Diets are a topic that will always be talked about. Whether a Doctor creates a new way of taking in calories and sells it or if scientists discover that everybody should be eating Mexican squash there will always be new diets coming out. I have talked about leaving my plate alone when it comes to what I eat. Do not tell me to not eat eggs, do not tell me to avoid soy beans, do not tell me that I should avoid water and air. I am up to my ears in diets and why I should be eating the way that the person sharing their refreshing insights is telling me to eat.
Yesterday, The Great Miss Z posted on Facebook a link to an article about food and as I was reading it I could feel a smirk coming across my face in complete agreement. Reading this article came after a conversation I had with Tara of Family Sport Life in which we discussed how the presentation of some bloggers, Facebook and Twitter accounts is utterly ridiculous. People posting about how they worked out for 5 hours and ate a green onion for lunch. I mean come on people let’s be real here, please! Anyway, after that phone conversation and reading that blog I was thinking that I was headed for a good evening. I had just finished riding my trainer after an hour-long stop and start commute home from work so things were looking up. THEN the dreaded headline on Facebook as I was scrolling: AVOID CARBS or something along those lines.
Avoid carbs? Really? Carbs are not the enemy. The ‘enemy’ is the type of carbs you put into your mouth and beyond that it is the amount of those bad carbs that you stuff down your face hole. If you are eating Snickers bars like they are being phased out then yes you should avoid carbs. This got me thinking that when people are posting and creating their headlines the statements should be AVOID SIMPLE SUGARS BUT SOMETIMES YOU MAY WANT THEM SO GO AHEAD AND HAVE THEM. DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT BECAUSE WE ALL HAVE CRAVINGS.
Our bodies are not all the same and so to make such bold statements like avoid carbs is perpetuating the myth that it is carbs that cause a person to be overweight. I am an example that this is far from the truth. I eat carbs ALL THE TIME. I eat pancakes and waffles. I eat potatoes. I eat honey and molasses. These carbs are my fuel for the 800 miles I am aiming for on my bike this month. They help push me out the door to run and swim. These carbs are complex and not the typical sugar you find in a Snickers bar or M&Ms but at the same time I have eaten those and will continue when the body needs it. During long 4 or 5 hour rides there are moments when I need a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup and I will have one. It is not habit but I am not going to say that it doesn’t happen.
My words of advice when people ask me about nutrition is to figure it out for YOURSELF. Meaning that you may need more of this and less of that but I cannot tell you exactly what you need. What I can do is help give you an idea of what I eat on a typical day. On an intense training day. On a recovery day. These are all different and thus require different food choices to help fuel me for the day. I also do not buy into the eat all the protein all the time thought process. We have an infatuation with protein in this country and yet most of us get all we need but if you just look at headlines and marketing materials you would think that we are not close to our protein needs.
I will not dive into the Fat Free conversation as I have approached that many times. You can read two of them HERE and HERE. Just know that I do not think that fat is the enemy either. I think that diets need to be balanced for your level of activity. If you are a person who does some light working out then your diet is going to be very different from mine since I am working out 10-15 hours per week during the off-season and up to 20 hours in a week during Ironman training.
Avoid the absolute ‘diets’ and focus on what your body needs. Eat whole foods and enjoy your treat when you have it without the guilt.