The foodstuff—that doesn’t quite look like food—lines grocery store shelves, fills office kitchen drawers, and hides squished at the bottom of backpacks and purses, preemptive strikes against future hunger emergencies. Not all bars are created equal, of course. “Protein bars” place emphasis on muscle building. “Energy bars” hone in on the concept of food as fuel, the snack to tide you over between meals. And “nutrition bars” target “health and weight-conscious consumers”—veiled language for the belief that nutrition bars are supposed to be for women.
So basically the same thing as every other “For X gender” product ever? Gotcha. Men’s chapstick is brilliant – it comes in a flat tube to fit in the pocket better. Because they don’t carry purses…
It’s not about the gender of the marketing – try it for yourself to determine if it works for you. There’s no absolute rule for nutrition in triathlon because everybody is different. Even within gender.
If you’re completely satisfied with your health, don’t read this article. This is not for you. Give yourself a pat on the back, and save yourself the scrolling. For the rest of you, approach what I’m about to say with an open mind, and maybe you can come out of this a fitter person.
This article really is about getting the conversation with yourself started. It doesn’t talk about long term, re-evaluating periodically. A plateau is a more obvious sign about re-evaluating – not too late, but can be.
I’ve made some changes in diet in the last six months or so. Weight loss is part of the training agenda, while noticing that I should probably eat more protein. But the changes also appeared in my INR tests – my levels having consistently been in the 3.5 range. A bit of a concern – higher chance of bruising/internal bleeding. My doctor started taking notice, test in two weeks rather than monthly. So made another change, which I’m hoping suits all goals – natural food source, a bit more vitamin K intake to level off the INR, and cheaper than what my second breakfast was (besides healthier).
“Everything in moderation,” they say, but how much is moderation exactly? One donut a day, or a dozen over a week? Instead of relying on an overused, vague mantra, look at decisions to “cheat on your diet” in terms of risk versus reward to make better judgment calls on “treating yo’self!”
Choose wisely in social situations. I still get grief about my eating choice because I turned down donuts. Pastries in general are not a good idea for my cholesterol, but even knowing that – people still manage to take things personally.
Cats have been a thing on the Internet almost as long as we’ve had the World Wide Web. Cat memes are legion, and social media has made stars of felines like Sockington, Maru, and Lil Bub (who is even having her genome sequenced). There are festivals and art installation raves about cat videos. Jessica Myrick, a professor at Indiana University, set out to quantify the behavioral effect of exposure to all those cat videos, and the results have just been published in the journal Computers and Human Behavior.
Just a forewarning – this is unlikely to be your standard “fitness blog”, where I tell you the 49 best ways to improve your squat, or the secret list of foods that will kill your belly fat stone dead… This is going to be more of a first step into some aspects of the fitness industry that lie just beneath the surface, but are very rarely discussed.
I find the “fitspiration” to be counterproductive. People are fed this idea that if you work out, then you’ll look like these people! In reality, particularly for women, the body fat percentage of the people in fitspo images is extremely, extremely difficult to obtain. By starting out with an unrealistic standard, you’re greatly reducing the chance that people will stick with exercise… that body fat percentage takes a very specific diet, and people aren’t always aware of that, so they consider the exercise a “failure” if they don’t start looking super cut. See: Why Don’t I Look Like My Goal Physique?
This was where I think the cross training for triathlon was good. I’ve never been fond of running, but I attributed aspects of fitness/strength increases in other things (swimming, cycling) that motivated me to want to maintain that. I’ve reached a point where I’m happy with my body fat percentage. I eat now to maintain, but could stand to eat a little less if I want to see more definition. But it’s not a priority. What a difference a year has made.
Everyone who loses weight successfully overcomes a set of similar challenges. But let us be honest: successful weight loss is relatively uncommon, making many of these challenges unheard of. Consequently, when they arise, you might think you’re doing things wrong. But you’re not, and here’s why.
If people are really, truly concerned about you – take a step back and re-examine what you’re doing and why. I ask for this pause for self-reflection because that could be life with an eating disorder. It’s a fine line we walk when we’re talking about weight loss. I just want to be sure we remember the other side of the coin, and why losing weight in a healthy, sustainable way is so important.
Personally, I haven’t dealt with a lot of #3. Rather the opposite – they would not comment on my progress. I’ve overheard chatter about me, but few will say something to me.
Regarding #4, I never thought of the journey being over. I had ideas for what thought I’d look like, but watched over time to see the weight loss seemed to favour one side over the other. It was top down at the start, but more recently has gone between left and right sides. But it was a while back that I considered my goals were quite likely due to photoshop, and I was quite happy with my progress. Part of that came from being more focused on eating for proper nutrition and fueling, so I was distracted. I’m still working out what’s best for the diet, and surprisingly I’m still seeing weight loss results but I am getting concerned about fueling/energy/ketosis.
You’ve stuck to your diet today and you feel unstoppable…until your co-worker hands you a cupcake. “It’s just one,” you rationalize, devouring every inch. Guilt sets in. The once promising day is ruined, but not until you polish off a large pizza and a dozen cookies. Does this sound familiar?
I’m not just being contrary; I’m taking a cue from experts. We may have more than enough worries that are out of our control, anyway, without feeling bad about the things we should enjoy. But what’s more, psychologists have found that those guilty feelings about our diet or lifestyle don’t appear to help us live a healthier life. Rather than leading us away from temptation, guilt often drives us straight to our vices.
… forgiving a bit of down-time, or the odd treat, should mean that I can recover a healthier outlook more quickly – and I should then be able to muster up the willpower to go to the gym the next day. That kind of attitude is often not emphasised enough, says Goldsmith.
Normally, people do not enjoy being forced to do something. People also do not enjoy the guilt that comes with doing something that is bad for them. Surprisingly, these two wrongs seem to make a right: when people are compelled to engage in vices, they feel better than when they freely choose the vice for themselves. According to a new paper in the Journal of Consumer Research, persuading a friend to share a dessert removes the burden of choice from them, reducing their feelings of guilt and making them less conflicted about the decision.