New year’s resolution.
Stop thinking about food (all the time)
A nutrition and health post.
It’s January 2021 and one of my key new year’s resolutions is to stop having to think about food all of the time and instead use that mental energy to do more productive work. Those of you that follow my blog will know that i started my own health experiment at this time, in a practical sense, last year and that i spent a lot of time thinking about food as a side issue of thinking about nutrition, health and disease. To explain what i’m trying to get at with this post an this year i’d like to put it in an analogous situation to a beginner training in the gym, here goes :
Ten years ago i took up proper weight training for the first time, that in itself might seem a little strange in that i was 52 and i’d done some form of physical training on and off since my 20’s : the difference this time is that i learned, and was taught, how to train in a structured and technically correct way by a good coach/trainer. It helped that i was enthusiastic, willing to learn and had a good work ethic but aside from those useful aspects i decided that what i was doing was valuable enough to put a lot of time into absorbing as much knowledge about the greater subject as i could. After a year of consistent work in the gym i would say that i knew enough to go into the gym knowing what i was going to do that day or that week, furthermore i’d like to add a small but crucial detail : that after my workout i would often sit in the health center’s bar while i had a post workout feed and i would think about and record the day’s session in my training diary.
It was a bit like learning to drive though : at first the beginner (in a car) has to look to see where the controls are, in a while that becomes automatic and the new driver can begin to focus on the important stuff like what’s going on around the car……well , it’s the same with physical training with free weights, at first you have to know even where to put your hands on the controls (the barbell say) to know the basic movements and then only after a while to focus on ‘driving the body’ say. Today, even though i haven’t trained for a while i would be smart enough to start with a warm-up and still remember enough of the basic moves to be safe…..today interestingly i am just getting back into training after a back injury and as i look up from the screen i have 2 notes stuck to the cabinet that forms my backdrop : one of those is my blogging and writing schedule for the month and the second is my new training plan.
Lost in the kitchen though .
If i take that analogy back to the kitchen though i come unstuck : for sure i know how to cook but for most of the last year it’s as though iv’e gone into the kitchen not knowing if this should be ‘leg’ day, back day , upper body day or whatever and despite having genuinely experimented with several different dietary regimes i haven’t found a consistent way of eating that i can work with. It’s a bit like being in the gym without a plan and what that does is wastes training time and in my mind at least just causes a degree of ongoing frustration because i keep cycling back to the same problems of choice every week.
The things we do every day are the important things…..
Before rounding this up with my new approach i just want to take it sideways for a moment and bring in something that the excellent Dr Peterson said in several of his lectures : that it’s the small things we do and have to do every day that are the important ones, perhaps the most important ones because over a lifetime that’s what we spend a huge amount of our time actually doing. Right now that’s the way i’m thinking about my approach to nutrition and food this year : that it’s of vital importance to get it right or at least stop making such stupid mistakes all of the time and then i can move my mental effort towards creative things like for instance writing about it and thus sharing these ideas with others. In short i need to spend ‘hard time’ really working on the problem and coming up with a plan that is ultimately as simple as my writing schedule and my training plan.
Just like my writing schedule and my training plan though my new nutritional plan isn’t, in fact can’t be, the same every day : if you like , that would be the same as writing the same post every day or just going into the gym and doing ‘leg’ day every day. Rather what i’m working up is something like a training cycle which for me used to be a 6 week cycle of doing 3 or 4 different daily workouts in a week, having rest days etc and then changing the entire routine to a new one after those 6 weeks are up. Taking it to the actual example of a nutritional plan i know that i want to continue in harm reduction as a background (remove or reduce sugar) but that’s just a negative thing….rather that i want to wrap some days of nutritional ketosis around cyclical fasts and then have more ‘feedy‘, read anabolic, days around harder training and when i go off for long training hikes in a couple of months time.
Sounds complex right ?