Are you struggling with eating to achieve your fitness goals? Do you most often feel guilty for your food choices? Unless you have body dis-morphia, or lacking proper structure and consistency than maybe your relationship with food is holding you back.
Most popular diets have essentially one thing in common, and that thing is ”restriction”. Before this explanation I have to give a disclaimer. I am not a dietitian, but a nutrition enthusiast with a minor in nutrition. I only want to help you make good choices that make you happy and not guilty.
Now, what do I mean by restriction? I mean most of these diets don’t exactly promote eating certain foods more than others. Instead they say more often to stay away from certain foods. Stay away from carbs, stay away from meat, dairy, fat; whatever the case may be most “diet” trends tend to focus on what you should not eat.
You may think, why is this a bad thing; aren’t some foods bad and other foods good? Well my friend I have some poor news for you. There is not such this as a healthy food. An even bigger statement is there is no unhealthy food. I know that is hard to believe, and it goes against what you have learned about foods.
The truth is there are no unhealthy foods. There are only unhealthy eating habits. My experience in dieting and reverse dieting has been that unhealthy habits are brought on by both a lack of foods and an excess of foods. Too much of a good thing is common, like too many sweats and over indulging on pizza.
The other end of the spectrum is that a lack of good things can bring about bad habits. In an undergrad nutrition course, I had to take food log and determine what nutrients I was lacking. I found that four out of the five days I logged were lacking most minerals and vitamins even though I was eating sufficient whole foods for caloric intake.
That fifth day, however, was well over what vitamins and minerals I needed including selenium, iron, zinc, Vitamins E, A, K, and D. What was the difference you may ask? That day I had splurged on almost a whole pizza.
What can you take away from this. If I had spread the pizza between the five days, my caloric intake and nutrient needs would have been structured better in my favor. Restriction on Pizza the rest of the week ultimately resulted in over consumption.
Pizza was not a bad food in my case. It served more good than most of the foods I had ate. Just like eating too much pizza over time, the lack of nutrients that the pizza provided would have hurt me down the road. Am I condoning pizza? Some pizza? YES! The line between over indulging and enjoying foods that can contribute to your diet is much bigger than the industry has lead you to believe.
This example shows that demonizing foods can be just as harmful as a diet over-saturated with certain foods. Dieting at the moment could not be easier. I have lost nearly ten pounds so far eating 5 donuts a week under a 4,000 calorie day volume. I am not telling you to eat that way. What I am telling you is to enjoy the foods you like while not getting carried away or feel the need to justify your eating habits with more exercise.
Ideally, it would best to eat a bulk of whole foods a day and filling the rest of your nutrient needs with foods that you enjoy. The only way you will know is to track it. This is where I give you a tool that can optimize your diet. ChooseMyPlate has the best specific dietary recommendations including telling you what nutrients are present in what foods. For more ease, I would use the mobile app MyFitnessPal.
Whatever tool you use, stay informed and make wise decisions. You do not have to feel bad for every treat you have, because these treat may be useful after all, but do not get carried away.