I try not to get too wrapped up in the minutia of nutrition. I think you can obsess it to death just like you can any other part of your training (and yes, it IS a part of your training). I don’t count calories or “food journal”. I’m a big boy, I’ve done my studying and investigation (and more than a little experimentation…) and I KNOW what to do. But the difficulty isn’t in the KNOWING… it’s in the DOING.
I really think the more difficult you make something, liked calorie counting or journaling or points, etc., the less likely you are to do it. You have to be VERY internally motivated or a part of a herd of like minded individuals to be honest and consistent. And, my philosophy is that you are making a life change. This is something you will have to do every day, forever. Would you rather practice just making good choices and learning to control yourself or do you want to count every calorie for the rest of your life? It’s your choice and I won’t say which is right or wrong, but, for me, being honest and making good food choices is WAY easier and I’m much more likely to get into that habit and stick with it than documenting every scrap I put in my mouth… for life.
The problem is, even the science can be conflicting. And in some cases, the articles and scientists can conflict themselves! This doesn’t help those of us looking for answers at all. I give you the two following articles as examples (this is assumes that I am overweight and looking for solutions):
First, from Outside Magazine, an article about eating more, smaller meals:
The article talks about how studies have shown no correlation between eating smaller meals and losing weight… Or does it? It kind of says it does… but it doesn’t… And then, finally, we get to the real answer in the second to last paragraph:
“In overweight people, increasing meal frequency has been shown to help improve blood sugar levels and hunger control. But in healthy, normal weight individuals, it isn’t known to cause any significant changes in how the body handles sugar, or feelings of hunger.”
Ah. So… if you are fat, it might help. Kind of. Maybe. But if you are “normal weight”, it doesn’t really matter. But if you are “normal weight”… why would you give a rats ass about this anyway?
I only ask that question because I have never been “normal weight” so I have no frame of reference.
But can you see the confusion? If someone who is trying to lose weight but is not a nutrition expert were to read this they would either be confused as hell or get out of it that they should (or should not) be eating differently…
Here is another example, from that venerable and respected fountain of fitness knowledge, Today.com. Even the titles are confusing and conflicting: The title from nbcnews.com (which links to the article) is “Diet Soda Probably Not Going To Help You Lose Weight”, but the actual article name on Today.com is “Drinking Diet Soda Just Makes You Eat More”. I’m confused and feeling dumber than when I read the title… What is the ARTICLE going to do to me…:
The bottom line, again, is in the last two paragraphs. In summation, if you are fat, diet drinks don’t necessarily help because they might make you eat more. But if you are “slimmer people”, they might help maintain weight. But, once again, if I’m “slimmer people”, my lifestyle probably doesn’t lead me to need “diet” drinks in the first place… does it?
So here is the bottom line for me.
Eat right based on what I know (whole foods, no processed stuff, no sugar or alcohol, modest portions) because that works for me, and let everybody else get confused.
Overall, the biggest thing I’m finding is that I can exist and, indeed, perform, on WAY less than I ever thought I could as far as food is concerned. And still feel good. I’m slowly mending the gap between what I need and what I “want” as far as food is concerned. So I need to start reading more about the places I want to go and events I want to run and leave the research to the experts.
And finally… forgive me for a brief, unrelated rant about trail usage…
“Attention knuckle dragging bike monkeys! When the trails are muddy and you ride them anyway, you rip them up and you give all mountain bikers a bad name! When the big sign at the front gate says “No Bikes Today”, that means GO HOME. I know this assumes that you can actually READ, much less comprehend or obey… but this isn’t all about you. The trails are for all of us. Tear them up too much and they park will just ban bikes… Not that you care about laws or rules anyway.”
That is all.