The Dark Side of Clean Eating

I’ve wanted to get a Star Wars reference into a post for ages, so anyone who knows me, knows how happy that made me 🙂

That being said, how the title of this post came about will become clear as you read on.

So the idea for this post came to me whilst I was eating my second lunch of the day (if that’s even a thing) and having a quick scroll through my Instagram feed.

What I saw was less of a guiding light, and more of a showcase of food (not to mention the abundance of half naked bodies).

This is how you should do this, if you want to look like XYZ.  And I feel that this creates a disconnect between the people posting and the people looking at the posts.  It creates an image of perfection to the level that if someone wasn’t to eat this way, they would somehow fail at life and to not bother trying to better themselves at all.

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^^Star Wars reference number 2 there^^

So before we go any further, answer this for me:

 

Ok, so for those of you that haven’t heard of it before (and to refresh for those of you who have), here’s what a quick internet search says:

 

“Clean eating is a deceptively simple concept. Rather than revolving around the idea of ingesting more or less of specific things (for instance, fewer calories or more protein), the idea is more about being mindful of the food’s pathway between its origin and your plate.”  <—- basically as close to picking from the ground or chopping off an animal or fish as possible.

 

At this point, I want you to have a quick think about what the term ‘clean eating’ means to you.  Is it anything like the above?  Is it anything that isn’t junk food?  Does it mean it has to be washing before you eat it?

 

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Joking aside, I now invite you to think about what has led you to come up with that answer.  Is it because someone has told you to eat this way? Or did you read something on the internet, or perhaps one of those Instagram accounts I mentioned up there ^^^^^ (or any social media for that matter).

I know for me, it was when I first became a Personal Trainer, that I was exposed to this phrase and concept.  And this is how I interpreted it:

  • Meat, Fish, Eggs
  • No Dairy (I’m not lactose intolerant so looking back that made no sense)
  • Fresh Veggies
  • Mostly Berries, and the occasional Fruit
  • No Pasta (because I thought Gluten was bad)
  • No Bread, for the same reason as the Pasta
  • No Cereal (again, it was a grain-phobia sort of thing)
  • Only Carbs coming from Rice

Now as ‘clean’ as that all looks, how limited are my choices there?  VERY!

What ended up happening for me (and this may be a case for you too), is that I became so indoctrinated to this way of eating, that I almost refused to eat anything outside of that list.  I thought I was doing what was best for my physical health; so much so that I was ignoring my mental health, in terms of my eating habits.

There is a term now, still in its infancy, for this.  It’s called Orthorexia.  Another quick internet search and I came across this:

“Orthorexia as an eating disorder is very much still in its theoretical stages, that is to say that it is not officially recognised by the medical profession. It describes the development of a restrictive diet which completely avoids foods that are feared to be unhealthy. It can be triggered by the innocent motive of wanting to improve your diet. ‘Clean eating’, meaning eating only fresh fruit/veg, lean meat and avoiding processed foods, for example, is the kind of diet that could lead to somebody becoming obsessively avoidant of certain foods and thereby depriving themselves of essential nutrients and hindering themselves socially.”

Now while that might read a bit scary, it’s something I’m noticing more and more in the world of health and fitness, and it’s because of that I decided to write this.

And if through reading this you at least start to question why you eat the way that you do, and if it’s really the best thing for you, then please drop me a message and let me know.

And if you’d like to have a conversation with me a bit more about it all, drop me a message about that and we can arrange some time for a chat, there’s a form at the bottom for exactly that.

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

It’s really not that hard…

This post is mainly for the ladies. If you’re trying to lose some weight, or more importantly get yourself into clothes that are a size or a few smaller than you’re in now:

1. Look at yourself in the mirror and name at least 5 things you like about yourself…

Once you’ve done that move onto the next point:

2. Forget about Paleo, Caveman, Low Carb, Low Fat, Atkins, Detoxing, Juicing, High Protein, Low Protein, Ketogenic, Voodoo, Herbalife, Juice+, and anything else that labels and confines.

