It’s time for new conversations on dieting!

I am a personal trainer.   I empower people to discover movement and exercise they enjoy, that focuses on their long term health goals and can continue despite what life may throw at them along the way.   I totally believe in hydration, rest,  movement and changing our internal self belief.   Currently I see my industry pushing nutrition as the key player for clients success.   I am not convinced so went out on a wee research mission to help me decide.   The following is my opinion and summary.   I hope it starts new conversations for you.

80% Nutrition – 20% Exercise… I am not convinced.

These days google healthy food and you get  144 million hits in about .24 seconds!

How on this earth can you possibly decide which result is the perfect one for you.    I have been working with women for over five years in the fitness industry.   Every day we are all subjected to massive marketing campaigns, ideas, theories, fads, diets, campaigns for less sugar, more fat, no diary, more diary, channels of food shows,  billions of recipes books, lists of superfoods, lists of cave man foods,  eat raw, eat natural, quite sugar, lists of supplements, what we are deficient in, what food will cause cancer, arthritis, disease and death,  Everyone has an opinion, media, newsfeeds, blogs and family and friends all sharing their opinions on food! We are completely inundated with messages about food, nutrition, hormone response, body function, disease, obesity, how we are eating wrong, eating too much of this and not enough of that.   We shouldn’t eat this with that or mix that with this.   Eat that in the morning, and this at night.   Don’t have this after a certain hour and don’t go to bed within so many hours of that.    Good Golly it’s all just a bit overwhelming.  I might just have to sit down with a big bag of potato chips and take a break from it all.

So I did sit down , ok minus the chips but I was tempted and can totally see how easy it would have been to say arfeckit! I have in the past.   And many of the ladies I work with share this is what happens for them when they think of food…. In my opinion this occurs because we are just completely overwhelmed!   We just have too much information to filter.   OVERWHELMING… Too many thoughts on food.   And that leads to at some point sneakily or not so sneakily eating whatever is close to hand to comfort us,  and if we are feeling just a little bit vulnerable then each food message gets through our filters wonderfully, evoking emotion and reaction,  mostly negative and feeding our insecurities that we are not fit enough, trying hard enough, beautiful enough, skinny enough, shapely enough, healthy enough, we won’t look good enough at that special event and so on and so on.   Then before you know it while on this emotional spiral you have reached the bottom of the packet of chips, chocolate or another wine bottle and then race to stuff the evidence into the rubbish so you can’t beat yourself up for it.   Then the battle begins as we wage war on our guilt and woes which no doubt releases a tonne of hormones that are not conducive to getting any body feeling the best they can feel.   When finally the process reaches you to that place of “ I will be good tomorrow”, ok maybe Monday, really it will probably be when you get back from that holiday, hold on let me count how many weeks until that special date.. oh golly.. negative chatter overload and I need another sit down.    Look down at the watch to see that all this exhausting mind chatter has taken up about a total of 10 minutes!

In vain to unravel this for my fabulous ladies I poured a large glass of water, took a couple of deep breathes and sat down to do some pondering on the tornado of thoughts that I had in the past and so many of my clients still do when it comes to food!  And here’s what I came up with.

  1. We live in an era that has progressed faster than any other era known to man kind with an abundance of information at our finger tips and technology to tell us things we never knew.
  2. Our bodies have not evolved as fast to always keep up with the amount we have to process
  3. We still have the same body systems we had thousands of years ago that need fuelling to function and do the activities we want each day
  4. Our brains seem to be the part of us that has to deal the most with this fast evolution
  5. On average we have 50,000 thoughts a day (can you imagine in cavemen time someone sitting then using an abacus to count each thought a woman had in a day – proof of point four – it is our brains that have evolved!)
  6. Wouldn’t it be magnificent if we could use those 50,000 thoughts for good not evil
  7. Every body is different and imagine if we could take time to work out what our body needs to function in this new era
  8. Imagine being kind to ourselves and eating what we needed, when we needed it and enjoying it.
  9. Imagine if we had so much energy we could do all the activities we wanted and felt so good about ourselves that we were by our own definition were healthy, fitter, strong and happy?

Thanks to my nephew I found this cartoon.

Caveman Cartoon

It was a great distraction for me not to eat.  And I didn’t feel hungry while I was busy.    I pondered why cavemen lived only a third of our average age today.    I doubted it was the lack of great food!  And then felt my head shaking wondering how on earth the fitness world decided that adopting this method of nutrition was going to prolong our current lives?

I concluded that what we are consuming is probably not the key to success?   I think simplicity is a key.   I think being kind to yourself and learning when you eat is an opportunity to nourish yourself is a key.    The women I have been training for over five years mostly have one thing in common, they come in thinking they are here to see me for weight loss, it doesn’t take long until they realise that they really signed up to feel good, feel healthier, more energised and more alive.     To get to this place it’s not 80% nutrition and 20% Exercise.    Our equation is more like 50% thought processing and self belief, 10% Water, 10% Rest, 10% Nourishing,  10% Movement and 10% Connection.   But that’s another fact sheet for another day.

For now focus this week on simplifying how you eat.  Be kind about eating.
Here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. Each time you eat is a time to nourish and be kind to yourself
  2. Nourish so you can perform the activities you want
  3. Nourish for enjoyment so you can focus your food thoughts on positive thoughts
  4. Aim for food that is not in wrappers or that contains ingrediants you cannot pronounce
  5. Choose delicious vibrant colours and nice looking food that makes you feel hungry
  6. Include some occasional foods (food with wrappers) that you love and can savour
  7. Sit down undistracted so you have the opportunity to appreciate your food
  8. Slow down and savour flavours and to work out how food makes you feel physically and mentally
  9. Listen to your body to work out what and how you want to eat
  10. Work on developing a “The Healthy ME Plan” for nutrition, by experimenting on what works for you.