Sports Nutrition

Remember when smoking was the normal thing to do?

Remember when smoking was the normal thing to do?

Remember back in the 1950’s when the media glamorized cigarettes, and smoking was the normal thing to do? Fast-forward to today’s culture:

–Smoking is banned in restaurants and public places

–Smokers feel ashamed of indulging in this health-harmful habit

–Teens cannot legally buy cigarettes.

Times have changed! Continue Reading

The Science of Fueling for Performance

The Science of Fueling for Performance

 

As a sports dietitian, I rely on the research of exercise physiologists and sports scientists who study the best ways for competitive athletes to fuel their bodies to optimize their performance. John Ivy PhD, Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas–Austin and author of Nutrient Timing, is one such researcher. Here are some of his insights. Continue Reading

Meal Timing: Does It Matter When You Eat?

Meal Timing: Does It Matter When You Eat?

 

Meals and snacking patterns have changed over the past 40 years. You have undoubtedly noticed that many of us are eating fewer calories from meals and more calories from snacks. As a result, I get questions from both athletes and non-athletes alike about how to best fuel their bodies: Should I stop eating after 8:00 pm? Which is better: to eat 3 or 6 meals a day? Does it really matter if I skip breakfast? Because meals can be a central part of our social life—and busy training schedules can contribute to chaotic eating patterns—many athletes disregard the fact that food is more than just fuel. When (and what) you eat impacts your future health (and today’s performance). Continue Reading

Nine Nutrition Tips for (Boston) Marathoners

Nine Nutrition Tips for (Boston) Marathoners

Training for a marathon includes training your intestinal tract as well as your muscles. Here’s how to enhance your ability to enjoy both the long training runs and the marathon itself. Be sure to start experimenting with these winning nutritional strategies. Continue Reading

Carbohydrates: Yes? No? Friend? Foe?

Carbohydrates: Yes? No? Friend? Foe?

 

Ever since I stopped eating carbs, I’ve been feeling so much better.

The keto-diet works fine for me. It keeps me from having cookie binges!

I tried giving up carbs and my workouts tanked. I had no energy and felt horrible.

Athletes’ opinions about carbohydrates range from evil to essential. Some anti-carb athletes rave about how great they feel; others complain about weakness and fatigue. Abundant research supports eating a sports diet based on grains, fruits and vegetables—the wholesome kinds of sugars and starches that feed the brain and fuel the muscles during hard exercise. If anti-carb anecdotes leave you wondering what’s best for your sports diet, keep reading.

Continue Reading

The Bathroom Scale: Friend or Foe?

The Bathroom Scale: Friend or Foe?

Dear Nancy,

   I recently bought a really good scale and I weigh myself every morning. Some days, when I think I should have lost weight, the scale says I gained two pounds. This puts me in a really bad mood … what’s going on? Continue Reading

Fearful of Food-filled Holiday Festivities?

Fearful of Food-filled Holiday Festivities?

I received this holiday letter from Carolyn Costin, the founder of Monte Nido Eating Disorders Treatment Centers (Montenido.com). Her thoughtful words captured all that I want to say to my readers who struggle with food, weight, and finding a peaceful balance with exercise. Perhaps this will give you a few tips to enjoy the season and not dread it.  Nancy

Carolyn wrote: If you suffer from an eating disorder it is important to take stock of how you can make the holidays meaningful for you. Aside from getting help from others on how you can handle all the food, you can turn this season into a time when you learn more about the seasons and the original reason for celebration during these times. For example, learn about the original reasons for the celebration of the fall harvest and winter solstice.

At this time of year I offer these useful tips in hopes they can make your holidays better:

Tip # 1: Don’t focus on the food.  Make a list of all the other things that you can pay attention to at holiday parties or family gatherings such as, seeing old friends, singing together, decorating things, making gifts.

Tip # 2: Put things in perspective.

  • Remember that a holiday party, and the holiday gatherings in general, are really just a short period of time. There is an end in sight.
  • Be aware that things do not have to be perfect
  • Even if you feel like you make mistakes, over eat or don’t handle things well, you can use these incidents as lessons to learn from.

