Health fitness specialists and those interested in personal trainer education know that health and well-being extends beyond the fitness center, spa or gym. It involves our food, our environment, our social networks, our education, and even our careers.
Let’s break that down and start with food.
Our health is influenced by our food. I doubt any personal trainers would disagree with that statement. If you have not done research on nutrition or had the opportunity to read books and attend lectures on this topic, can you still make good food choices? Yes, given that the food is actually accessible to you. What if your neighborhood doesn’t have a grocery store, but rather a convenience store? That is certainly going to affect your health. Convenience stores carry items that are processed, filled with trans fats, dangerous dyes and chemicals and an abundance of sugar.
However, personal trainers find that their clients still have problems with nutrition, even though they have access to grocery stores and the means to spend money on high-quality food. This infographic demonstrates that nearly 75% of the American population is overweight. What is the problem if accessibility and means are not the issues?
I submit that the following is having a devastating effect on our country’s health:
1. Misinformation: Think about where most people get their nutrition information. Is it from a reliable source? Is it from an organization trying to sell you bars, shakes and processed meals? Marketing has become increasingly savvy. If you find yourself confused, ask yourself these two questions: Would my grandparents recognize this food? If the answer is “No, they would have never dreamed that cheese could come in a can!” then it is likely not a healthy choice. Follow up with the next question: Will it go bad in a week if I don’t eat it? If the answer is “No, it could remain in my pantry for years!” don’t bother.
2. Sugar/Corn Syrup: Getting 100 pounds of sugar annually is really going to mess things up hormonally. This includes soda. My friend Mats always says, “You know, I’ve never seen a skinny person drinking diet Coke.”
3. Eating Low- or No-Fat food: Stop this. Look at what has happened since the low-fat trend got started 20+ years ago.
4. Consuming massive amounts of coffee and sugar. Cafés are everywhere now and there is nothing wrong with a cup of coffee. When you add 35 grams of sugar by ordering a mocha, you aren’t doing yourself any favors. Not only is the sugar upsetting your body’s hormonal balance as we mentioned before, but the coffee will have a negative impact on growth hormone. (Growth hormone helps you build muscle and stay lean.)
5. Our fast food culture: People in our country view eating as a nuisance rather than a celebration. It is viewed as something that has to be done and done quickly. How many people do you know who cook regularly? How many Americans create meals rather than ordering them from the convenience of their cars? How many Americans are more careful about the fuel they put in their cars than the fuel they put in their bodies? Do you want a high-performing vehicle or a junker? You decide.
Start tonight. The following are wonderful sites for recipes and some sites even offer remote cooking classes: Epicurious, Food & Wine, and Williams Sonoma. Look up a recipe and make your dinner a beautiful and healthy event!