1. Crash Diets

Crash diets cause crashed bodies. It’s as simple as that. I have spent years working and studying and one of the most common requests we get is -I’ve a wedding in three weeks and I need to fit into this dress. We know the score -you have an event, you buy the dress 2 or 3 sizes too small because you can’t bring yourself to buy that size and want to change your body shape. You think that this will motivate you to change and it doesn’t usually work in our experience. Then, in a desperate attempt to drop a few dress sizes, you go on a crash diet many times involving not eating for long periods or drastically increasing one type of food. What usually happens is that you lose, water weight and muscle and this disturbs your hormones, metabolism and energy levels. You usually gain more weight back when you finish.

Solution

Write you goal down on the wall where you will see it every day. Stop thinking in weeks and months and start thinking in small actions every day. Even doing one thing every day that will reach your goals. Long-term strategies work much better than trying to achieve amazing results in weeks.

  1. Cutting out carbs

I’ve worked athletes performing at World Championships who have told me they don’t eat carbs. This has had an undoubted effect on their performance. We know where this dogma comes from. Excessive sugar and eating of refined carbohydrates especially in the evening can lead to weight gain. We look for a “bad guy” and easy solution when we fail and carbs get a bad rap. First off -we store carbohydrate in the muscle, which allows us to exercise. We also store carbohydrate in our blood and liver as available energy. It’s crucial for performance. Carbohydrate is stored as “glycogen” in the muscle and is bound to a molecule of water. So, when we cut out “carbs” – we lose the water which is bound up with it and thus our weight drops! We haven’t lost fat and cannot rally force our bodies to use fat as our bodies just turn down our energy levels.

Solution

It’s about quality and quantity. Skittles can be classed as carbohydrate as can broccoli but of course they are exceptionally different. We need to include really good quality carbohydrates like starchy vegetables and whole grains and cut down on refined carbs. Make sure the carbs you eat are of high quality and this will fuel your body and brain as well as sending the right signals not to store fat! 

  1. Confused about “Health” Foods

There has never been as much confusion about Nutrition as there is now. People are so confused and cannot tell the difference between marketing and science. People need to also understand that if something is a better alternative, it does not mean that we can consume larger amounts of it. So, whether it’s nut butters or salts – make sure you are taking the correct amount. Any foods that make extraordinary claims must be researched properly. Look for advice for a qualified individual and not a blogger or someone with just a large following on social media.

Solution

Eat a very well balanced, colourful diet and include lots of greens, berries, vegetables and fruit. Add more beans and lentils to your diet as well. All refined oils are very rich in calories and must be consumed in moderation. Get health advice from qualified health professionals.

  1. Evening Time Munchies

Most of us are pretty good as the day starts and we tend to eat a reasonably good breakfast, then have a healthy lunch and afternoon snack. But once we start to unwind, finish work, get settled into the couch or even come home after training – we feel we need to treat ourselves. Evening comes and we the munchies for biscuits, sweets or other foods we know we should not be eating. It is one of the most common things we come across. So how do we best deal with it? We have written a full section on dealing with cravings -so check it out.

Solution

Have a plan and stick to it. Make sure you are getting your nutritious meals and snacks through the day, so you don’t get cravings in the evening. It really does help to eat nutritious foods and if you do get a craving, have a healthy alternative ready. You can also take a 5-minute walk or have some nuts or seeds which are great for cravings. A chromium supplement can also help with sugar cravings. Don’t sabotage all the good work you have put in all day.

  1. Dealing with Emotions

Men are just as culpable here and we all have an enormous tendency to beat ourselves up about our food habits and feel so guilty. It is a difficult situation because we are hard wired to eat. Each time we eat, our reward system gives us a shot of dopamine which gives us a lovely feeling. The trouble is many of us love that feeling and over eat. We don’t normally over-eat salads either! We tend to over consume sugary foods which lights up our brain like a Christmas tree. Our blood sugar then crashes, our body tries to detoxify and we feel terrible. One way to get over this is to eat more and the cycle starts again.

Solution

Ride it out, break the cycle by pumping more leafy greens and berries into your diet. Learn recipes which are packed full of flavour and healthy. One of the main triggers for hunger is lack of nutrients. Transform your guy bacteria with wholesome foods and you will feel so much better. Know that you will sometimes fail and you don’t have to wait until Monday to start again! Action, action and more action is the only way to get out of this one. Head to the gym and work out your frustrations -your brain will then release endorphins which give you an amazing feeling and you won’t need to head for the cupboard. For more tips, help and information, please write to us at info@mynutritionireland.ie