Nutrition is the foundation of your health and fitness. All other aspects needed for optimal health and fitness are layered on top of that. Therefore if your nutrition sucks, no other aspect of health and fitness will be as solid as they should be. The problem with food, however, is that decisions surrounding it are often based on emotion. People eat for pleasure.
This can be compared to the approach to training. You know that you’re going to feel good after the workout, so despite the discomfort and challenge of training, you still do it because you know you need to in order to stay fit and healthy. But with food, even though you know certain choices are detrimental to your health, you don’t let go because it makes you feel good.
When you come around to approaching food as a fuel MOST of the time, you remove MOST of the emotion attached to eating. Food is after all just that, fuel for basic function. Note, I said MOST of the time and MOST of the emotion because food is there to be, and absolutely should be enjoyed and indulged in. As long as what you’re eating is fulfilling those basic needs of health and fitness (including weight management).
So how do you identify if you’re approaching food with too much emotion? It’s something I identify quickly upon asking some questions. But here are some red flags you should be looking out for in yourself and your family.
Just because something is working for someone doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to work for you. Everyone is different from the cellular level up. Your lifestyles and goals are different too. There is certainly some common ground that applies to everyone, but the finer details – those little quick fixes you’re so desperately seeking that don’t exist – are what matter.
Let’s take this fat burner for a few weeks, then I’ll use that whey protein before changing to casein protein, and then cycle creatine regularly, that should help me cut body fat. No, it won’t. Unless your nutrition is dialled in, you don’t deserve supplements. And unless your nutrition is dialled in, you can consume all the supplements in the world and they won’t do a thing for your fitness or those handles.
CRAVINGS & BINGES
These aren’t the sorts of cravings that pregnant women have. If you drastically eliminate foods you’ll end up craving them. The cravings are often a result of some sort of macro or micro-nutrient deficiency. This can also lead to binge eating.
Craving sugar or sweet treats does not apply here. You do need to cut those to a very small amount and you need to learn how to ignore the craving for sweet stuff. That is, learn how not to eat for comfort.
ACTIONS NOT ALIGNED WITH GOALS
So your goal is to tone up (add lean muscle), but you’re not eating any protein? And you want to lose body fat, but you’re knocking back a bottle of wine every other night “because it’s red wine.” Too often actions are misaligned with goals. It’s partly due to misinformation, sometimes due to parroting, but mostly because of emotion. You know you need to change it up, but you’re in denial.
This is probably one of the most common red flags, and certainly the easiest one to spot. It happens when you tell someone that they need to start cutting back on something because that’s what needed for the goals they’re after, and they respond with something like “Why? I can’t do that, I’ll never cope!” That’s called addiction. When food is approached with emotion, it becomes a drug – a crux you just don’t want to let go of. Do you have any foods you just don’t want to let go of because you love them too much? Those are the ones holding you back.
If you’d like to learn about strategies to iron out these behaviours, head along to the nutrition workshop at either facility on Friday night at 18h30. You’ll learn about the physiological and psychological responses to food, how to change your nutrition for you and your goals, and how we structure our lifestyle challenges and nutrition services to change your habits for better health and fitness.