I used to be obsessed with food, calories, when to eat, what to eat, how much to eat, etc, etc, etc. It consumed my brain. I was doing a lot of things wrong. I am in a much better place and have been for several years.
I really can't believe that I have such a healthy perspective on food. I never, ever thought I would get here. It was hard. It meant making myself uncomfortable. It meant listening to the logical part of my brain, not the messed up part. It meant sticking with it for the long haul, even though I didn't want to. I had times I screwed up, slipped up, and took a few steps backward. But at this point, I can confidently say that 95% of the time I have a really healthy perspective on food. (I will always withhold that 5% because everyyyyyyy once in awhile I have a moment of crazy!)
But oooooooh there were dark days! I followed a lot of really bad nutrition advice! Now, it's easy to look back and laugh at how dumb I was. It's embarrassing, really. But sharing my story can hopefully help people so they don't make or continue to make the same mistakes I did!
Let's talk about some of that warped nutrition advice I followed...
1. A calorie is a calorie.
I operated under the theory that 100 calories of chicken = 100 calories of ice cream. OMG I was so wrong! The way your body processes and uses the calories in chicken is way different from what it does with ice cream. When I studied to become a personal trainer, I learned a lot about how to fuel my body before and after exercise. It helped me make smarter choices and it also helped me know what to eat and when to eat it. I learned to not be afraid of fats, sugar, and carbs. There is a time and place for all of these things in my diet. For me, the key was having the knowledge of what my body was actually going to do with those foods.
2. Your diet should be my diet.
Sometimes I would compare my diet to other people's diets- particularly people I wanted to look like. If a friend of mine was juicing, I thought "Hmmm maybe I should do that. I am such a pig, I should just drink juice for a couple days." I am glad I wised up and got out of the habit of comparing what I eat to what other people eat. Just because it works for them, doesn't mean it will work for me. And vice versa.
3. Cut ALL the calories.
The less calories the better, right? That's how my mind worked for about 8 years! I would try to wait as long as possible to have my first meal of the day. I would always choose the low calorie option of brands of foods. I remember buying wheat bread that was only 30 calories per slice. (Paul called it air bread.) Obviously I look back now and realize how stupid I was. My body needed quality calories to feel satiated. I was just never satiated...
4. Low fat/Fat free = better than full fat.
There are so many fat free options out there and that is what I would go for. I remember making grilled cheese sandwiches with air bread and fat free cheese. I'd make huge salads and pour fat free Italian dressing all over them. Nowadays, I would never use fat free Italian dressing or fat free cheese. It doesn't taste good and what's the point? My body needs fat! I used to avoid oils at all cost. Last night I generously sprayed it on my garlic bread and did not feel a lick of guilt about it.
The main thing I want to get across in this post is not how stupid I was. It's that if you have an unhealthy relationship with food, there IS hope. I never thought I would get to where I am now. I used to obsessed about food all day long. It was all consuming! I really feel that if it was possible for me to change my mindset, it is possible for anyone. It was not the EASY thing to do. It was UNCOMFORTABLE. I had to make the decision EVERY day to change my behavior. But it was worth it!
What's the worst nutrition advice you got/followed?
Do you have any GOOD nutrition advice for us?
Do you have any GOOD nutrition advice for us?
