“I eat pretty healthy” is what I hear from so many of my clients. Perhaps it is a combination of self-selected health conscious people that reach out to me, and, unfortunately for the majority of them, it is because people truly don’t have an idea how poor their diets are.
I would like to share a story about a lady I met at the park this morning while doing my running high intensity interval training. Rochelle could be my client but she was not. She was just an average 40 year old care giver who was slowly assisting her much older companion on her morning walk. As I finished my 2nd interval, huffing and puffing, she was sitting on the bench and she said to me “girl – you got it! I could never do that!” I smiled and said “Thanks! That is two down and six to go, but don’t ever say never”. She was really inspired. As I walked back to my starting point I decided to talk to her after my third interval.
I asked her how old she was and she said she 41. Rochelle is a heavy woman, and looks inactive. In my estimate she weighs 230-250lb. We started talking about the importance of moving and I told her that I started racing triathlons at age 43 and that prior to that I was 40lbs heavier and a couch potato. She was inspired!
After round four I mentioned that exercise alone will not do it, and diet has to be part of the picture. This is where the misconceptions about healthy diet became apparent. She told me she was looking forward to her healthy lunch today of tuna fish sandwich and potato chips! “That’s not that bad is it?” she asked. I smiled. I don’t judge or make people feel bad about what they eat. But I gently suggested that she replace the bread with a large salad and maybe some avocado slices and drops the chips. “The tuna can sit on the salad”, I said. This was not the place to discuss mercury in tuna fish, commercially prepared mayo, and or industrial seed oils. She was a bit surprised to hear that potato chips are not healthy. With each round she kept telling me how inspired she was and that I look great for 53. I told her that although I have not raced for years, I keep eating well and keep very active and that is the key to managing my weight.
I’m not sure where the majority of people get their health and nutrition information but clearly she was not very knowledgeable. I do on occasion, in my practice, coach people with no basic knowledge of basic nutrition. What I love about this is that small changes in their diet can make such a huge difference in their lives.
On round five I mentioned that the cookie and soda that typically go with the sandwich and chips are also not the best choice if her goal is to loose weight. She was taking this all in and then we talked about moderation and that maybe she can have chips once a week. That seemed to sit well with her. She said she was going to have chips today and that’s it for the week. I bid my goodbyes and added a few more words about running into her again in the park.
Do you think you eat a “pretty healthy diet”? I’d love to challenge you to come to talk to me and see if you really do. Contact me today to schedule an appointment to see if you can improve on your eating habits.