If you have ever had an interest in the health and fitness realm, I am sure you have you come across what I like to call, “fitness foods.” They are the types of things that only the super fit and super dedicated eat. You know what I am talking about…*cough* chicken and rice *cough.*
I am not saying that these foods are bad or wrong, I just think there is a better way. I mean, have you eaten 3 day old chicken and rice from your weekly meal prep? I keep trying to think of a funny comparison but there is literally nothing funny about dry crusty 3 day old chicken and rice. Nothing!
Can you tell I am passionate about this? I want to share with you my personal confession, my view on the dangers of “the best fitness foods” and my personal approach.
My Fitness Foods Confession
So…I have to be honest, I have succumbed to the fitness food craze. I have done it several times. I have been the person carrying around my gallon jug of water. I have packed my ground turkey and sweet potato (all plain, by the way) and proudly pulled it out at work (look everyone! I’m healthy!). I have bought the expensive protein bars (um…excuse me? that does NOT taste like double fudge brownie) and yes, I have carried around my shaker cup with the loud spiral ball thing and made my protein shakes in random places (#gains).
The pictures in this post are of actual meals I used to eat. I would literally take pictures of my food and send them to my best friend so she would feel sorry for me. I’m not joking, I used to be neck deep in this fitness food thing. Honestly, the food would have been great if I added some seasonings and maybe a little butter, I mean, c’mon.
I have been that person. It’s not that I am ashamed, it’s been part of my journey, but I think there may be a deeper danger (aside from choking on dry chicken) to this whole fitness food thing.
Fitness Foods Dangers
Before I continue, I don’t think these foods are bad. I don’t think its bad to strive for health and I am a HUGE advocate for packing lunches and meeting protein intake goals (I sound super fit right now). However, let’s back up. If you have been into fitness for awhile I want you to think back to when you first started. Intimidated, much?
I don’t know where you are in your fitness journey or where you started but imagine this: a lady/man, overweight, really wants to lose significant pounds, no idea where to start, goes to the gym…intimated. They go to work, and see their goody-two-shoe co-worker pull out their freaking grilled chicken and steamed broccoli.
Their inner dialog might go something like “wow…I can’t workout because I hate the gym, its loud and bright and the people there grunt (and fart) …. *sigh* Savannah seems healthy…wow she’s eating chicken and broccoli again, wait, is she crying? There’s no way I could eat that everyday. I’m doomed. It’ll never happen for me, it looks too hard.” It will never happen for me. It looks too hard.
Now, I am not saying that we should change our whole diet just appease people but dang, lets think about how it might be affecting people who desperately need help and who’s health is failing. Are we causing people who need the gym and who need dietary changes feel intimidated as the cost of looking cool with our shaker cups with the loud spiral thing? Who wants to be part of that? That’s not what health and fitness is about.
The danger is’t actually the bland food, its that an industry that is supposed to HELP people is causing the people who need help to stay away. Fitness isn’t about helping the fit people get buffer! It’s supposed to be fun and provide resources for people who want a lifestyle change so they can live longer and keep up with their kids and grandkids. We’ve got it all wrong.
If you have been into fitness for awhile, if any of the above behaviors resonate with you I want to encourage you to think about how your behaviors affect those around you. You are part of a community that is designed and centered around health. Today there are more obesity, diabetes and heart issues than ever before. You hold the key to help these people. Just think about others. Please. I had to reflect on myself as well.
For those who are new to fitness, who have weight to lose or weight to gain, welcome. I want you to know that health and weight loss/muscle gain is totally attainable. There is SO much available to you and you CAN do it. I hope if you need a place where you can feel safe, accepted and supported, you can find that here. No chicken and rice required.
Egg Whites and Rice Cakes
I recently gave up egg whites and rice cakes. I still enjoy a caramel rice cake here and there because I actually like them.
Here’s the thing, my friend, eat a diet that helps you accomplish your goals AND that you enjoy. You CAN do both. If you have to give yourself a pep talk, stretch and take a deep breath before eating your food, you’re eating the wrong stuff, man!