For some people, I get the feeling that eating a meal with their friendly dietitian is like going out with their hair dresser on a “bad hair day”. Let me set the record straight. I pass no judgement on anyone else’s food choices when we are enjoying a meal together. Just as my hair dresser saves his comments on my hair for the chair; I reserve my comments on the diet of others only when prompted. I believe in everyone’s right to make their own choices about what best serves them. Their reasons are different from mine. Comparisons of food choices and habits to anything other than our own intentions leads to mounds of unnecessary shame and guilt over food.
Performance nutrition behavior number three is to stop this comparison game with others. Never “yuck someone else’s yum” and never rate the quality of your choices to those of others. Also, “should eats” get you no where.
Adopting performance nutrition behavior number two provides a standard worth comparison – your own intentions. It allows for the question “why am I eating this?” and lets me become a more conscious eater as I evaluate the purpose eating it serves. Maybe it helps me meet energy or vitamin needs, or maybe, it is just a fun thing to eat.
Recognizing the purpose gives me the freedom not to care what other people think of what I am eating or what you are eating. A good friend suggested I stop eating gluten (brave girl to suggest this to a dietitian). Why? Because that choice served her well. I do happen to agree that her physiological unnecessary need to remove gluten served a purpose of helping her control the urge to over eat baked goods. However, gluten-free diets serve no purpose for me.
This goes for eating patterns too. I know plenty of people who would rather eat three squares a day and, that works for them. On the other hand, I know even with a solid three squares I will be hungry at 10am and 2pm so I spread food out throughout the day instead of doubling up with big meals in addition to snacks.
Other choices dependent on individual purpose?
- To salt or not salt
- To drink coffee or not drink coffee
- Carb, protein fat – some may feel great with more of one and less than the other
Another great example is the latest craze fat adaptive diets. This means cutting way down on carbs to increase the bodies use of fat as fuel. Sounds great right?! BUT you lose the top gear. The speedy gear that helps you move at a higher intensity and higher VO2. Good for some and not so much for others.
For me, comparison gets in the way of eating for the purpose of adventuring! Adventure on.