I could relate to everything in this post ... especially the air bread and fat free cheese. I used to buy this weird brand of cheese were each slice was only 15 calories. The other ff cheeses were 25-30 calories so with this weird brand I could allow myself 2 slices for the "price" of one! The cheese tasted and felt like plastic. It probably was just a sheet of yellow/orange plastic! Those were bad days. I would never ever buy that useless bread or "cheese" ever again!ReplyDelete
GOOD! I am glad you are over plastic cheese and air bread. You are totally right- the cheese tasted HORRIBLE. It was not cheese.Delete
You have come so far and I am so proud of you! I had some bad habits in the past, mostly eating far too much processed food and drinking tons of soda. Now, my main advice is just "eat real food". When I tell people I eat bacon, for example, they say to me "why don't you eat turkey bacon, it's healthier". And I just think: really?! Have you looked at the list of ingredients? Just because it might be lower calorie and/or fat does not mean it's healthier. Regular bacon is just bacon fat + salt (I get the very natural one w/ no nitrates) but turkey bacon is filled w/ stuff I don't even want to put into my body. I'm all about the real stuff even if it is higher in calories & fat.ReplyDelete
I eat turkey bacon, I am definitely going to have to look at the ingredients and maybe make a better choice. I already KNOW your stance on real vs. turkey pepperoni. :)Delete
This is a great post! Even though I already knew that athletes need more protein, I have just now started making an effort to eat more and make protein shakes after a workout. It just started to hit home when my PT told me my body was starting to break down. I am awful at fueling and replenishing!ReplyDelete
But it sounds like you are learning and making an effort to be better at it! It's hard to eat like an "athlete". Sometimes it means eating/drinking after a workout when you aren't even hungry, but you do it because you know your body needs it.Delete
I agree! I used to always read about low calorie and low fat stuff being best...its so not true! The best advice I have learned about nutrition is to allow for balance but try to focus as much as possible on natural, unprocessed food. Now I never think about calories or fat and I definitely feel my best.ReplyDelete
That is awesome that you are eating mostly unprocessed foods and don't worry about calories or fat anymore. It is such a freeing feeling. I was always scared I'd get "fat" if I stopped counting calories but lo and behold I didn't. My guess is you didn't either! ;)Delete
Runner's World always reposts this article about what foods runners should have in their grocery cart, and it always mentions getting low-fat low-calorie stuff, and they always get slammed in the comments for it. I remember when I was growing up the anti-fat, anti-carb, anti-calories stuff was the gospel of eating, and now the truth is coming to light. It makes me wonder what dietary advice of today will be debunked 10-15 years from now.ReplyDelete
The best thing I ever learned about nutrition was everything in moderation, and eat clean as much as possible. People get so preachy about certain diets, anti-this and anti-that, but the biggest evil is really just excess of anything. Pretty sure no healthy person ever died from a balanced diet.
I never saw that article from Runner's World- boy would that anger me. Moderation is something I struggled with. I sort of have an "all or nothing" mentality when it comes to most things. I could never have a bowl of ice cream. It was either no ice cream or 1/2 a carton!Delete
I definitely used to believe the whole a calorie is a calorie thing in high school. I ate TERRIBLE but would always watch my calories. Thank goodness for high metabolism back then. I'm also over all of the low fat/low sugar crap. I think most people now know that everything in moderation is okay!ReplyDelete
I guess we can't beat ourselves up too bad over what we thought in HS, right!? I am glad you figured it out loooooong before I did!Delete
My oldest daughter has a lot of food allergies, and she cannot tolerate processed food. She can't have any dyes. So we eat real, whole, unprocessed foods--mostly. My son is a teenager. Enough said.ReplyDelete
I am sure your son eat ALL the food! :)Delete
Why is it that every idea in this post I could also relate to??? Especially the calorie in-calorie out one. I really thought calories were calories no matter what they're from and sadly some of my friends still think that way. I wish I had more of an education in food so I could make more informed food choices. I still enjoy my treats once in a while and don't cut out things all together. But I just wish I knew more about the nutrition aspect.ReplyDelete
When I read the nutrition chapters in my ACE personal training books, I was fascinated. It explained (not TOO technically because I could understand it) what the body does with fats, protein, carbs, and what it does for extra calories... what foods give you immediate energy vs long lasting. I'd recommend that book but it was like a textbook manual and it was really expensive! Maybe you could find a similar type of book. I am sure you would find it as fascinating as I did!Delete
Back when I was in college, we all battled with our weight. We tried a ton of diets...the grapefruit diet, the stewardess diet (it was the 80s)...you name it. Talk about bad nutritional advice...ReplyDelete
I never heard of the stewardess diet but I remember the grapefruit one. There is a woman I work with who sometimes only has a grapefruit for lunch and I get secondhand hunger for her! But who knows maybe she snacks all day.Delete
I understand the TMI aspect. Every time I write a post like this I fear it is too personal... but it always ends up being s a very popular post! I say click PUBLISH :)ReplyDelete