The word healthy is one that I hear every single day. Healthy dinners, healthy snacks, health-conscious. They're all on the list of the words I hear during sports nutrition consultations or in general conversation when I ask people what their nutrition lifestyle is like.
What I’ve come to realise over the years is that my version of healthy will be very different to yours or anyone else’s. Healthy is a massively confusing word which has many meanings depending on who you're speaking to. I always try whenever possible not to use the term, but it's so difficult as it now crops up every single day whether it's in the supermarket, GP surgery or on TV.
Instead of asking the question do you eat healthily?; I asked my clients if they believe the food they eat provides them with numerous health benefits. Does it increase your energy levels? Does it make you feel mentally switched on and well? In asking these questions it opens up the door to an analysis of each and every meal and the feelings of well-being (or not) that accompany each meal and snack.
Before beginning my own weight loss journey I called myself a 'healthy eater'. I’d occasionally have a pizza at the weekend or maybe a packet of crisps when I was really hungry, but on most nights I ate freshly cooked locally sourced organic meat, fruit and veg - and loads of it! This was my version of healthy however, when I started to learn more about nutrition I quickly realised that healthy is not just about putting things that are considered by the masses as 'good for you' into your mouth. It’s very much a case of learning about what’s right for my body and in what quantity; also learning how to make myself feel the best I possibly can. Once I'd accomplished the 'feeling' side of things it then took a lot of experimentation to learn how to use food in order to get me to my fitness goals while keeping me feeling great. In my mind there's absolutely nothing worse than having a meal and still feeling hungry afterwards.
Is all this nutrition talk sounding complicated? It most certainly can be if you don’t know where to start. It's taken years of trial and error, research and learning during every step to be able to say that there are three things that remain true when it comes to any nutrition plan:
1. Homegrown fruit and veg is the best - It's more nutrient dense and tastier than supermarket produce.
2. Dieting is a bad - Especially if you're part of a commercial dieting club
3. One mans poison is another man’s medicine - The food that makes me feel great and helps me achieve my goals may not necessarily be true for you.
I could talk for hours about nutrition but today I'm going to keep it short and sweet. If you do need a bit of help or need pointing in the right direction feel free to email me and book on to my next nutrition seminar. Remember, there is no blueprint for nutritional success. You are an individual and therefore your nutritional needs are individual.
It can take weeks or months to find a way of eating that helps you achieve everything that you want - Less if you have someone to help debunk all of the nutrition myths that are constantly on our news feeds.
Bottom line is that if you come across someone who calls themselves a nutritionist and who gives you a generic nutrition plan stating that it will help you achieve your goals please run a mile!