I know all the excuses ever made for eating too much.
Not only have I heard them, I’ve made them.
If I have a vice now that I’m a boring stay-at-home family man, who doesn’t drink or smoke, it’s that I like to treat myself with food.
High-end British supermarkets like Waitrose and Marks & Spencer are simply unbeatable when I’m in a gluttonous mood.
I can make all the excuses that you can make, plus ones that civilians (not in the fitness industry) would never think of:
“I’m tired; I need a pick me up.”
“I’m hungry; I need some calories.”
“I’ve worked hard this week/today/this morning, I deserve a treat (or three).”
“I worked out intensely yesterday; I need the carbs.”
“I’m feeling flat and carb depleted, I need sugar and starch to replenish my glycogen stores.”
“Carbs are protein sparing!”
“I’d benefit from a leptin spike…”
Life has taught me that there’s nothing more worthless than an excuse, and humans are world class at convincing ourselves of things that we want to believe are true.
However, if I can grotesquely misquote a rather better-regarded British author than myself – it should be a truth universally acknowledged that no-one ever ate anything by accident.
The pizza/doughnut/extra serving of fries/beer did not just fall into your mouth.
You are not a child being forced to finish off everything on your plate.
That chocolate bar didn’t sneak into your stomach when you weren’t looking.
I am abundantly aware of how difficult it is to diet.
I am abundantly aware of how many of us have complicated and challenging relationships with food, and how the food industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that doesn’t have our best interests at heart and instead is all about producing the most addictive foods, packaged in the most appealing manner, advertised in the most compelling ways, all for the lowest cost, which usually means the emptiest calories devoid of all nutritional goodness.
None of this abdicates our personal responsibility for the decisions that we make when feeding ourselves and, even more importantly, our children.
The subject of healthy eating is fraught with complication and yet inherently so simple.
There are countless lessons that I can share with you, but it all starts with our decision to allow ourselves to be held accountable for what we put in our mouths.
Whether you choose to do this by yourself, with the social support of a group (just look at the massive popularity of WeightWatchers and the singular reason for its success – social support and accountability), or with a good coach or trainer, the bottom line is that you have to accept that no-one ever ate anything accident.
All of which means you are responsible for what you eat.