Here at CrossFit Sandyford, we’ve got 2 things we’d like to tell you about nutrition:
1) Nutrition is not complicated and
2) Changing your diet is not as hard as people make it.
What tends to happen is people over-complicate nutrition, overthink it and then build it up to be more of a big deal than it actually is.
It’s Not Complicated
You don’t need to overhaul your whole life, shave your head and move to a monastery to have a better diet and you don’t need to acquire a PhD in molecular biology before you start eating less biscuits. All we’re looking to do here is change course a little!
In fact, the best and most simple piece of advice we can give you about nutrition comes from Dan John and it is this: Eat Like a Grown Up.
What does that mean? Well, if something is advertised with dancing cartoon characters on television and marketed to children, the chances are that you should probably not eat it. In fact, if they have to advertise the health benefit of a food AT ALL, you can be about 99% sure that it’s not really that healthy.
When a company has to spend millions of euros putting posters on all the bus stops telling you that white bread has protein in it, or that chocolate bars give you energy to play sports, alarm bells in your head should start ringing. How come the people selling broccoli and salmon don’t have to convince you that it’s good for you? It’s because you’re a grown up, and you already pretty much know what you should be eating.
You already know that chocolate bars and beer are not going to lead you on the path to your ideal waistline. You already know that you should probably eat more vegetables and less processed foods. You already know you should drink more water and stay clear of fizzy drinks. Anytime you start feeling lost or overwhelmed by nutrition, forget about all the noise and just focus on the basic points.
When in doubt, just stay away from dancing television food with catchy jingles. Instead, make sure about 80% of your meals are based around natural foods that don’t have long lists of ingredients.
Sure, there are some subtleties to exactly how much protein, carbohydrate and fat you should eat at each meal (and we’re going to talk about that in our next few posts on nutrition), but as we go through this let’s remember the golden rule at all times: When In Doubt, Simplify.
If you don’t have the body you want, and you can’t figure out why, look at the big pieces first. Your problem is one (or more) of
1) too much alcohol
2) too much sugar and/or
3) too much processed starch.
It’s NOT that you have a slow metabolism or special genetics. It’s not that you’re doing the wrong training programme, or the fact that you do your cardio at 55% of your maximum heartrate instead of 65%, or that you take full fat milk in your tea instead of skimmed.
Don’t be that guy or girl who drinks 20 pints of beer every weekend but then obsesses over whether they should make their lunchtime salad with salmon or with tuna for optimal fat burning. Look for the obvious stuff first. “When you hear hoof-beats, think horses, not zebras”
Nutrition is not about knowing more things. It’s about:
1) Planning meals
2) Buying healthy food and
3) Preparing, cooking & eating it.
You know, like a grown-up.