You are well aware that if your body doesn't get the nutrients/energy that it needs, your risk of illness, injury and sickness increases as your body struggles to adapt to intentional training and life stressors. With proper nutrition, you are rewarded with performance gains and a strong, healthy and fit body.
As a Board Certified Sport Dietitian, I have an important role as it relates to the performances by athletes. For countless reasons, many athletes are invested into improving "nutrition" with the help of a sport dietitian. At the most basic level, improving nutrition will lead to better strength, resilience, endurance and recovery but nutrition also plays an important contributing role in the development, management and prevention of mental health problems as well as in achieving and sustaining a healthy body composition.
This reminds me of the telephone game where you hear from one person "American's are eating more processed carbs than ever before" and a few people later, the message reads "carbs are bad, avoid gluten."
We live in a society that is obsessed with healthy eating yet many people admit that it is very difficult to live a healthy lifestyle. With so many health and diet products, books, articles, TV shows, experts and meal plans, it can be difficult to tell the difference between false, half-truth and practical nutrition advice.
It's unfortunate but far too many individuals are being taken advantage of by so-called "experts" that sell you a strategy or product to encourage you to buy into a life changing weight loss or performance method. Science and research is often twisted and fabricated to make you believe that you are getting the best advice from a trusted authority on nutrition. Many uneducated experts know that you are vulnerable and desperate for a change and recognize that you lack the knowledge to identify truth from quackery.
I take my job very seriously as I care about the health and performance of my athlete. Over the years, I have learned that many athletes are just straight-up confused by nutrition. This confusion may lead to disordered eating, health issues or an unhealthy relationship with food. This needs to change. My best advice is to reach out to the real experts on nutrition - a Registered Dietitian specializing in YOUR needs (ex. weight loss, performance, sport nutrition, health issues, etc.)
Why are so many athletes confused by nutrition? Here's why.....
- You are being taken advantage of by unqualified "experts" with little to no formal nutrition education.
- Food and the physiology of the body is very complex.
- Genetics and the environment play a role in the interaction of food and body composition.
- Nutrition science continues to evolve.
- You believe everything that you read on the internet/TV.
- You live by a good food/bad food list to gain control over your diet.
- You want big results with little effort.
- You are easily distracted/sabotaged.
- You blame nutrition for everything - trouble sleeping, digestive issues, stress, etc.
- The food/diet industry thrives off confusion and fads/trends.
- You go to the extreme when making diet changes and this causes you to "fail" with your nutrition methods.
- You follow a restrictive diet or 30-day plan to lose weight/clean up the diet but you never learn to change your lifestyle.
- Your lifestyle does not support healthy eating.
- You focus too much on your body image than health.
- You let yourself get too busy, rushed, stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted and healthy eating becomes an afterthought.
- You are letting personal stories/experiences from someone else guide your individual nutrition journey.
- The media poorly communicates nutrition information.
- You sift through mixed nutrition messages on a daily basis and jump from one nutrition plan to the next.
- Research studies have a great chance of getting published (and be talked about) if they demonstrate positive results. Research studies are often funded by food/supplement manufactures to promote products.
- You are surrounded by tempting food that is socially welcoming, convenient, processed and calorically dense.
- Everyone is different but you follow mainstream nutrition advice.
- You are easily influenced by food trends.
- You believe opinions and not science.
- You don't rely on trustworthy resources but instead seek free or sexy-marketed advice.
- You don't like to cook, meal prep or eat healthy food. You want a quick fix.
- Diets are cult-like - you are either in or you are out.
- You see nutrition as black or white instead of keeping an open mind and being flexible with your thoughts.
- You eat based on fear, guilt, anxiety, uncertainty and doubt.
- Nutrition is not one-size-fits all.
- You blame willpower and discipline instead of focusing on small changes.
- You want quick results right now.
- Nutrition is not something that you can "track" or "measure" and experience quick, long-lasting results.
- The nutrition industry has failed to establish reliable experts and information and instead, anyone can be a called a nutrition 'expert'.
- In the field of nutrition, it's very difficult and expensive to produce research studies that offer meaningful and applicable results.
- You categorize food as good or bad and this creates a dysfunctional relationship with food.
- You only believe nutrition advice when it is backed by a research study.
- It's easier to be motivated to eat a certain way in order to treat a current issue than to stay motivated to eat a certain way for a long time in order to prevent a future issue.
- Nutrition is an emotional and personal subject.
- It's very difficult to isolate nutrition/food from other factors that affect your health/body composition/performance.
- You rely too much on tips, tools, gadgets, trackers and apps than learning the basics of mindful and intuitive eating.
- What you eat doesn't affect your health right away.
- No one controls nutrition advice/information that you read/hear.
- Nutrition is one of the very few fields that you can become an expert in, if you are passionate about it, you have a success story or you have helped other people achieve results.
- People won't stop talking about nutrition/food and it can be difficult to stay on your path.
- Everyone has an opinion, thought, story.
- Our food industry has changed and factories are becoming more important than farmers.
- Basic, effective nutrition advice has remained the same for decades but the media, food industry and experts want you to believe otherwise.