Dietary choices are often a first step in fitness
Stop Poisoning Yourself
We are not talking about going on a diet in this post and we are going to discuss it in my upcoming book. One of the biggest problems in our health these days is our perception of what we consume and with diet, perception is everything. Over and over I see new or returning-to-fitness clients who sabotage their hard work based on some antiquated belief that once you start exercising, you must “go on a diet”. People feel they must cut calories to make the most fitness and weight loss program.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
I hope to show you (here and in future posts) that you may actually not be eating enough. Not enough now, not enough while at rest, and certainly not enough to support your body though a fitness transformation.
Let’s begin by making a few things clear. First things first...this is not a diet blog and I am not a dietitian or nutritionist. I am a trainer and a coach and the goal of this blog is to give you the “why” to go along with the “how” of getting fit. While it is necessary to discuss diet and nutrition to make this blog work, it is not the focus. What I will show is a peek behind the mysterious curtain of the dietary world, one step at a time - and like all other subjects, give you the basic information to go after your own nutrition needs.
Next, let’s be clear that the words “diet” and “nutrition” are not interchangeable. The word “diet” is often linked to some form of self-denial and cutting calories while nutrition is seen as an umbrella term that encompasses many (if not all) areas of food consumption. Lastly, and with equal clarity, let me say that everything you are about to read is subject to change according to your body and its needs. This is a scary truth - there is no one-size-fits-all approach to healthy eating. While there are a few basic tenets that we will discuss, your dietary needs will change according to the ever-changing interaction between a few variables.
Dietary needs change according to:
- Body type
Let’s dive in with a few general thoughts on how to “stop poisoning yourself”
- Reduce or eliminate added sugar
- Reduce or eliminate processed foods (includes fast foods)
- Reduce or eliminate soda, energy drinks, or sports drinks
- Increase real foods
- Increase fruits and vegetables
While these items are listed in order, there is no real basis for giving one priority over another. (that’s why they're in bullet points and not numbered). All of these items are important to achieving your goal - from weight loss to muscle building to endurance activity - they are all important and they all must be done.
I know this sounds like a lot. It is. And you may be thinking it’s too much. Let me assure you it is not too much. Just like any fitness program or new endeavor, we’re going to go at this diet and nutrition thing one step at a time using the Theory of Incremental Change.
The Theory of Incremental Change suggests that you go at this one piece at a time. While starting slow on a new fitness routine can help maintain motivation and decrease injury (more on that in another post), using the same approach to your diet will help ease the pain of transition from eating too much (or too little) and from eating the wrong things (at the wrong time) to finding a healthy, comfortable place at any table.