I was inspired to make this blog post after finishing a hospital on call shift as part of my Chilliwack ICC Clerkship program at UBC Medical School. I talked about this briefly in my video above, but I wanted to expand on one salient point I discussed. We as humans, like any other animal, are hardwired to decrease suffering. Yes it would be nice if we just ate rabbit food for the majority of the day to stay lean and fit. However, since we have recourse to enjoy pizza, and hamburgers ( I have never met someone who didn't enjoy these foods), we will not needlessly suffer. I can't even count the multitude of times I have sworn I was never going to eat pizza or another burger again only to find it on the plate for my next meal!
Willpower is excellent and it is an absolutely essential ingredient in the early stages of promoting positive behaviour change. But if we rely on will power for long term sustainable change we will falter. We need to emphasize skill power over will power.
What is skill power you may ask? It is the use of appropriate planning and organization to make change easy and automatic and therefore sustainable. Focus on the word appropriate. This doesn't mean you control every aspect of your meal prep and know exactly what you are going to eat. However, what I find extremely helpful is having 1-2 flex meals that you can always lean on when you are really hungry, tired, rushed for time, or a combination of all the above.
One of my favourite flex meals is my healthy cereal recipe I share in the video above. Unfortunately, I can not take credit for this recipe as I shamelessly "borrowed" it from Inspire Health while I was doing a flex project there. My conscience may feel bad but my palette definitely doesn't!
The importance of having these flex meals is that is makes eating healthy, easy, and automatic. For example I am going to devour a bowl of this healthy cereal after a busy over night shift. I am hungry, tired and wanting to just eat asap! Therefore, if I had come home with no plan for what I was going to eat, it is infinitely more likely I am going to reach for a sugar or highly refined carbohydrate snack instead of whipping a 5 star gourmet meal. My will power is just too taxed after working all day yesterday to choose spending significant time cooking over the instant gratification of a sugary snack. So remember, if you want to eat healthier focus on skill power not will power.
If you can’t sustain it, it’s not worth it.
I am a medical student who is obsessed with the Be Activated Muscle Activation Technique, mastering movement and understanding what makes humans thrive.