What Do You Eat?!

“What do you eat?!”

This is a question I get a lot from clients. I especially got it during my competitive training days when my body was only 9% body fat.

I used to answer this question with a little bit of an ego, “Oh well, you know, I start with eggs and bacon in the morning, and then chicken and veggies at lunch, and then a steak dinner. I also snack on an avocado, coconut chips, and macadamia nuts. I still have a little bit of rice or potato, too.”

Problem was, clients were taking my answers as law and trying to mimic exactly how I ate. They figured if it works for me, then it was sure to work for them. While completely flattered by the gesture, it took me experience, maturity, and further education as a coach to realize this was a dangerous and powerful situation for me to be in, and I had to give better answers.

It initially dawned on me when one of my teen athletes told me he read Rich Froning’s book, and that Rich ate tons of peanut butter and drank whole milk. “Dude, he’s like my idol. He’s what I want to be! I’m going to start eating more peanut butter and drinking whole milk. Hopefully then I’ll get as strong as he is!”

So sweet and innocent. But, it was in that moment that it all clicked!

People look to us for answers. People look to us for how to be successful. How to achieve health and fitness. And, rightfully so - We are the coaches. We’re the ones with the education and experience in health and fitness. We are the elite athletes who showcase proper form and technique, eating habits, training regimes, recovery phases, etc. And, when it comes right down to it, we are the ones you’re paying to help you with your health & fitness.

So, what do I eat?!

Well… Currently, I eat to breast-feed my 6-month old daughter. That is my first priority. I also eat to keep up with my almost 3-year old and almost 7-year old. I eat to fuel my workouts for sustainability, and NOT competitive training anymore (at least, not right now in the stage of life I am in). And, lastly, I eat a little bit for indulgence, enjoyment, and stress-relief.

Notice, I did not put any food or liquids in that paragraph. That’s because what I eat works for ME and my current stage of life. How I ate 4 years ago, however, was VERY different because I was training 3-4 hours a day, 5-6 days a week! And, how I ate 10 years ago was very different, as well, because I had just learned about the Paleo diet and wanted to try it for a year.

Instead of asking what someone else eats, or trying to follow an idol, the better question to ask yourself is, “What do I need to fuel myself for today?!”

Are you working a double-shift today? Do you have a 5:00am workout, 2-hour commute, and then a long day at the office? Are you traveling 10 hours today for a business trip? Do you have school drop-off, work, school pick-up, soccer game, and then PTA meeting? Are you working at-home today? Do you get today off and get some me-time? Are you going on vacation today? Are you home alone all-day today with the kids?

Food is fuel. Fuel yourself appropriately for the day!

And, dude, it’s not rocket-science. Eat what works well for you, avoid the foods that make you feel sluggish, crabby, etc. And, you’re smart enough to know what’s healthy and not - If nature made it, it’s great! If it comes in a package with a lot of scientific ingredients, eh, probably not the best choice. Meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, oils. You know the drill.

I know a lot of people just want answers. They just want to be told what to eat and when. And, that’s fine. We CAN do that with you if it’s something you’d like to pursue with us. Long term, though, I want to give you TOOLS to be able to adapt and adjust your nutrition as your life changes, because it will.

Fuel your day! Fuel your current lifestyle! Fuel YOURSELF to be the best YOU that you can be!

Kara PurvesComment