I have many things in life that I get excited about and I must say, the winter Olympics is one of them. If you have been watching the games, you will no doubt be impressed by the high level of fitness, the strength and clarity of purpose that the athletes display. I can’t help but talk about the role high performance nutrition plays in these athletes’ lives. No surprise, they are burning thousands of calories each day, their bodies take a beating with their training and competition- it is no wonder that many Olympic teams have experts such as dietitians as part of their team. These food and nutrition experts make sure the meals and snacks are in alignment with the needs of a high performing athlete. They help the athletes’ eat to win.
So have you thought of yourself as a high performing person? You don’t have to be an Olympic champion to eat to win. What are you winning? Better overall health, more energy, more clarity in thinking and of course a better mood overall!
How do you eat to win? First, start by eating real foods. Try and limit or cut highly processed foods from your diet and instead choose foods that are as fresh and unprocessed as often as possible. Second, learn what real foods are. Become familiar again with their taste, texture and smell. I am always saddened when I hear someone say they don’t like the taste of whole grains, they are too crunchy or not soft enough. Remind yourself that this is how mother Nature intended us to eat our foods. Third,take back control as the main chef for all your meals. In other words, prepare most of your meals using fresh, wholesome ingredients more times than not. This is a sure way to make sure you are eating foods that are fit for a champion. Fourth, eat with awareness and mindfulness. Too many people go through their days eating mindlessly, this is one of the causes of the epidemic of obesity and all its complications. Be very aware of what you are eating and why you are eating ( see previous blogs on this). Finally, remember, you are in control of food, not the other way around. Even though you may think you must eat whatever the food you think is your weakness, you are exercising the choice to do so. You can reverse it and regain control of food. To successfully do this, you will need to start listening to your body and feeling the ‘right’ signals it sends you.
So, as we cheer our athletes on to do their best at the 2010 winter Olympic games, don’t forget you too are an athlete in your own right. Choose daily actions that will help you eat and do as the champion you truly are.
In health, your weekly coach,
Phyllis Reid-Jarvis, RD,CDE