mid morning and beyond. Do you actually choose (or know if it's) a healthy breakfast though?
2, You'll hear if you eat before bed it will sit on you as fat (notice how I didn't say sit on you as weight)
This is dependent on what you are eating I eat the right food at the right time so I can eat before bed or even in bed
The next issue (within 'health' industry) is the diet (yuk dislike the word) industry and all those quick/fix FADS
Someone once asked me whats the best diet in the world?
Well, that's simple, it's the one you can follow!
Trouble is a lot of these quick fixes and fads are unsustainable and more to the point, usually unhealthy!
(Wrote a (educational) rant sorry post fad diets here: *pending*)
>> DIETS DON'T WORK- WE BOTH KNOW THAT <<
What's required is a more balanced approach. With regards to food, I use an everyday and occasional foods system
E.G - I LOVE chocolate and beer, pizza, burgers etc however I will eat chocky 2-3 times per week NOT per day
I may have a beer most days but (include dry days) I don't binge even when I go out socially
All because I'm aware and mindful if you like..
What we (all the guys/girls I coach) call 'Conscious Consumption'
You know, actually taking responsibility for what we shove in the cake hole
(Every action has a reaction and all that, it doesn't matter how big a stone you throw in the water, it will still make a ripple)
However, easy to say but not always easy to DO right?
Brings us back to that question:
If I was to ask you to answer honestly?
A, I don't know how to lose/maintain a heathy weight
B, I know what to do I just can't seem to do it
I'm guessing that you would have chosen B?
This will involve some of those phycological barriers, beliefs, behaviours, and fears that I have also touched on previously
Also, if there is emotional consumption/sedating then there will usually be some kind of catalyst or trauma.
I learnt this from my own experience, and also that it will need addressing like I had too, you need to be aware of your behaviours and attitudes towards your consumption and ultimately your health and wellbeing!
What I do now know is that, you'll need is CLARITY and LEVERAGE
What is it you want and why, and not forgetting what you are prepared to do!?!?!
^^This is a BIG one^^
Although, eating healthy or healthier doesn't necessarily have to be about losing loads of weight/fat, getting big , ripped or shredded. You may just want to feel and look better or set a better example to the people that look to you as a leader?
Above - Some food for thought - Excuse the pun :p
Awareness of knowing what we consume is fuel/energy, and if you've been following for a while you'll know that, our ENERGY is vital and has a knock on for EVERYTHING in your life!
This comes back to the fact that your (mine/our) number 1 priority should be how we feel physically, mentally, and emotionally (all connected) and if you DON'T protect your energy?
Low energy = low mood = poor choices = sedating with drink, junk, drugs, etc
Remember - Put good stuff in get good stuff out!
Personally I don't even use many of those protein supplements anymore (supplement is another subject/blog) as I'm not looking to add loads of muscle mass to my frame (dependent on YOUR GOALS) so why would I ingest man-made artificial preservatives and all the other kinds of synthetic ingredients similar to slim fast/juice plus and all that other shite
I prefer to eat more naturally due to my PERSONAL clarity/leverage of how I feel, and if food is energy/fuel?
Above - Occasional Man Made (Biscuit, E-numbers/trans fats etc) V NATURAL everyday ingredients - It's really not rocket science you just need to learn to open your eyes and your MIND!
You wouldn't keep putting unleaded in a diesel and wonder why it was f*cked?
So, now you are thinking about healthier natural foods and ingredients I'd suggest you attempt to educate yourself with some simple food labeling.
One of the quickest and simple ways to think about food labeling/ingredients is 'what are they' if it is made from more natural ingredients then great but if it looks like something out of NASA or a Science lesson then you don't really need me to tell you to apply common sense - See picture above
Which is why I don't put a lot of man made processed junk into my body, for me it's about that LIFESTYLE balance of those everyday foods alongside occasional food favs - Little bit of what you fancy does you good!
However, what we (all these busy professionals) DON'T do?
ESPECIALLY if you are trying lose weight
We don't use cheat meals or that 'language'
Eating ISN'T Cheating (those treat meals? you are not a fu*king dog) and those cheat meals?
They just encourage the guilt mindset and behaviours
If weight loss (or control) is your goal consider all of the above (that there is a psychological side to it all)
Now, similar to the understand weight/fat loss post, IF you have a lot of timber to shift then stress - inflammation, menstrual cycles, hormones (cortisol) etc all come into play but you will also need to produce an energy/calorie deficit.
Same if you want to put on weight you will need to increase your energy/calories.
