Monday, October 3, 2011

Killer Carbs? No Way!

It's nights like Saturday night that make me both happy and also frustrated that I have a nutrition degree. I have said it before but sometimes I feel like this field of knowledge is just a large group of intelligent and well educated men and women all banging their heads against a wall, hoping that someone in the far off distance will hear the faint thudding sound and come looking to see what's going on. The people who want information about health are going about it the wrong way (such as by watching Dr. Oz or Googling topics such as "lost weight fast", or "what to eat to be more healthy") and consistently dismissing trained dietitians who are more than happy to teach you what you need and don't need to improve or maintain health.

Case and Point: I was working at Holland College on Saturday night and got talking to one of the girls I work with. She told me that her boyfriend lost 100lbs because his personal trainer told him to stop eating carbs! ARG! What makes me the most angry about this is that this guy wanted help to become more healthy and he got his nutrition advice from a personal trainer. Now, let me step in and say that there are most definitely lots of personal trainers out there who know a lot about health and fitness and are qualified to tell someone what to eat to promote weight loss and a healthier lifestyle. But this person obviously knows very little about how the body works and what fuels our muscles to be able to perform effectively when activity levels are high.

I feel I should step in once again and address all those people who eat the "high protein-low carb" diets and had tremendous success with them. Yes, they work. But anything with the term "Fad Diet" anywhere in the same sentence or description should really take notice here. Atkins is a fad-diet because it promises fast weight loss, and yes, people lose weight fast eating nothing but bacon, burger patties and pads of butter at every meal. But really, do you want to eat these giant amounts of protein for the rest of your life? Most people get bored with these unpalatable diets and stop it, which equals instant weight gain! I would much rather find an eating plan that not only helped a person to lose weight effectively but also provided foods that can be enjoyed for the rest of their life. Doesn't that sound a bit more appealing? I am really happy that this guy had lost 100lbs but I fear that he will go out to dinner at a family member's house and indulge in a large plate of spaghetti, only to enjoy it immensely and get sucked into a spiraling marathon of non-stop pizza, pasta and bread eating which will go on for weeks and even months because his body is craving the carbs. Then guess what? Instant weight gain.

I am a huge fan of carbs. They make me very happy and knowing that they are good for me makes me even a bigger fan. Carbs feed our muscles (including the brain!) and we need them every day to maintain and prevent damage in the muscles, so please, please don't give them up if you want to lose weight in hopes of creating a healthier lifestyle for yourself. Please do the proper research or ask a professional about the myths and truths about healthy eating and dieting. Email me if you want! Just don't swear off carbs from your diet. Learn what are the good kinds (whole grains and complex carbs!) and what ones to steer clear of (refined or simple carbs) and take the steps needed to introduce them into your daily meals in a way that works for you.

I have a confession to make. I am this close to signing up for personal trainer certification courses because I hear this story over and over again and I want to help people and give people accurate information that they can use until the day they die. I want to go into deep detail with these clients about how carbs work and how calories are measured in food and all the stuff that they don't teach you when you sign up for fitness courses at the gym or local studio. Fitness and food go hand in hand. They run along the beach together and comfort one another at the end of a long hard day and make sweet sweet passionate love to prove just how devoted they are to one another.

Did I go too far? I just wanted to prove my point with a graphic mental image. I bet you're totally picturing the scene in your head right now. Am I right?

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