I have a friend from high school who likes to post pictures of non-Paleo foods whenever I post a photo of some Paleo meal I ate, and this last time, he posted a photo of some rice and beans with the caption, “I have to have my rice and beans at least once a week.”
I get it. I love rice and beans, too. Heck, one of my favorite foods EVER is Hungarian bean soup (bubleves). I used to think I couldn’t live without it, too. I used to believe that if I can’t have certain foods in my life, it’s not a life worth living. I used to justify all the bad food I ate by thinking I wasn’t as unhealthy as other people. I looked fine. I was a little overweight, but nothing that serious.
In the photo above, on the left side, is Sherry and I in 2007. I thought I was healthy and just a little big. I had convinced myself that this whole “Eating right” thing was for other people, and that they were making a big deal out of nothing. Then, the doctor said I have elevated levels of a liver enzyme that is indicative of non-alcoholic fatty liver in my blood. The next year, I was what he called, “Pre-diabetic.” The following year, I was Type-2 Diabetic. My eyesight began to get worse at an alarming rate. I began having nerve pain in my leg and numbness in my toes. Throughout all of this, I had to have my rice and beans, too. And bubleves.
I discussed at length the reasons I decided to do a Whole30 and go Paleo, so I won’t rehash that here. However, I do want to address something here and now that I think anyone who dismisses good eating does: delusion.
We delude ourselves in thinking, “Health problems from eating lots of sugar and carbs will happen to the other guy or girl because I’ve been eating this stuff all my life and I’m fine!” We delude ourselves in thinking, “Well, I’m only 50 lbs overweight. That’s not that bad.” Delusion is how we defy logic. It’s how we drown out that voice at the back of our heads that says, “You really should eat better food,” or that says, “You know, you could stand to lose some weight.”
I was delusional for a long time. I thought I was healthy. I thought I looked normal. The worst part is that even when looking at myself in the mirror, my mind made me look thinner to myself. This is not an uncommon thing among people who are overweight, and a recent study even confirmed this.
It’s a harsh reality, and it’s tough to swallow, but not giving up a high-carb lifestyle will end your life sooner than if you eat good, healthy foods.
Eat better. Cut the carbs. Stop deluding yourself. I’m not asking you to give up everything good forever. Just greatly reduce it from your diet. Rice and beans once a week? Maybe if your body fat is 15%. I’ve got a ways to get there, and when I do, I will reintroduce a few treats into my routine perhaps more often than I allow myself now, but I will never go back to the “Old ways.”