My D.I.E.T Diet
Now that the celebrations and office parties are over, I am sure most of us considered changing our “diets” as part of our revamped NEW YOU training program. You’ve heard it – “You are what you eat.” This is very true as stated, but there is a twist. You also CAN ONLY DO based on “what you eat.”
The only thing worse that trying to find a diet right for you is having someone TELL you what is best for YOU (and usually because it works for THEM). I can probably construct a numerous list of the diets that have been described that “work”. Just a few to mention are: High-fat, Low-Carb, High-Protein, Paleo, Greens, Atkins, Dr. Sears, Dr. Oz, Cabbage, yum, yum, yum. I feel people are just as quick to drop their intentions to exercise well and train/race best because their choice of diet intentions usually doesn’t compliment their needs.
Now I have my likes and dislikes of all these diet plans only because of their limiters. Just as your training needs to be properly balanced, so do your food options. If you are an endurance athlete, your choices are going to be different from someone crushing the weights in the gym. Comparably this same situation applies to the CrossFit athlete and the roadie cyclist. This is why I firmly believe in something I describe as the D.I.E.T. diet – the Do I Eat That?
On the entire “scale” of the plans out there to choose from, the majority of them on their basis are legitimate in principle. HOWEVER, you have to be able to know the type of engine YOU have (see January blog). It’s amazing how many people flock to the latest craze of supplements and food plans and shun other areas of the food pyramid simply because it was mentioned by so-so or Dr. So said it. The amount of protein powders sold and “no sugar” bars being bought astound me – mainly because of WHO is buying them. Can you actually metabolize that? Are you workouts really calling for that? Do I REALLY need to Eat That?
There is no secret pill or supplement that will ever replace the thing your body was meant to do – MOVE. And that is the base of the food pyramid that should be the largest – MOVEMENT. Your body can’t function like a well oiled machine if you never take it out of PARK. And with so many tech gadgets out there to track your movements, one has no excuse not to at least be able to exercise. FIND the time. MAKE the time. There are plenty of hours in the day to find 30 minutes. Once this action is in place, then you need to focus on what “diet” is best for you.
The basic equation has never changed: Calories In must be less than Calories Out. This can start off being a deficit of 200-500 calories a day. An example: a reduction in that cookie/burrito/chips/soda with the addition of a 30 minute walk/jog/bike ride, etc. No fancy diet there. The thing to frequently ask is Do I Eat That? Making wiser, sound decisions in your equation is a form of diet. Does your engine run on diesel or unleaded? A fine tuned athlete who is an experience exerciser does not follow the same fuel requirements as someone training for their first 5K. Have you seen some of these people’s “diets: No really, their example of a “cheat meal”? Your choices should be based on the sound advice preached for YEARS now by the FDA and that good old pyramid.
Start making breakfast in the mornings. Pack that brown bag lunch (or get you those old fashioned lunch boxes!) and set aside a few minutes to construct a decent dinner. Save the money you spend on “fast food” (really now – in the time it takes THEM to make it for you, you can make it for yourself – and sit in a drive thru?) and purchase some good fitness gear. If you’re lucky enough to get a lunch HOUR – do you need that time to eat? Carve out that time for a workout instead of a turkey sandwich.
I firmly believe that by asking yourself the D.I.E.T question at each meal that you will easily realize what you need to fuel your engine to optimize its mileage. The primary thing is to get moving. Challenge yourself to prioritize YOU and make an appointment with yourself to exercise. Then, start removing the fluff already in your diet and replace it with better choices. Reacquaint yourself with that apple. A PB&J brings back memories. Egg frittata anyone?
Written by Mark Carbone
Mark is an elite amateur triathlete and marathoner who has raced in many championship events across the country. Mark has a degree in Exercise Science from Hunter College and has worked in the fields of physical therapy, coaching, and rehabilitation. Mark has been a AAA member since 2011. His website is MarkCarbone.com