What I’ve Learned About Healthy Eating and What Works for Me
I have come to realize that despite all the information that is out there there are a few things I’ve learned about nutrition and healthy eating that I am very unlikely to change.
Over the past 2 years my interest in nutrition and what I eat has become more of a passion and the connection between what I eat and athletic performance continues to fascinate me. I will always question and be open to new theories and trying new things. I will continue to make dietary changes as I learn and as my nutritional needs change but some things I know for sure and I can say with almost 100% certainty I will not change:
I don’t “diet.” Stand in line at the grocery store and your bombarded with headlines about diets to lose weight easily and fast. The diet industry is a bazillion dollar business with promises of looking your best, lose 10 pounds in 3 days or lose weight without working out. The headlines and marketing [very briefly] catch my attention but in the end I put the magazine back on the rack without giving the headlines a second thought. I eat to be the healthiest and happiest I can be.
I avoid processed foods. With the nutrition changes I’ve made over the past 2 years I noticed the biggest improvement in my health, how I felt and my appearance when I eliminated processed foods. That one small step made the biggest difference.
I find alternative ways to handle stress. I have a tendency to be a stress eater. I am quick to grab something to eat when I’m stressed to feel that brief time of relief. I understand that I can easily fall into a cycle of stress>eat to feel better>feel bad physically and mentally about what I ate>stress>eat again. Recognizing this this about me makes it easier to rethink how I handle stress and successfully avoid the cycle.
I eat to run and what I eat affects my performance. With eating a plant-based diet I feel less beat up and less run down after a long run or race and my recovery time has decreased significantly.
I eat 5 times a day. When I eat 3 meals and 2 snacks I avoid, “OMG I’m starving” which is when I’m more likely to grab anything that is readily available healthy or not.
What I eat affects my health. I have a history of severe migraines, often on a weekly basis, some of which ended up with me in the emergency room. In June of 2011 I eliminated processed foods from my diet and to this day I can say it takes less than the number of fingers I have on one hand to count the number of migraines I’ve had. Maybe it’s coincidence? I don’t think so and I’m not willing to take the risk. Nothing is worth eating that means I would go back to having debilitating migraines.
I’m not a doctor and I’m not a dietician [yet]. The principles are from personal experience, experimenting and with monitoring by my doctor.