WPA Federal Art Project, NY, 1936-1938


Here’s a little tidbit about me: I haven’t been on a diet in 3 years. 3 years ago, I got sick and was on a life-threatening diet, and since then I’ve made peace with the fact that I will have to eat food for the rest of my life.

Kind of a ‘duh’ moment there.

Yet how many of you tend to view food as your enemy?

It’s a strange relationship we tend to have. We get this idea in our heads that food can soothe our pain, it can alleviate uncomfortable emotions and feelings. We use it as a crutch.

Then, when a special event comes along, we ban food. No more pasta, no more fat, no more bread, no more carbs, no more dessert, no more meals just smoothies or shakes…

DIET does not roll off the tongue. It is harsh. Abrasive. It has DIE in it. Granted, in its original Greek, diatia, it means “a way of life” (Definition). But when we say, “I am on a diet” “I need to get on a diet” “I have a diet plan” we do not mean, “I need to change the way I am eating.” Diet as we mean it is temporary, restrictive, punishing and usually a fad.

If you are thinking of yourself as an athlete—-the neighborhood walker, jogger, weightlifter—you need to begin to eat like one, too. And that does not mean dieting. It mean realizing that food is not evil, it is not your enemy; it is fuel, it is a lifeforce that will give you the power to muscle through your workouts and give your all to your fitness.

A few things to consider (Food Tips for Athletes):

1. Your body needs a steady supply of nutrients to keep from going into survival (storing) mode. Aim for 100-300 calories every 3-4 hours, consisting of at least 2 sources (fruit+protein, veggies+protein). Try having 3 400-500 calorie meals and 2 100-200 calorie snacks.

2. Water Water Water! Women need more than men, but both genders need it all day long, and more when working out.

3. Consider adding in flaxseed, wheat germ, protein powder or other little sneaky highly nutritious ‘additives’ to your foods.

4. Think Fiber. This includes fruits, vegetables and whole grains (not whole-wheat, whole grain). It fills you up and cleans you out. Goodbye bloat!

5. On that note, pick the brown over white. Say bye-bye to refined flour breads and pick the nutty, whole-grain versions instead.

6. Plan ahead. Make a meal plan, or have some nutritious snacks packed and stored in various locations so you are never tempted (trail mix in the car, snack bars at the office, nuts in your gym bag or purse).

Don’t diet. Develop a lifestyle eating plan that’s healthy but not restrictive, that nourishes and energizes you.


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