At first glance these words and phrases seem like a great idea, but I would argue that they are vague, misleading and ineffective. In a world where nutrition is at best confusing, we need seriously rethink what we regurgitate out of mouths. Words, phrases and cliche’s need to be seriously vetted for effectiveness and clarity. Here are the three that I’m leaving behind.
Let’s look at the word moderation first, which is also every news anchors favorite way to end a “breaking” story on food. You’ve heard it before: “Well, you know that they say, Bob, all things in moderation,” and then it’s usually followed by a…”huh, huh.”
Why is this word “bad?”
If you ask a room of 100 people what is a moderate amount of fast food intake per month, you would likely get a variety of answers. What about sodas, sweets or any other food?
The point is, there is usually no agreed upon definition of moderation for most foods. Plus, recommendations can actually vary from person-to-person. For some people, drinking a glass of wine can be a very slippery slope and for others, it’s not a big deal at all.
Also, I’ve come to realize that human’s define moderation by using their comfort level as a gage. In other words, moderation is the amount of food I can eat just before I start to feel guilty. You know what I mean?
So, what should you say instead?
Define what moderation means to you and get a qualified nutritionist to help you with this. You need to honest, objective and have clear guidelines for your choices in order to make progress.
Also, don’t let other people define it for you. Your friends and family will pressure you by saying, “It’s your birthday” or “It’s the weekend” or “Football is on.” Just remember there are always excuses if you look hard enough.
Today, everybody is talking about superfoods as if they give you super powers. If you don’t know what superfoods are, they are foods from a mysterious place, with an unfortunate price and a very effective way of one-upping your friends and family.
I completely believe that food is our best medicine, but I don’t think you have to eat “superfoods” in order to be healthy. vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, berries, green leafy veggies, fish, meats, cultured foods are all super, but there is no point in making one healthy food far superior than another except for better marketing of a product, raising the price of a product and the placebo effect of making you feel better about yourself.
I’m not saying not to buy foods labeled as superfoods, but please realize that your health is about consistently making healthy choices, not about occasionally eating superfoods. It’s the sum of your actions that yield the best results.
What should you do instead?
I tell people to remove their unhealthy habits before adding aggressive nutrition interventions.
quitting smoking > drinking kale smoothies to compensate
avoiding sugary sweetened sodas > goji berry-chia seed salad
In other words you can’t make up for a bad, overall diet by drinking the occasional smoothie and popping a multivitamin.
If you want to make it easy just eat whole foods, like, veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, good quality meats and stop worrying about whether it’s super or not!
3. Make it a lifestyle
First of all, what the hell does that even mean? I can’t really find a unified definition, which is red flag number 1.
To me, this word has been hijacked by the media, magazine articles and your drunk friend that just recently lost some weight and started going to Orange Theory.
You know…..this person====>>>>
Okay, so I get it. You like Lulu, kale, running and have changed your lifestyle. But here’s the problem: your lifestyle isn’t going to be somebody else’s lifestyle, and your lifestyle will evolve into new habits, beliefs and be completely different from what they are today.
Many people can’t afford to style their health in Whole Foods, Lulu and Gwyneth Paltrow skin products. And besides, you don’t have to live this way or like anybody else in order to be healthy.
Here are some similar words to lifestyle according to thesaurus.com that support my point: assets, status, rank and prosperity. So, to me- lifestyle has more to do with prestige than nutrition.
What phrase should you use instead?
Make it a journey or make it a priority.
A journey suggest that you are working towards something but you don’t quite know how to get there. Along the way, you will learn things that send you in different directions. You may have set backs and you may take a break, but it is a part of the ride. There will be ebbs and flows and countless opportunities to grow. You will have successes and failures, but you will continue on your epic journey towards healthy.
How you eat today is not how you ate 10 years ago, and it won’t be how you will eat 10 years from now.
Another thing I like to do with my clients is have them make a list of their top priorities and then compare them to where you are actually spending your time. If health and fitness are one of your top priorities, but your spending time, money and energy on binge watching Netflix and binge drinking booze, then maybe your priorities aren’t what you think!
Then reorganize your priorities to actually align with your goals. Maybe if you eliminate some of the wasted time, spending and energy on things not important to you, then you can spend the time, money and energy on your health or the things that are important to you.
Moderation is vague and needs to be objectively defined so that it aligns with your goals, not your feelings.
Superfoods are marketing gimmicks and if you are eating good- quality, whole foods then your food is already super.
“Make it a lifestyle” should be changed to “make it a journey” so that we are ready to embrace the evolution of health and nutrition. Secondly, evaluate your priorities and make sure they are aligning with you goals.
I do real-deal nutrition and fitness. No bullshit.