Do any of you have that friend that still orders food like they are at a birthday buffet for a 7 year old? I.e. Chicken strips, fries, plain cheeseburgers, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, tater tots, white pasta, or basically any food devoid of color? Maybe the cereal they eat has cartoon characters on the box? Perhaps you may even be that person. It’s the classic Peter Pan eating syndrome. Your body screams “fully grown woman/man!” but your food tastes scream “toddler!”
Now, normally I grumble and turn my nose up at things that reek of growing up and adulthood. Most of them aren’t fun. Paying bills and taxes, having to show up to work on time (heck, having to show up at all), going to the DMV, mulching the yard, making sure to check the tire pressure on your car… the list is boring and endless. But what if I told you that by “adultifying” your food choices, you could actually look, feel, and have the energy of a much younger person?
The first issue to tackle is what it means to actually be an adult. What guidelines or metrics change as you transform from a child to full grown? I have compiled a list based entirely on my own opinions and observations, but perhaps most or many will ring true with you. I have then correlated said metric with how you can apply it to your eating to reap the benefits of a life filled with kid-like health and enthusiasm.
1.) Adults can take personal responsibility for their actions. Unless it’s a farting situation and the dog is around. Then definitely blame it on the dog.
How this applies to eating: This one can be a toughie, but take a look in the mirror and strip away your excuses. We all make decisions that propel us to our current situations. If you have been eating donuts and hot dogs as opposed to oatmeal and salads, that’s on you. Not on your work situation, baby, busy schedule, or your proximity to the best donut shop in town. Adults know that taking responsibility sucks sometimes, but it must be done. And once you do it, you might find you feel a burden being lifted.
2.) Adults can make informed decisions. They have the ability to do research, weigh pros and cons, and make rational judgments. Except for that one time you went out with the total hottie even though they had the personality of a slice of white bread. You knew it wouldn’t work out, but dang it, they were hot.
How this applies to eating: Long gone are the days of “ignorance is bliss”. Do research on where your food comes from and if it is an animal, how it is treated. Are your dollars supporting factory farms, environmental destruction, or adding to your mounting health problems? As Maya Angelou once said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better”. My personal recommendation is a plant based diet filled with lots of fruits and veggies, minimally processed whole grains, legumes, seeds, and the occasional kick butt chocolate chip cookie. Organic if possible. If you would like to do more research on the much documented, growing pile of evidence on the benefits and healing powers of the plant based diet, I suggest you check out books from some of the greats like Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. Michael Greger, Dr. Garth Davis, and many others. In my well read and well researched opinion, I believe this diet will do wonders for your body, the environment, and the animals. I promise you, this information is life altering!
3.) Adults understand the value of nice things, and know how to treat said nice things with respect. Example: my brother won’t let me in the back seat of his car if I have a drop of sweat on my body, as he does not want it to ruin the seats.
How this applies to eating: While you might be dissatisfied with your body at the moment, I’m putting it in the “nice things” category. Your body does all kind of awesome stuff for you! Most importantly, it keeps you alive. Like, every second. It also gets you where you want to go. Important adult places like work, kids after school activities, and bars. I am always amazed at the lengths some people will go to care for their expensive purchases like cars. And yet that same person treats their body like a high school Panama City beach spring break. Your food choices should be like premium gasoline. It should make you run optimally, make you feel food, and not clog up your pipes. So show that bod the love and respect it deserves! It might just thank you by dropping some extra pounds, getting better sleep, having better sex, and being in a better mood. I have also seen skin brighten and improve. Ah, a good diet. The best youthful elixir.
4.) Adults can sacrifice short-term pleasure for long-term benefits. Like when your much younger sister tries to convince you that drinking one or two more bottles of wine at dinner is a great idea, but you are an adult and you know that you will have a raging headache for approximately 2.5 years. Or not buying that 20th pair of yoga pants because you are trying to save up for a killer international vacation.
How this applies to eating: I’m not a dummy. I know donuts and chips and fried cheese sticks and caramel sundaes taste good. The taste bud party is magical, intense, and… short. Do you want to sabotage your bigger goals for 5 seconds of pleasure? Whether it’s saving for retirement, or achieving a weight loss goal, adults know how to look at the bigger picture. Instead of focusing on all the sacrifices you feel like you have to make, zero in on the life changing benefits that will come. Maybe getting to ditch a long time medication, feeling comfortable and happy in your body, or educating yourself now so your family can live a long and healthy life. These are the real things that matter. And you might even have the energy to play that 50th game of freeze tag.
(We all could use a little more of that energy)
Adulting is hard. The last thing I want to do is pile another responsibility on your already full plate (literally, and metaphorically- ha, ha). However, I would urge you to shove this whole food thing to the top of your to-do list. Once you take care of yourself, your performance in other areas of your life increases dramatically. Load your plate with better choices so you can tackle that awesome life of yours with childlike enthusiasm!
Want to learn more about eating like a grown up and feeling like a kid? Come see me live with Iron Office Nutrition on Wednesday October 18th from 6-8pm at Findlay Kitchen! You’ll get great tips on meal prepping, how to create a healthy, sustainable lifestyle change, you’ll go home with a goodie bag to help you get started, and we will be making a healthy meal that you get to take home with you! Don’t miss out! Get tickets here!