11/16/16

Relearning how to eat normally


As an athlete, you make a lot of daily lifestyle choices which are likely not "normal" compared to your non-athlete counterparts.
Your standards for daily exercise and healthy eating are far from the norm.
For example, when was the last time you said, "I only ran 90 minutes today, but it was just an easy run" or brought a cooler of foods to a work conference because you enjoy being in control of your portions and how your food is prepared?

To reach your athletic goals, you make a lot of daily choices to maximize your performance and many times, to an outsider, your dedication to your athletic lifestyle looks absolutely crazy and unnecessary.

But when you surround yourself with your like-minded athlete buddies, you suddenly feel part of the crowd. Your decisions, actions and choices are praised, admired and sometimes needed to "fit in" among your athletic partners.
You may even go out of your way on social media to follow nutrition experts who "get you."

While it is socially accepted among your athlete friends to train and eat like you do, it is important that your food rules do not interfere with your ability to eat normally. 
Athlete or not, never should you eat with anxiety, fear, guilt or frustration.

Has your relationship with food turned obsessive and disordered?

Are food rules preventing you from having permission to eat sugar, carbs, grains, dairy or other foods or food groups?

Have you lost the ability to have an appetite to eat?

Do you feel no pleasure when you eat?

Is it difficult for you to eat in social settings without feeling judged?

Do you feel uncomfortable when someone else prepares your food?

What was once a desire to lose a few lbs or to eat cleaner, do you find yourself living an overwhelming lifestyle of feeling controlled by food?

Are your current food choices keeping you from staying in good health or performing well as an athlete?

With so many athletes being more and more misinformed about sport nutrition and healthy eating (and it is about to get much worse come the New Year, as usual), to the point of being afraid of eating the wrong foods, it's very sad to see so many athletes suffering from bone-related injuries, blood sugar swings, fatigue, low energy, unhealthy weight loss/gain, cardiovascular issues, hormonal, metabolic, endocrine and other health issues related to "food rules."

In my practice, I am not a specialist in eating disorders. However, I do work with many athletes who struggle with their relationship with food and the body. My focus is on helping athletes break down food barriers to eat normally - in life AND as an athlete - in order to reach athletic goals.

While this type of nutrition consultation journey is much more complicated and in-depth than helping athletes fine-tune sport nutrition (fueling/hydration) for an upcoming event, the end goal is for an athlete to successfully eat and fuel without food rules or negative thoughts about the body.

If you are an athlete who has been living a life controlled by food rules, often feeling a strong need to control your food intake to avoid the guilt and uncomfortable feeling that comes from eating "bad" foods, it's time to relearn how to eat.

Imagine the possibilities when you let food enhance your life, instead of controlling your life.
Life is not about calories, grams, diets, food rules and an off-limit food list.

Consider the opportunities in life when you can eat normally - anywhere, anytime.
If this blog post resonates with you, this doesn't mean that you are a bad person.
There is absolutely no shame or self-guilt to be felt if you struggle with your relationship with food and the body.

If you are ready to relearn how to eat, consult with a professional who specializes in disordered eating/eating disorders for help.