Do you know how to distinguish fact from fiction when it comes to diet and nutrition? It’s not easy! Stay tuned, because, in this episode, we are debunking diet myths and dropping truth bombs all over the place.
At work, she researches women and metabolism, and online, she is passionate about bringing science education to the public and using this education to get women to train and eat with intention. Known for her sass, she wants women to break down their self-imposed limitations, with badass fitness goals and proper knowledge.
Understanding the Science
Unfortunately, too many women think that the science behind exercise and nutrition is too hard for them to understand.
As a female Ph.D. student, she gets a lot of, “Oh, you don’t look like a scientist.” Lyss is on the short side, she’s 26 years old, and she looks young and vibrant. And she wants the world to know that this is what a scientist looks like!
Not everybody has to pursue a Ph.D. in exercise physiology or nutrition in order to better understand how the body works and how basic nutrition affects our body. You can learn enough to be able to have a knowledgeable discussion.
The key here is to keep an open mind and realize that what you may have been taught, and have believed for a long time, might not be the truth. Be prepared to learn new ideas, and be willing to dig until you find the actual truth…not just what someone tells you.
Have you ever mentioned wanting to do something physical and had someone tell you that you couldn’t?
Maybe you decided to train for a marathon but your family laughed and said, “What the hell do you think you’re doing trying to run a marathon? You’re not a runner!”
And we believe them! We take it in, we accept their words, and ultimately, we come to believe it ourselves.
Another self-imposed limitation that I personally see in my clients all the time is that everything has to be hard.
- Getting healthy is hard.
- Exercising is hard.
- Losing weight is hard.
- Making healthy food is hard.
- Getting my family on board is hard.
- Getting out of bed to run every morning? HARD.
What if you decided that living in a healthy body was actually easy? How could changing that one thought change your life?
That leads to the self-imposed limitation that you have to half-kill yourself at the gym.
How many new programs have you started that burn you out in two weeks because you simply can’t maintain the rigorous workout schedule?
How many times have you started going to the gym and then quit because it was just too much, too soon?
Ladies, we don’t have to kill ourselves or punish our bodies in order to be healthy. Please read that sentence again.
The truth about these self-imposed limitations is that if you’re doing the right amount…the right amount of good food, the right amount of exercise, the right amount of whatever…if you’re doing the right amount in the right way, you absolutely do not have to kill yourself to see progress.
Okay, ladies, are you ready to dispel some myths and grab the truth bombs? Let’s go…
Myth #1 – I need to stop eating all carbs (or any other entire food group) to get the results I want.
The most extreme form of restricting carbs that most people know about is Keto. (Be sure and listen to Alyssa explain how Keto actually works at 19:50.)
The problem that Alyssa sees with this type of restriction is that most women eat too few carbs to have the energy they need but not few enough to actually go into ketosis. So, they’re caught in this “dead zone” of not enough fuel for their body or their cognitive needs.
Typically, about 6 days in, they can’t handle the stress their body is under anymore and they binge on something else to relieve the pressure.
It becomes a vicious cycle that they repeat again and again. And every time they repeat the process, they call themselves a failure.
Truth – You have to tune into your own body and ask yourself, what helps you adhere and enjoy food while using that food in a way that’s productive to the life that you actually live? What type of food plan is sustainable for you and for progress toward whatever goals you have?
If you’ve been driven by fear and irrational discussion around food, you can bring great peace to your life just by listening to your own body and finding out what you really need.
You have the final say…the only say…in how you feed yourself.
Myth #2 – Intermittent fasting is right for everyone. Everyone should eat for 8 hours and fast for 16. Without exception.
I have a client whose M.D. recently suggested that to take care of some health issues, she should go from never fasting at all to the 8/16 rule of fasting. And she didn’t take it well. She truly felt an extreme amount of stress and was completely overwhelmed at the thought of fasting for 16 hours.
So, we took a step back and looked at how long she was already fasting. About 8 hours. And so, we made a plan for her to see how it would feel to try fasting for 10 hours over the next week.
Truth – You don’t have to give a fancy name to whatever method you’re using nor do you have to follow all the “rules” of any method. You can find the best way to not only feed your body but also to let your body rest and digest.
If you are a busy woman, and who isn’t, you are likely already not eating enough to sustain your activity, so I want you to be careful not to cut out calories and food that you truly need.
We have to be smart and be aware of our needs before we start believing that every method needs to be followed to the letter by every person alive.
If you feel like total crap while following some method, you can stop. You can find another way to feed yourself that will make you feel better.
Myth #3 – I should always be on a diet.
Diet culture is rampant in our society. Even when women aren’t on official diets, they still feel like they’re on a diet. They still think they should be on a diet. They still talk like they’re on a diet.
Why do we do this? Because society has made it normal.
Alyssa asks, so what if you just decided to take 6 months to let it all go? What if you make okay choices and you just relax? What do you think will happen?
What we think is that we will gain a ridiculous amount of weight and we will be ashamed. But let’s think about it; have you changed all that much in the past 6 months? It’s unlikely that you are all that different now than you were 6 months ago.
Truth – Aren’t you tired of starting a new diet or workout plan every Monday and hating yourself every Friday?
It’s time to stop and let yourself exist as a human, figure out what your body is trying to tell you, and then start with one thing at a time.
Are You Eating Enough?
One of the most prevalent problems that both Alyssa and I see is not binging. The majority of women are not overeating.
Most women aren’t stuffing themselves with a dozen eggs at breakfast, a huge steak and baked potato at lunch, and lobster alfredo at dinner.
The fact is, most women are undereating.
Women have been trained to pick at food; to “eat like a lady.” And that’s the deepest B.S. you can walk into.
Don’t be afraid of food. Don’t be afraid to eat a hearty meal. You got an appetite like your husband? Girl, eat!
Guess what? There is no such thing as a ladylike portion. The portion for you is what it takes to make you full. No more eating a protein bar and calling it lunch every day. No more drinking a cup of coffee and saying you’re not hungry.
No more not ordering what you really want at a restaurant! This is true for all of us, but listen, if you work out or are a runner or weightlifter on a regular basis, you have to eat! You can’t sustain heavy activity without adequate food.
So stop the silliness. It’s not cute to be hungry. It’s not ladylike to take tiny portions at the restaurant and go home and eat the entire container of Oreos just because you were embarrassed to order the steak.
Start by eating some delicious, filling food and notice how wonderful it feels. And watch your children learn that restricting food is not the path to joy.
As always, if you need help figuring out where you struggle, I want to be the one who comes alongside and guides you to the answers.
There may be many layers of this onion that you have to peel back before you get to all the root causes. If you don’t know where to start, I am here to help.
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