The Happy Diet
I love having guest posts on my blog to keep the material fresh, new, and to be honest, even I get bored of my writing from time to time ;) This one is extra special....Cassidy Watton is a killer athlete, a lover of all things outdoors and has the same bomb-ass name as me. We met on Instagram and decided to collaborate. Enjoy her take on living well with "The Happy Diet." PS. check our her abs!!!
A little about Cass:
Cassidy grew up in Connecticut slaying all the boys in every sport from 5 years old through High School. After moving to Malibu, CA for college her passion for sports turned to fitness. After living the mountain life in Jackson, Wyoming for a year she moved back to Malibu and stumbled into the Sport of Obstacle Course Racing. Two and years and 15+ podium appearances later Cassidy races on the Spartan Race Pro Team. She also recently moved to Miami, FL to get Epic Hybrid Training Miami up and running with some friends. Cassidy coaches action packed interval training classes at EPIC, trains for her sport like a mad women and jams out in the outdoors as much as possible.
I have been eating intentionally for the last three years. Three years prior to that I began eating somewhat intentionally. I ate what I thought was healthy but certainly not to fuel my body for performance and life as I do now. All the years prior to that I was just eating. Zero intentions. Growing up I didn't know what a calorie was or that a banana was a carb and I was happy as a friggin clam.
Looking back, my mom created a very healthy household regarding food. Physically healthy and mentally healthy. We couldn't have sugary cereal and never kept junk food around but ice cream was also a critical part of a balanced dinner. I couldn't leave the table until I finished my vegetables every night but I’d be equally punished for not eating all the pancakes pumped out on a Sunday morning. I was happy. I never had a reason to have a negative thought surrounding food.
Then something awful happened. Some time in my early twenties I started thinking about food. There were words ringing in my ears like “gluten,” “macros,” “paleo,” “calories,” “saturated fats,” “unsaturated fats,” “POLYUNSATURATED FATS!” I lost my food innocence. It was not all bad. I have learned a lot, experimented with many different ways of eating and am healthier than ever. However I am certainly not as happy Cassidy in her calzone every night after basketball practice phase in the winter of 2007. I get it. I was a teenager. I digress.
People today are pretty well informed. While there is always bad information out there, today most people are starting to understand that fat is good for you, you should eat quality animal products if you are going to eat them, a ton of simple carbs isn't the best thing for you, and you should basically just eat whole foods. While this is positive, there are people like myself who are getting so caught up in the details of it all that they are making themselves crazy.
Until a few months ago I wouldn’t touch bread. I now eat it every single day. No more just staring at the chips at the Mexican restaurant. No more shame that the people at the FroYo place know me by name. On the Happy Diet, not only am I happier and more mentally healthy but I am leaner than ever!
CALM DOWN. I know not everyone is the same. I realize I can get away with a lot because I have decent genes and workout a ton to train for my sport. However, my theory is that a slightly less healthy diet with less stress is healthier than the most perfect diet that is stressed over. Cortisol is this little hormone in your body that is released in response to stress— stress from daily anxieties, exercise, or freaking out about the pint of ice cream you just ate. Here is how it works:
1. An individual is faced with a stressor.
2. A complex hormonal cascade ensues, and the adrenals secrete cortisol.
3. Cortisol prepares the body for a fight-or-flight response by flooding it with glucose, supplying an immediate energy source to large muscles.
4. Cortisol inhibits insulin production in an attempt to prevent glucose from being stored, favoring its immediate use.
5. Cortisol narrows the arteries while the epinephrine increases heart rate, both of which force blood to pump harder and faster.
6. The individual addresses and resolves the situation.
7. Hormone levels return to normal.
If you do not yet have an understanding of what a generally healthy diet of whole foods is and are not yet in touch with how much food your body needs each day, the Happy Diet is not for you. Once you have those things dialed in, feel free to join me in the Happy Diet— for happy people who love calzone and FroYo. Vegans, gluten- free, Paleo, etc all welcome as long as you relax.
At the end of the day its not always what you eat but how you feel about what you're eating. Guess what? There don’t need to be be that many feelings involved with eating! There is no point in having a six pack if you are miserable getting there. Work hard, enjoy your food and live happily ever after. Besides, you can always just throw a filter on that gram and look decently ripped.