A few weekends ago at a cocktail party, I bumped into an acquaintance who attends one of my Powerpump classes. As I’m about to chow down on a bite-sized pastry wrapped hot dog, she remarks “OMG you’re eating THAT?” I replied “Hell ya!, of course I’m eating that, it’s delicious.” Excited and surprised by my response, she seemed to have a newfound perspective that you can be healthy and eat a treat.
As a Dietitian and Personal Trainer there’s a lot of pressure to look a certain way and be healthy on all fronts. The role comes with assumptions of perfectly planned meals and workouts, including: drinking 8-10 glasses of water everyday, loving Kale, eating only sprouted whole grain bread, effortlessly getting in 6 servings of veggies a day, and the list goes on. As a Sports Dietitian, it’s also assumed that my pre and post workout fuel is planned to a tee. Right…
So, I’m a busy mom of two crazy little boys, I’m trying to run my own private nutrition and fitness practice, and all the while I’m desperately trying to get my pre pregnancy body back. Needless to say, there’s a lot going on. While I pride myself on practicing what I preach, I am not always perfect when it comes to my diet and my fitness regimen, and I’m ok with admitting that.
Here’s the truth…
1.It’s 4 pm and I realize I’ve only consumed two glasses of fluids; this includes my morning coffee…Essentially I’m a desert and likely dehydrated at all times.
2.It’s dinnertime and I realize I’ve had no vegetables until now. Yikes.
3.I don’t have much time to eat before training, so lunch ends up being a pre-fab protein bar or a measly serving of Greek yogurt. This is insufficient and I admit is a big cop out.
4.By the time I get my post workout fuel into my belly, it’s been hours. Pretty hard to see results with poor fuelling practices.
5.I often get less than six hours of sleep. This is simply a reality right now with two small kids, but surely its not helping performance, recovery, or weight loss.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? Maybe you have your own daily pitfalls. Being aware of them is the first step. The question is what are you going to do about it!?!
I’ll be honest, things haven’t always been this dire, and it certainly could be worse, but the thing is, I have a goal and I haven’t been able to attain it. I wanted my clothes to fit like they used to and hit my previous records in the gym. Reaching seven months postpartum, I start getting frustrated. I was training regularly, and not eating that much, so what gives?! I was trying to be patient, as everyone told me to be, but I was stagnant in my weight, and my training goals, and was beginning to get pissed.
Realistically, as a Sports Dietitian working with clients just like me all the time, when I analyzed my intake, and all the factors contributing to my stagnation, I kinda knew my short comings, (see list above). Regardless, there’s always a nagging feeling that you’re missing something, or that it’s your fault and needed to just work harder.
After beating myself up for a few weeks, I decided it was time to ask for help.
I called a trusted colleague who’s amongst the best in field of sport nutrition (You guessed it, It’s Ben). Surely he could figure out why my body comp is at a halt. When he posed the question back to me, “describe what you think the problems are?” He basically concluded that I already had all the answers.
Ok, so there was no magic answer. Damn…But, in a way knowing this was validation and while that alone doesn’t change anything per se, this validation was crucial to setting me up for action and success. On a positive note, think of the possibilities if I was to actually start implementing proper nutrition practices!
Professionally, I find that when clients ask for help it signifies they’re ready and motivated to make change. This was the case for me, and having someone help monitor that is fundamental for me. Ben gave me a clear plan and specific goals to attain within a specific span of time. For some reason, him working with me worked far better than me wroking by myself. Go figure. And, so, while I already knew what my problems were, and how to solve them, I simply wasn’t doing it until I bit the bullet, reached out, and asked for help. Once I made the commitment and was accountable to someone including myself, things started to happen. We made a few small changes and before I knew it I started losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time! And the best part? They were all things that were realistic and fit with my current, busy lifestyle!
Within two weeks of changing my breakfast, planning out my pre and post workout plan to meet my nutrition needs and stimulate Muscle Protein Synthesis, (since I clearly wasn’t finding time to eat a meal), and adding small snack before bed, (Yippee, who doesn’t like snacking before bed), I was feeling more energized, lost two pounds of body fat and was starting to changes in my strength and body composition.
It may seem strange that one Sports Dietitian would ask another Sports Dietitian for help but it gave me the push to implement the small changes that were holding me back. The moral of the story here is that Dietitians aren’t perfect. We are human, and so are you. DON’T waste your time beating yourself up for falling off track. And that many of us will try to do things for ourselves, but at the end of the day it’s always beneficial to look at what you have available to you and to get help from the people around you. Do find a plan and partner to help you get back on track.
Asking for help, even when you think you know the problem, provides a source of support, clarity and encouragement. It can also give you an objective outlook on your challenges. It may also provide you with easy strategies you hadn’t thought of before. Getting the right professional to help guide you in making small, positive and realistic changes as well as setting realistic goals is key. They can help keep you accountable and provide perspective that facilitates healthy changes.
Debora Sloan, RD, Sports Dietitian, CPT
Sports Dietitian with Evolved Sport and Nutrition
Complete Lifestyle Management