While I am standing in the check out line at the super market, I take a moment to glance through various health & fitness magazines. “Lose 30 lbs. in 30 days!” “Use BRAND X, the most powerful fat burner in the world!” Recently, I actually saw an ad that said, “Have your cheesecake and build muscle, too!” The sad part is, many consumers believe this stuff!
Some of my new clients have been exposed to so much myth-information that they don’t even trust common sense, anymore. Their belief system is so firmly in place, they can’t even move towards their personal health and fitness goals until these beliefs are addressed and then thrown out, for good!
The common problems I see are listed below.
1) The media makes carbohydrates out to be the enemy. Low-carb diets are everywhere. Minimizing the processed and refined carbohydrates (cakes, bread, crackers) makes good nutrition sense but to make all carbohydrates “bad” does us all a great disservice. Starches, grains, fruits and vegetables are carbohydrates that come from the earth. These foods give us energy. We need them.
2) The idea that dietary fat makes you fat is still an idea that is alive and well. Of course dietary fat is more calorically dense than carbohydrates and proteins, but no macronutrient makes you fat. Gaining weight is caused by too much energy in (calories) and not enough energy out (exercise).
3) In the fitness community, I have clients, mostly male, who believe that they can eat as much protein as they want and it will not have any other effect on them but to build muscle. Too much protein will zap calcium from your bones, put stress on the kidneys and liver, encourage de-hydration, and turn to fat if the total calorie amount is too high.
4) Many “dieters” believe that eating at night will store as fat. Even if you ate 2000 calories a day, all after 6 pm, but your body burned 2500 calories that same day, there would still be a deficit of 500 calories. 500 x 7 days in a week = 3500 calories which equals a pound of fat. By the end of each week, eating after6 pm, you would still lose one pound of fat! Can you imagine, if this crazy rule was true, how workers on the graveyard shift would function or feel?
5) Supplements or engineered foods are more powerful than real food! This falsehood makes my job, as a nutritionist, especially challenging. These products are convenient, some taste good, and their marketing is very attractive, often offering the illusion of a “quick fix” solution to their health & physique woes! As far as I understand it, man has not been 100% successful duplicating the micro-nutrients in real food. I vote for food that Mother Nature provides! Supplementation means, “in addition to” a sensible diet, not “in place of”. Supplements should enhance what foods do, purposefully.
Education is the key! Read the science information. Take a class at your local college. Hire a certified sports nutritionist or registered dietician. Do not hire a personal trainer to do your diet for you. Most are exercise instructors, which is not the same thing!
The norm in the USA is to be over-fat. 66% of our adult population is. Do you want to be normal? I hope not! Break the mold! Be a leader in your own food world by being responsible to yourself! Learn how to take care of yourself without buying into the false promises or the “quick fix”.
(REAL) FOOD IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF SELF CARE AND MOVEMENT IS A GIFT!
By Sandra Blackie, B.A., C.P.T., Certified Sports Nutritionist, owner of Freedom of Fitness, San Diego. Sandra competed as an IFBB Pro Bodybuilder from 1988 – 1996. She has traveled the world giving seminars on various health & fitness topics. Office: 858-273-4151