You are what you eat repeatedly

“We are what we do repeatedly. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle

Who you are is determined by the millions of little choices you make everyday. If I perpetually go around acting like a total asshole and then make one charitable contribution per year or give a homeless person a handful of change once in a while, does that make me a nice guy? No. You become a nice guy by being nice every hour of every day.

The same is true for being lean and healthy. You can’t get lean and healthy by following a fad diet for two weeks and then eating garbage the rest of the year. You get lean and healthy by making the right decisions about what to put in your body every hour of every day.

Do the math: if you eat crap all year round and then go on a crash diet in January because you made a new year’s resolution to eat healthy, congratulations. You ate (sort-of) healthy 1/12th of the time. You’re 8% healthy, 92% fat-ass.

To be 100% healthy and lean, you’ve got to eat healthy 100% of the time.

Does the thought of eating nothing but healthy food fill you with dread? I used to feel the same way. This is because we have a lot of fake shit in our society that not only masquerades as food, but has the nerve to trumpet itself as healthy. You know it when you see labels like “low-fat” or “lite”. This stuff tastes worse than the garbage it’s meant to substitute. It’s full of sodium and sugar, which means that instead of satisfying you, it leaves you feeling empty and craving more junk.

What is healthy food, really? What I’m talking about here is real food, not processed junk. Real food tastes better and satisfies your body and soul in a way that junk food doesn’t. And, for the most part, it’s less calorically dense, so you can eat to abundance and never feel hungry while consuming fewer calories.

Other benefits of eating real food are:

1) Simplicity — Fad diets are complicated. Eating healthy every day is not. You don’t have to keep a food journal, count “net carbs”, or go to a support group every week.
2) Eat as much as you want. Real food makes you feel full and satisfied quicker than processed food does.
3) Better nutrition — Have you noticed that every week they discover a new vitamin, mineral, polyphenol, or antioxidant? If you’re eating processed food, you literally don’t know what you’re missing.
4) Better health — Increased energy, better moods, better sex, less frequent illness, better sleep.
5) Saves money — Eating out all the time is a gut-buster and a wallet buster. If you know how to cook your own food, you can save a ton of money.
6) You can indulge periodically without “wrecking your diet”. I’m not a Nazi or a vegan. I make exceptions to my eating habits, but only when it’s really worth it.

The catch is that you have to do it all the time. Every day. You must eat right as a matter of principle. This is not a quick fix. It’s a permanent lifestyle change. You must become the type of person who does not eat junk food. Which of these two sentences sounds more manly and confident?

1. “No thanks. I don’t eat that kind of stuff.”
2. “Oh that looks delicious but I can’t eat it — I’m on a diet this week.”

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