The foundation of any good fitness program is a healthy diet. Good nutrition helps you fight disease, manage your weight, fuel your daily activities and even help build strength and endurance. The opposite is also true - bad nutrition expands your waistline, potentially damages you health and can even inhibit your efforts to gain strength and endurance. The question is what is good nutrition? Everywhere you look there is a new diet with different nutrition advice – one week its eat less fat and the next week its eat more fat and less carbohydrates….. Even “impartial” nutrition guidance is often strongly influenced by the food industry, so what are we to do?
What to Think about Nutrition Advice
First, take all nutrition advice with a grain of salt – almost everyone who is providing it has something to sell…. That being said most of this advice is not purposefully bad, just influenced by their particular perspective. You see the main problem with nutrition advice is that most of it is founded in the idea that there is one “universal diet” that will work for everyone. This isn’t likely given the diversity we see in the world today. So keep in mind not all advice is for you!
Nutrition Advice Anyone Can Use
1) Start with Sound Nutrition Fundamentals - I have read (and tried….) probably a hundred different types of diets, all of which where different in many ways. Even though they were different most agreed on certain things, which I call “nutrition fundamentals”.
- Eat less sugar and refined carbohydrates (like High Fructose corn syrup…)
- Track how much/what you eat
- Watch your portion sizes
- Eat less fast food
2) Experiment with What Works – Not every diet will work for you (because you may not be able to stick to some diets), so why not see what works for you. Most diets fall into four or five basic categories -
- Balanced - basically follows the USDA nutrition guidance.
- Low Fat - basically reduce fats in your diet and hopefully also reducing your calorie intakes…
- Low Carb - basically reducing your carbohydrates to help reduce cravings and reduce overall calorie intake
- High Protein - basically eating higher amounts of protein and a moderate amount of carbohydrates
- “User Choice” Diet - recently many people are seeing success in weight management by creating their own diet (after all who knows better than you what best fits in your diet (assuming your honest with yourself – Twinkies don’t fit in anyones diet….))
3) Don’t Eat Everything on Your Plate – Even with the best nutrition in your diet you can still eat too much…. so make sure you track what you eat and don’t get carried away. You CAN get too much of a good thing.
4) Just Start – Like we mentioned in “Where to Start? Anywhere!” probably the most important thing to do is get started eating better!
If you still don’t know where to start check out one of my favorite NerdFitness Articles – A Beginners Guide to Healthy Eating.
Here at Fitness Fundamentals – My Way! we know finding good nutrition advice can be hard and that good nutrition is the foundation of good health!