Nutrition Blind Spots

I met with a mom and her daughter last week for a consultation at the gym.  Her daughter has been working with a trainer at a big box gym in the area, but they are finding it rather inconvenient to make the 20+ minute drive across town (which is really only a few miles) and so they wanted to meet to talk about her possibly training with me since the gym I work at is pretty much in their backyard.

Two things stood out to me from our conversation.  The first was that the trainer she is seeing isn’t worth the money they are shelling out.  Not only are they likely paying exorbitant prices based on the gym, but based on the description of the workouts she is doing I know why this girl says she doesn’t feel any different after a couple months of training.  It sounds like a crummy generic workout the trainer probably gives to just about every one of her clients and not at all what this girl needs.

The second problem came when I began to ask about eating habits.  This girl needs to lose a few pounds.  Not the “oh I think I’m fat I need to lose five pounds” situation, but she legitimately needs to lose some weight or she is going to be well set up for future health problems.  As I begin to talk with her and her mom – mostly her mom as the girl is rather shy it becomes apparent that there are some big blind spots in regards to nutrition and they are blind spots that I have seen are rather common.  I’m not a nutritionist or registered dietician, but there are some things that are just common nutritional sense…or so I thought.  So here are three common scenarios I encounter on a regular basis when I talk to my clients or potential clients about their eating habits:

#1. Knowing “how to eat healthy diet” is different from actually eating healthy.  When I ask if you would rate your nutrition/eating habits as poor, okay, good or excellent please do not say good or excellent when you haven’t let a single vegetable land in your stomach over the past couple days…or even if you eat one a day.  Yes I know you know you need to eat them…but knowing you should is different from actually eating them.

#2. Since when did eating: a nutella sandwich, cheese and crackers, a cookie, chips and an apple become a healthful lunch?  I’m down with the apple and could even be down with the cheese and crackers depending on the serving size and type of crackers.  As much as I love nutella – a nutella sandwich, cookies and chips do not belong in a lunch you regularly eat and label as healthy.  It just doesn’t add up.  There is a big disconnect in what people think is a healthy meal and what it actually is.

#3. People generally underestimate not only calories, but portion sizes.  Often times when you tell me you ate two tablespoons of peanut butter with your celery, unless you measured it out, you probably ate four tablespoons and increased what you thought was only 190 calories to 380.  If you are trying to count calories, you should measure your portions because, I hate to break it to you, you probably aren’t all that skilled in measuring portion sizes…even I can totally underestimate the amount I’m eating, easily.

So please, own up to your unhealthy eating habits and be honest with yourself.  Re-evaluate those last few meals…and then throw in some more fruits and veggies (and don’t douse those veggies in ranch 🙂 and last…if you are genuinely trying to count calories, the extra bit of effort in measuring portion sizes will probably make quite a difference.

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