Guessing you will want to put on muscle tone not fat though?
This post is more about nutrition/consumption, and those confusing misconceptions, than weight control/loss, however, just wanted to mention that even though we're about that mindfulness over counting calories (the counting is mindful) energy deficits will play a part of weight control/loss and with regards to some of those misconceptions...
I have seen a LOT of online weigh loss expert/gurus, whatever they label themselves, talk about how they NEVER count calories alongside their claims of how it can ruin your metabolism (rate you burn energy cals) permanently and how this can be detrimental to your health if you don;t know what you are doing etc etc ..
OK, IF you are consuming VERY low calorie/energy for a long time it is going to be problematic, but
Yep, it's that BS baffles scenario where they're attempting to make things sound more appealing, as well as using scarcity tactics (more 'health' industry issues) to get you to take notice of what they are saying (as slightly different to the norm) yet many of these coaches who shout it?
All tend to follow a bodybuilder bulk up to strip down system which is perfect if you are a bodybuilder but the average guy/girl? Also please understand this approach is ONLY about the look...
This is not about health (and will come with a specific plan geared around that clarity of goal) or longevity just because somebody 'look's good doesn't mean they are healthy' YET when some these same experts are shouting about bulking up their muscles they will be found posting on the socials about their 5-6 meals DAILY and yep you guessed it, less when they are stripping away the fat for their photoshoot/transformations etc
Therefore, they are CONSCIOSLY INCREASING AND DECREASING their CALORIES and energy (and water before pics yaaaawn) just without actually counting the 'exact figures' which ironically is the science part!
Don't get me wrong CONSTANLTY counting calories isn't a lifestyle, hence why they will use that kind of marketing approach (or they just don't know - you'd be surprised) BUT if you have a lot of weight and unhealthy fat to shift?
Then you WILL need to produce that energy deficit
At least until you have lost majority of that timber or have educated yourself on the nutrients your body requires for optimism health and wellbeing and or specific events, activities, and goals (revert back to clarity)
For this we also usually use macronutrients, which is a little more in-depth system that involves knowing the optimum daily macro nutrients YOUR body requires for health and wellbeing. There are many but we keep things SIMPLE
People love COMPLICATED as it gives us a reason, excuse, story, to not do what we said we would/wanted
Did you eat junk today?
Did you go for a walk today?
and so on
YES OR NO? It's that SIMPLE even more so if you have your clarity and leverage
So we usually keep the macros simple with protein, carbs, and fats
Not everybody needs to track their macronutrient intake. But all my daily weight loss wellness warriors will be educated on their macronutrient needs even if it's just a temporary experiment..
See, I think everybody would benefit from tracking macros at least during one period of their life
You just learn so much about making food choices, about overeating, undereating, and hunger.
What you don't want to do is diet, starve or restrict yourself
Also, as humans we are creatures of habit so if you start tweaking your consumption to suit your needs, and you are aware of it, then it's going to be easy to continue for a more sustainable lifestyle through staying mindful and responsible for YOUR choices even when their are stressful situations and that emotional vs physical hunger
Someone might not change their behavior, but they'll know, 'Oh, that doughnut is a lot different than that chicken sandwich.' Even though the calories may be the same.
So you can see how being conscious and aware is the key but if you are battling the misinformation as well as your own bias and beliefs it's gonna hold you back (why the wake up warriors question these daily)
Thing is, many people choose to stay in the comfort of denial UNTIL
> The pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of change <
If you are what I call a career dieter and you just can't lose 'weight' or more importantly body fat (remember weight not overly accurate is that weight be your muscle tone, water, bones etc) and you have created that deficit...
Then it's highly likely it will be INFLAMMATION (another post) and this comes from environment, stress, and the food/drinks we consume. You already know it's NOT the natural foods causing the inflammation RIGHT?
Therefore you can see how being aware of and applying a balanced approach is key, as mentioned earlier..
I'll eat my fav chocolate - I LOVE chocolate - but 2-3 times each week but NOT each day
I'll also have a beer most days even during a challenge (not gonna be miserable just mindful)
Oh and being aware of my macros really helps with this
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out if you eat a lot of processed foods and takeaways etc high in excess energy calories (remember fat doesn't make you fat - you can find everything n the contents) all the time then obviously you are going to get fat/heavier?
Below -Quick example of another food label and why I gave old el paso the old elbow...
Incorporating real NATURAL ingredients, as opposed to processed foods, as part of sustainable enjoyable meals.