Tip # 3: Balance is key.             

  • There are no “bad” foods, just bad eating habits.
  • Don’t deny yourself, but don’t ignore body signals such as fullness.
  • Plan to indulge some. Take some risks, eat things you usually don’t “allow” yourself to, but take small steps in doing so.
  • Take/make the time for fun activities, invite friends to decorate, go to the tree farm, or go caroling.
  • Bake with your kids or friends and bring the goods to homeless shelters or others who are need.

Tip # 4: Plan ahead.

  • If you are going to attend a party, plan your food accordingly if you know it will be a problem, for example you might be able to skip your afternoon snack and have dessert at a party instead.  If you are in treatment be sure to check this out with your dietitian or therapist.
  • Plan special time for yourself to “get away” from the holiday stress. Get a manicure, go to the park, take a bubble bath.

Tip # 5: Be on the offense not the defense.

  • If your relatives are coming to you, you can be responsible for having food that you feel comfortable with and you can plan activities.
  • Let the people you love know what a gift they are to you already.
  • Instead of going commercial, make your own cards.
  • Spend time spreading good will and showering people with love.

These tips won’t ensure that there will be no problems or that your holidays will be exactly as you would like, but they can help things be more enjoyable and less stressful. It’s important to figure out what works for you and to remember that you have a part in making your holiday all that it can and is supposed to be.

Love,

Carolyn and all of us at Monte Nido 

Four wishes for you for the Holidays—and Beyond

Four wishes for you for the Holidays—and Beyond

In this day and age of nutrition confusion, I have four wishes for you, my sports-active readers. May these wishes help guide any New Year’s Nutrition Resolutions you are pondering…

  1. Be as nice to your body as you are to your car. Fill up with premium nutrition before you embark on a busy day. Be sure to notice the benefits that come with eating a dinner-like breakfast: plenty of energy, highly productive all day, no obsessing about food, able to walk past the office candy jar, feeling happier, and not overeating at night. When you live well-fed (and not feeling hungry all the time), your body functions better. And fear not: if you eat a dinner-like breakfast, you will want just a breakfast-like dinner. Trust me.
  1. Make time to properly fuel your body. You might want to think twice about why you have time to work, workout, watch TV, etc., but “no time” for breakfast or lunch. You can make time to do what you truly want to do. The majority of my clients who have “no time” to eat well commonly believe that by skipping meals and snacks, they will lose weight. False! Skipped meals lead to extreme hunger, which then leads to over-eating. If weight loss is your goal, you want to fuel by day, and then diet by night. Lose weight when you are sleeping, not during the busy part of your day.
  1. Think twice before going on a diet that might interfere with your quality of life. Paleo? Ketogenic Diet? No Carbs? Intermittent Fasting? Only start a food plan that is sustainable for the long term. Do you really never want to enjoy a piece of birthday cake ever again? Or eat pizza with your pals? Your better bet is to learn how to eat (not how to diet). Talking with a sports nutritionist can help you create a sustainable food plan. Check out the referral network at www.SCANdpg.org to find a local food professional. You don’t know what you don’t know.
  1. Do not feel guilty if you enjoy an occasional treat: a chocolate chip cookie, some birthday cake, fried clams. There is not a bad food, just a bad diet. Eating a little nutrient-poor food will not negate all the nutrient-rich foods you put in your body. Eating is not cheating.

Best wishes for a nourishing 2017,

Nancy

Nutrition News from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

 

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) is the nation’s largest group of registered dietitians (RDs). This year, over 12,000 RDs convened in Boston (Oct 15-18, 2017) to learn the latest food & nutrition news. Here’s a taste of some topics of discussion that might be of interest to hungry athletes. Continue Reading

Alcohol and Athletes

Alcohol and Athletes

Athletes are competitive. Unfortunately, too many competitive athletes are also competitive drinkers, not to be outdone by their teammates. Excessive alcohol intake is associated with injuries, poor grades in school, arguments, sexual abuse, loss of memory, driving under the influence, and trouble with the law—to say nothing of vomiting, hangovers and poor athletic performance. Continue Reading

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