Taking crappy food out of circulation

Why is it that even though we see people all around us trying to make healthier food choices, the food we most often tote to a potluck or deposit in the office break room tends to be calorie-laden crap?

I suppose for most of us it’s a socially acceptable way to indulge in “a little something” without having to keep it around the house where it would completely derail our diets. The reality, though, is that the calorie bombs we foist off on the crowd usually aren’t as welcome as we think they are. How many times have you been doing really well on your diet, only to have someone invade your space with a temptation you weren’t prepared to defend yourself against?

I know I’ve been guilty of this on several occasions. But it wasn’t until I read Tom Rath’s take on this that it really hit home.

eatmovesleep“The problem is, most of us want healthy options for ourselves but assume incorrectly that others prefer less healthy foods,” Rath writes in Eat, Move, Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes. “Change this trend in your networks, and start bringing healthier foods to gatherings. If nothing else, it will tell your friends you value their health as much as your own.”

I picked Rath’s book up on impulse at the library the other day. It’s really just a collection of little improvements he’s made over the years rather than an all-encompassing philosophy, so it’s easy to flip through and pick up ideas you like while discarding those that don’t sound appealing or workable. (Which is pretty much how I approach every diet book I come across these days.)

Here are a couple of other useful tips I’ve gleaned from this book:

  • No matter how much you think you exercise, eliminate one hour of “chair time” from your daily routine.
  • Aim for foods that have no more than 5 carbs for every 1 gram of protein. (I’m not going to embrace this, but it’s an interesting filter to look through.)
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