In my old life, I worked as a Personal Trainer at a local health club. I earned my certification from the American Council on Exercise when I was 18. Although I really didn't know much about physiology or nutrition at the time, it was something that I was always interested in so I took a course. In a matter of two months I had consumed all of the material in my textbooks and I couldn't get enough. My instructor recommended I take the ACE test, so I did and I passed.
I really enjoyed working as a Personal Trainer. (Side note: I understand that when most people hear "Personal Trainer" they think of a complete meat-head with more muscle than brain. I assure you that knowledgeable, professional people can be trainers too. I worked with many of them.) It was so fulfilling to help educate people on how their bodies worked and how to eat and exercise to maximize its function. It is still so shocking to me that we are allowed to graduate from high school having little to no practical knowledge of how the body works and how to fuel it properly. Most people know exactly how much gas their car needs and when to get an oil change and how to change a tire, however they have no idea how many calories their body actually needs and how many of those calories should be coming from protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Many people that I encountered while working as a trainer were looking for a "magic pill" or a quick fix or a permanent solution instead of learning how to fuel their body properly. Unfortunately, that idea- the idea that eating healthy, nutritious, natural food is tedious and there's a better way... has been spoon fed to us. Do you want to know the best way to eat that is pretty much guaranteed to make your body perform better, regulate body weight to a healthy level, decrease risk for diseases, stabilize blood sugar, regulate blood pressure, eliminate or reduce depression and fatigue, etc.??? Here it is. It's really tricky, though. Ready? Eat FOOD. Yep. That's all there is. Eat FOOD.
Food is something that can be grown or hunted. It doesn't come in a box. It doesn't come in wrappers. It doesn't come in a can.
I can't even tell you how frustrating it is to talk with someone about their eating habits when they say "I eat really healthy. Organic everything!" I ask "Can you tell me what a typical day's meals look like?" and they'll reply "Breakfast is usually a powdered protein shake with strawberries, bananas, and lite oj. Lunch is usually a salad with fat free organic dressing, and dinner is where I sometimes cheat and have a baked potato with steak on the grill and steamed veggies." My first thought is the word CHEAT. If you are using words like "diet," "can't have that," "cheat," "bad day," "restricted," "off limits," etc., I highly recommend that you evaluate why you're attempting to change your eating habits. Do you really want to be healthier? Or are you focusing on the things you dislike about yourself? In my experience, most people who use words like that are very self critical. They try to shame themselves into making a healthy change in their lives. Rarely, if ever, do they succeed and if they do it is typically short-lived. If you feel that you may have self critical habits you should make a conscious decision to be kinder to yourself and your chances of success will increase exponentially.
My second thought is "Really? A package of powdered stuff made out of godknowswhat mixed with fruit and juice is breakfast?" Just because the package says PROTEIN in a huge font, doesn't mean that it's good for you. Your body only needs 1/2 to 1 gram of protein per pound that you weigh and for MOST people it's closer to the 1/2! What does your body do with the excess protein? It goes down the TOILET or in some extreme cases it can cause serious health issues.
My third concern? Where is the FAT?! That salad might as well be made strictly from cardboard if there is no fat to help your body absorb the nutrients. A lot of vitamins and minerals are fat soluble, i.e. useless without fat. My last concern? A baked potato is the bad thing? Interesting that this person puts a protein powder (of which he or she doesn't even know its contents) on a pedestal, yet the baked potato is the spawn of Satan. Hmmm.
I didn't intend on writing a book here, really I didn't. My point is this: STOP THE INSANITY! Stop reading/ listening to/ buying into the BS! Dr. Oz is a "tv doctor." He doesn't know everything. He will endorse anything someone pays him enough to endorse. PERIOD. The same with The View, Oprah, Tyra, and whoever else we get our "crap news" from. They are entertainers. Let them entertain you, not rule you. Use your own brain, please! There will always be a "newest craze" but I beg you to stop partaking in it. I don't care what amazing diet they've come out with, the zero calorie sugar they mysteriously found in "nature," or the study that shows that "Actually, XYZ is great for you!" Flash back to all the "Ooops. Just kidding, that's actually lethal." statements that are made 10 - 20 years after a wonder diet or product has been created. Just eat FOOD! If that is too tricky or tedious for us, we are destined to kill ourselves off.
With this, I challenge you to eat like a Caveman (or Cavegirl) for a month. If you can hunt it or grow it, EAT it. When it comes to fruits and veggies, try to eat a rainbow everyday. Seriously. Something red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple... EVERYDAY. When it comes to meat, be picky! The Cavemen had to chase down their food which meant that the meat was leaner and so were the cavemen. They shared their catch amongst many, so they had small portions and because it required a hunt they didn't get meat often. In contrast, now almost all beef in america is corn fed to fatten up faster and is confined to small areas, so lean isn't exactly a word I would use to describe any cut of beef. Since our beef is now raised, it is readily available... "Where's The Beef?" Pfffff- heaped onto your plate at every meal, that's where. Poultry and fish are a great way to go, but again, be wary of their source. And of course, don't forget: LOTS of water!
It won't be long before you feel fan-flipping-tastic... almost human even ;) Try not to have the mentality of "I can't eat this or that." Because you CAN. Of COURSE you can. You are choosing not to. Once you focus on getting in all the vitamins and minerals your body needs, you'll realize there's no room for the junk. This is not a "do this for a month and lose a ton of weight for bikini season!" thing. It is eating as naturally as possible to allow your body to do its job! Survival of the fittest, dawg.