Similar to all the wake up warriors who still enjoy occasional favorites and takeaways but all in balance and moderation. These homemade tortillas (salsa, and guacamole) with my healthy homemade burritos are made from just flour, olive oil, water, and a pinch of salt....and the taste compared to the processed...Oh boy!
The great thing is it only takes a few minutes and these guys get their kids involved which is also great for leading by example, educating, and taking responsibility for what we consume. Kids will copy whether GOOD OR BAD!
(Oh, they also earn some fun/family points as part of this lifestyle system that levels up all areas!)
If we look back to the I never (I do sometimes) breakfast as an example this is because I tend to do some intermediate fasting, that helps with aiding digestion (as I have also inherited IBS) some of that inflammation as well as entitlement..
Many people are disconnected and entitled through just being able to get what they want (namely food for the purpose of this post) usually without thought. Having a few 'feelings' of hunger helps with this and it's not going to actually hurt you!
Also, Intermediate fasting allows me to burn more fat (the after burn) during my workouts, however, don't get confused that it's some kind of weight/fat loss miracle or fad. All intermediate fasting does is keeps you mindful and aware of when you are eating which usually means less calories/energy...
There is a full in-depth post on intermediate fasting in the contents section
Before that though, here's a very quick and SIMPLE usable tool for making healthier consumption choices:
The 80-20 rule.
Simple easy way to stay aware with:
80% of natural healthy ingredients each day allowing 20% of your diet to come from occasional foods
When discussing this with a client recently I told him of one of my go to meals
Tasty free range chicken thigh (sorry not doing veggie or vegans options in this post) jacket potato and side salad or veg which are all natural until I add a little coleslaw to the top of my spud
This of course is man made and would be within my 20% however whilst chatting with one of the guys I coach he was surprised that it would be classed that way.
Hence why we discussed educating macronutrients at least once so to have that knowledge
Sometimes I may use a 95% everyday to a 5% occasional, if I'm doing an occasional challenge ETC
Listen, I'm also more than aware that it could be 50-50 split (Holidays and the like and I take responsibility for that)
For the most part though I have a LIFESTYLE routine/strategy/system that works for me that allows me to stay in great shape, not just physically, all year around without restriction because I take that responsibility
(wasn't always like that though as shared in the 'my story' post)
This also allows me to do the occasional challenge (not quick fix or short term transformation) and or holiday/life without having to go too far one way or the other
This all comes back to my clarity and leverage AGAIN, which similar to exercising is about how I feel
PHYSCIALLY MENTALLY AND EMOTIONALLY
(all tied to what you will consume conscious or sub consciously - physical vs emotional eating)
This will also allow you a way to enjoy the process because you will never find a happy ending on an unhappy journey
Whether that is a boring restrictive unrealistic nutrition and workout/exercise or anything in your life..
Lets be real though - You can't ALWAYS do what you love but there is a way to love what you do!
Oh, just a quick bit on the whole carbs myth (more in-depth the fads diet post) and how you should lower your carbs and no carbs after 6pm etc, carbs don't know what time it is! ('',)
We need carbs for energy and there are various types of carbohydrates and if you are consuming a lot of processed sugary simple carbs (white bread, rice, crisps, chocolate etc) at anytime, let alone the evening myth, how do you think that's going to work out?
However, real natural complex carbs - wholegrains (such as bread, pasta, sweet/baked potato ) vegetables and legumes (like beans and lentils) is why I can't eat a jacket potato after 9pm and the World doesn't stop :p
Carbs also fill out muscles and provide us with fibre, I could waffle on about nutrition all day so will stop there
If you're STILL looking to start eating more healthily then awareness to attempting to awareness to eat more natural REAL foods everyday and keep the processed man-made (artificial yuk ) foods for occasional. Not COMPLICATED is it, unless you make it that way
Brings us back to the best diet in the world as mentioned earlier
As we are all unique and with regards 'nutrition what works for one may not necessarily work for another so finding the correct lifestyle balance (as it is a LIFESTYLE) but if what your doing makes you miserable...?
In closing, get clear on your goals and what you are using your energy for, understand that one man made processed meal isn't going to ruin anything just like one healthy natural meal isn't going to make you super fit and healthy.
It's all about conscious mindful BALANCED and enjoyable choices throughout with awareness about the ingredients you are putting into your body as energy and fuel for the way you look, move, and feel
Anton 'BS Busting' Hedges
PS - Remember YOU have the biggest impact on your health and wellbeing
If you are confused about or interested to make better healthier choices I'm confident this post will help as well as my free wake up warrior blueprint that includes meal plan and weight control/loss pdf: