Let me paint you a picture--
It's 2:00 AM. I can't sleep. I am on my third consecutive hour of watching reruns of "The Office". Suddenly, I am downstairs, balls deep in a jar of Skippy Peanut Butter.
How in God's good name did this happen....again. Here are the thoughts running through my head right about now:
-Good lord you are repulsive
-You have no self control
-What the hell is wrong with you?
-You are so fat.
-Do you know how much you're going to have to work out tomorrow to burn this off?
So all of this was going on only about 7 short months ago before I decided to try and get my shit together. And for the LIFE OF ME I could not figure out why I had no self control and would just get into this trance-like state and binge after being so "good" and starving myself all day. Why, of all things, would I reach for the peanut butter? & now I know...
We (myself included) are PETRIFIED of fat. There are more fat-free, non-fat, low-fat, half-fat, reduced-fat, 2% fat, etc. products on the market than ever. And, ironically (or is it?), there are more people in the obese weight range than ever before. So what's up? Let me tell you a secret, a well kept secret at that:
FAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU FAT.
I was eating excess amounts of peanut butter because my body was CRAVING fat. Our bodies are actually amazing how they know what they need. So, what actually IS fat? Fats are a concentrated form of energy which help maintain body temperature, and protect body tissues and organs. Fat also plays an essential role in carrying the four fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E, and K. (So if you're not eating any fat, those vitamins shan't be absorbed which sucks).
Basically the moral of the story is if you think you're being "good" by eating a low-fat or fat-free diet, you are setting yourself up for an epic binge. Your biological need for fats will overcome your willpower. Binging is not a lack of willpower, it's your body literally taking over. You have an innate will to live, your body doesn't care that you want to be rail thin, it just wants to keep you alive. Let me repeat that, because it's worth repeating:
BINGING IS NOT A LACK OF WILLPOWER. IT IS YOUR BODY TAKING OVER.
Your body actually knows EXACTLY what it needs. So if you're craving peanut butter, nuts, junk food, fried food, etc., it could really be because you haven't eaten enough fat. Yes, there are "good" fats and "bad" fats. I don't like labeling food "good" or "bad" though. It's just food. And how is a cupcake "bad"? It's the cutest food ever. ANYWAYS, this post can be an exception to avoid confusion.
There are 4 types of fat- Saturated fat, trans fat, polyunsaturated fat, and monounsaturated fat.
1. Saturated Fat- This is found mostly in meat and dairy products, as well as some vegetable oils, such as coconut and palm oils (tropical oils). Most saturated fats tend to be solid at room temperature, like butter.
2. Trans Fat- created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Another name for trans fats is “partially hydrogenated oils." These are the worst kinds. This fat is manmade and added to things like fast food because they're easy to use, cheap, and last a long time. Also, they give foods a desirable taste and texture. Many restaurants and fast-food outlets use trans fats to deep-fry foods because oils with trans fats can be used many times in commercial fryers. Ick.
3. Polyunsaturated Fat- Found mostly in plant sources. (safflower, sunflower, soybean, corn, cottonseed) and tends to lower blood cholesterol levels.
4. Monounsaturated Fat- Is found in both plant and animal products, such as olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, and in some plant foods such as avocado. It also tends to lower LDL cholesterol or "bad" cholesterol.
So how much fat should you be eating per day to avoid eating it all at once at a super sonic pace? Well 30% of your daily calories should be from fat. Each gram of fat is 9 calories. So on an 1,800 calorie diet-
1,800 calories x .30 (30% from fat) / 9 calories = 60 grams of fat per day. Amazeballs.
If you eat some saturated fat or trans fat, don't trip. The general rule I try and follow is 80% good, 20% bad. Not just for fats, for all foods really. You NEED to be eating a fat at every meal. (Along with a carb and protein). So using myself for example, in the morning I put peanut butter on my toast. For lunch, I put avocado or cheese on my sandwich or salad, or use full fat salad dressing. For dinner I'll put butter on my sweet potato or avocado with my fish or chicken. Want to hear a perfect snack? 1/4 cup of nuts and an apple. NOM. Whatever, you get it. Do it. Eat fat. Your brain will thank you. Seriously, 2/3 of your brain is fat.