The following article was web published in the February issue of Elevate Lifestyle Magazine and discusses common dietary mistakes made by the masses, and also discusses how YOU can prevent making the same mistakes!
Never say never, people! No, I’m not talking about Justin Bieber and hit singles that should have never happened; I’m talking about bad dietary advice. As a personal trainer and nutrition coach, I get a lot of questions about specific types of foods- such as if they are okay to have or should be “completely cut out”. Here’s the thing; as soon as I hear of completely cutting a specific food or even worse, an entire food group out of a diet, the first thing I think to cut out is the person or the source that gave that terrible advice in the first place.
We are human, we are animals that are in need of fuel and we are hungry damnit, and with good reason. Your body is a machine and it needs different types of fuel for different types of activities and parts of your day. With this taken into account, it is no wonder that phrases such as “no pain, no beauty” and “avoid everything white” are alive and kicking! I am here to tell you that I eat, my clients eat (and with much success) and you too can eat anything that you want, all you have to do is learn how. Are you ready to learn how to incorporate actual health and maintainability into your diet and into your life? Well then, let’s get started on eating what we want, and maybe even chew on a couple of myths and spit them out along the way!
First, notice that I stress not only eating what you want but also learning how. The major problem these days with us is not that we eat terrible things so much…but that we eat so much of these terrible things! For example, pizza is great and we all know that but the entire pizza is not great FOR you. You can have pizza but you have to know how much of it you can have based on what else you have eaten that day, etc. I spend a large portion of my time giving nutrition advice, not so much telling people what they can and can not have, but on telling them how much of it they can have. When your favorite fitness “guru” or idol posts on social networks a picture of an entire pizza, it does not always mean that they ate all of it, and even if they did, this is a rare occurrence in most cases.
A great trick for portion control in this situation that I have clients do is portion the meal out BEFORE they even begin to eat. This is as simple as receiving your meal, immediately asking for a to-go box, placing a reasonable portion of your meal on your plate and placing the rest of your meal in the box. I know that this sounds simple, but I feel like every time I have mentioned this to a client it comes as groundbreaking information. This is understandable though since as I said before, we are hungry damnit!
Secondly, anyone that tells you to completely avoid a food or even worse, an entire food group, should be completely avoided himself or herself.
I hear so many horror stories about completely eliminating carbohydrates (carbs) from someone’s diet that I’m taking my girlfriend to Libretto’s Pizza to fill the hole from the thoughts left in my stomach…and my soul. Carbs are like fast cars; they are a ton of fun, but because of the problems they can cause for people, everyone thinks (because of what they’re told) that they should be completely avoided, which Metrolina Auto Group I’m sure does not appreciate by the way. Not only are carbs one of your primary energy sources throughout the day, but unlike fast cars they won’t make your insurance go up if used responsibly!
How many people have heard someone brag about being on a “low” or “zero” carb diet and talk about how much they are in love with it? Me neither; and if you know someone that HAS said this they are most likely lying and would also tell you that they have never sang along to *NSync and Backstreet Boys’ 90’s hits. Once again, carbs of all kinds have a place in your diet; the problem lies in knowing where that place is. The good news is that place is not hard to learn and find, so bring on the carbs and the healthy habits that can stem from utilizing them in your life!
A simple way to think of your own diet and incorporate all foods that you may want into it can be as simple as knowing this: you use carbs when you are at high intensity, you use healthy fats when you are at low intensity and you use proteins to maintain your body, help it recover from exercise, and even as energy if needed! Even slightly understanding the role of different foods and the benefits they can provide in your daily life is a great first step in taking over your life the way that YOU want to, and feeling confidant in that you’re doing so in a maintainable way as well.
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It is ironic to me that some of the biggest voices of “health” can at times be the ones that completely go against the fact that humans are made to eat all food groups by recommending to people to take “this” pill and completely cut out carbs, or completely cut out meats, or completely cut out anything that wasn’t delivered by a delivery man on the 4th of that month at 7:37 p.m. while a rerun of Full House was on. Although this mindset can promote an all-natural mentality across the board, this level of “dedication” can be unrealistic for some as well as discouraging. A healthy diet can be achieved by anyone, and sometimes it is hard to realize this since there are so many forms of “dedication” plastered all over social networks and television shows showing that THIS is the ONLY way to do things and anything else will fail.
When you read or hear of certain techniques or diets you should not be so desperate as to immediately adopt that entire format and decide to live it forever…or for the next two weeks until you are tired of the torture. Instead, you should ask an experienced fitness professional about the topics discussed and how they can be incorporated into YOUR diet. No two people are the same, so why are so many fad diets being tried and failed in the exact fashion by so many people? Just because it worked for “this girl” or “that guy” does not mean that it will work for you, and if it does you still have to be careful of the future negative consequences that could result from such an extreme lifestyle change, such as weight GAIN. We are made to eat a variety of foods, and that variety should be what your healthy habits revolve around. Do this and you will realize that being healthy and actually enjoying your life can happen at the same time for you!
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To sum everything up, just remember that eating whatever you want should not necessarily be confused with eating as much as you want. There are no foods that will kill you after one serving, unless someone doesn’t like you and you leave your plate alone with him or her for too long. Every food, especially the ones that you love most, have a place in your diet, your life, and your heart, as long as you use even a little more discipline and control your portions. You will be excited to see that even small techniques like this can make a big difference and more importantly, cultivate results that could change your life in the long run!
Nutrition is a science, so with that being said it can be confusing at times with so much information floating around the Internet. When this confusion sets in do not be afraid to ask someone you trust on the topic, or even me. I can be contacted through the contact forms on my website (jayjohnsonmlp.com) regarding this or any health/fitness related topics! It is important for your health and long term wellness to not “do what everyone else is doing” and ask questions about YOUR goals- so do it, people! Always remember, never say never (Justin Bieber voice).
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