Questionable Dieting Trends

Summary Fitness Clinic – Part 1

Strong is the new pretty – Fitness Clinic 3/4/2020. In case you missed our Fitness Clinic or want a summary of the nutrition talk, here we go! To help you digest the content more easily, I split it into a 3 part series.

This Fitness Clinic was hosted by Blevins Bicycle Company, Running Lane and Gone Training on March 4th, 2020.

Get Stronger Than Your Excuses

There are four cornerstones to a stronger self:
1) Eat Smarter
2) Move Often
3) Sleep Plenty
4) Relax More

They are all inter-connected. Eating smarter might help you to move more often. And if you slow down and relax more often, you might realize it is easier to pick healthier lifestyle choices. A night full of energizing sleep can deliver the extra stamina you need to finish your strength exercises or to prepare healthy snacks for the next day.

Taking a step back and looking at the larger picture can be useful. An integrated approach might be what keeps you energized and motivated.

Healthy Tip: If you reduce your stress level, you are more likely to sleep better and crave sweets less often.

Questionable Trends – Example Low Carb Diets

Social media and the internet are great channels to stay connected. They also provide misinformation, unfortunately. This is not necessarily helpful for health seekers who are trying to figure out what to eat and how to get fit.

Let us use the example of ‘Low carb diets’. Cutting out sugars (= carbohydrates) and replacing them with high amounts of fat is a very popular trend in the online fitness world.
This is detrimental to the fact that active adults need healthy carbs to fuel their exercising. Otherwise they run out of steam during workouts (or their daily activities), and overeat later with less healthy foods.

Those who cut out carbohydrates, eat as much as 70% (!) of fat to cover their fueling needs (eg. as suggested in the Keto diet). Eating a diet high in fat is suggested to be correlated to cardiometabolic risk factors. Not a very healthy choice…

Healthy Tip: Reduce refined sugars, but eat healthy carbohydrates to fuel your activities eg. found in fruits and veggies.

Dieting Masked As Healthy

Here are two examples of common types of clients. You can take a guess, which report regarding daily eating patterns do I hear more often?

Example Client 1
Skips breakfast, eats a salad for lunch, overeats at dinner (claims to be very hungry).
Example Client 2
Eats a healthy breakfast, eats healthy carbs and protein for lunch, eats a small dinner.

Yes, you are correct, version number 1 is much more common. Especially active females tend to get busy in the first part of the day and forget to eat. Or do it on purpose. Later in the day it catches up with them…

Intermittent Fasting For Weight Loss?

Taking periodic breaks from eating is called intermittent fasting. Another trend which is supposedly helping with weight loss.

Interestingly, client number 2, who eats frequently and regularly, is more likely to be lean. Intermittent fasting is hard on active people with a busy schedule. This approach might not get them enough nutrients to stay healthy.

Healthy Tip: Eat frequently (3 meals, 1-2 snacks) and regularly (around the same time of the day) to fuel your workouts.

Generally it seems to be much harder to convince my female clients to eat more for breakfast, or around their workouts in the morning. Some are just not hungry. Start out small with liquid food forms, such as yogurt or apple sauce. Gradually add more solid forms of lean protein and healthy carbs to your breakfast.

Healthy Tip: Eat more in the first part of the day.

Moving Away From Dieting Practices

Dieting is often masked as a healthy trend. They promise quick results, but diets are not sustainable. No matter if Atkins, Keto or Intermittent Fasting, most people can not preserve these diet approaches for a long time period.

Another questionable trend is to ‘eat clean for 30 days.’ The concept comes in different stages, from cutting out added sugars to cutting out all grains and dairy products.

There are two down-sides to this approach:
1) Are grains and dairy bad for you? No. Both whole grains and low fat dairy products are part of a healthy diet and important fuel for an active lifestyle. Indirectly this diet implicits that all grains and dairy are as ‘bad’ as added sugars or alcohol, which is not true at all. Added sugars and alcohol, especially in large amounts, are not healthy for anybody.
2) 30 days – than what?
After 30 days of clean eating, most people are not sure how to transfer back to their regular eating routines. They did not learn strategies how to adjust their regular diet. Often they simply go back to eating what they did before.

Finding a quick solution would be great, but change takes time.

If we strictly restrict our food intake and tell us that we are not allowed to eat certain foods, it back-fires. Our minds start to crave foods we are not allowed to eat.
We learned this in various research studies decades ago. Our minds are very powerful, so let us use this power for a more healthy approach!

Healthy Eating Approach – Examples

-) Make small changes you want to make permanently.
-) Focus on what you can eat.
-) Fill your plate with lots of healthy food, and add other foods in smaller amounts.
-) Change one thing at a time eg. add one fruit serving for breakfast, replace one piece of bacon.

We need long-term solution, not 30 day of clean eating challenges. Instead, mindful eating and small habit changes can support your journey to a healthier and stronger self.

Avoid getting caught in the ‘diet-trap’. It sounds very tempting… How to stay strong while applying small changes – continue your read next time.

‘Small changes to eat smarter’ will be part 2 of this series. Coming soon!

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