Once you’ve done that move onto the next point:

3. Acknowledge what you’re consuming. Do you actually know exactly EVERYTHING you eat and drink each day? Everything? (Be honest)

Once you’ve done that move onto the next point:

4. Identify what is good nutritious food and what’s crap.

If you don’t know what crap calorie dense food is, get your head out of the sand and send me a message.

Once you’ve done that move onto the next point:

5. Sort yourself out, no moaning, no excuses – if you’ve got time to bullshit yourself, you’ve got time to better yourself.1513654_770046733087064_8615593979694206031_n

Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers….

A random yet curious question isn’t it?

In this day and age, stress is king.

Stress keeps us awake at night.

Stress wakes us up.

Stress gives us cravings.

Stress helps us exercise.

Stress makes us forgetful.

Stress helps us focus.

Stress can effect us in many different ways, both physically
and mentally; negatively and positively.

Picture the scene…

Joe gets woken up by an alarm clock screaming in
his ear & within seconds he’s p*ssed off that it’s Monday again
ALREADY (stress point 1).  He goes off in a grump to get ready for
work.

His journey to work is horrendous, hitting every red light possible
(stress point 2), and to add to that, the traffic is a nightmare
(stress point 3).

He finally arrives to work, which he hates (stress point 4), sits
in front of his computer & starts wading through an inbox full of
‘urgent’ emails (stress point 5).

He spends the morning juggling between old emails, new emails,
phone calls and meetings (stress points 6, 7, 8 & 9).

Lunchtime finally comes, and after that morning he’s off to the
pub for food and a pint, to help relax him.  He gets to the pub
where his over stressed mind is crying out for something deep
fried, followed by something sweet and a hit of booze (stress points
10, 11 & 12)

His lunch hour is over almost as soon as it’s begun and it’s back
to the office (stress point 13).

His afternoon is taken up by just 1 meeting….a very long meeting
(stress point 14), where all that’s on offer are biscuits and
coffee, so when it’s finally over, he’s really hungry (stress points
15 & 16); and it’s time for home.

His drive home turns out to be equally as bad as his morning one
(stress point 17) & all he can think about is getting in front of
his TV with a takeaway, because he’s too worn out to cook anything
himself (stress point 18), and he also cracks open a beer (stress
point 19).

When it’s finally time to get to bed, all that he can think about
is what he’s got to do at work the next day (stress point 20).

Does that sound familiar to any of you?

Day after day after day of this negative loop of stress is
extremely damaging to us, physically and mentally.

If you’ve experienced this or know anyone who has, you’ll know
what I mean.

While it’s pretty much impossible to eliminate stress in our lives
short of living in a cave somewhere, it’s important to do everything
we can to manage it, so we can minimise it’s impact on us.

Which brings be to my email title; which is actually the title of
a brilliant stress management book.

I urge you all to grab a copy of this, read it, and take on board
the points it makes to help deal with and manage stress.

Your body and mind will thank you 🙂

 

Speak soon

 

Chris

Things aren’t always easy…..

photo 2 (2) This post is going to be a bit different from the rest.

If you look back over my previous posts, there’s some advice in there and some, what I hope, inspirational words as well, that have helped at least 1 person since I wrote it.

This one is going to be a little different.

I’m going to talk about hard days, hard weeks, things that go on behinds the scenes of a ‘personal trainer’, food, training, goals, all sorts – so that you can see it from our, or at least my, point of view.

Now I’m going to start here by saying I absolutely love what I do. Being involved in making people healthier, happier and generally more positive about life, is something that I’m wanting to, and working towards, doing my whole life.

This fits.

But it is no means and easy task.

It’s long hours, it’s little sleep, it’s stressful as it’s your own business so you’re the one accountable for its success or failure, it’s confusing about how best to market yourself sometimes, it can be frustrating when you’re trying to get clients and you see other trainers around you getting new ones when you aren’t, which questions you ability as a trainer and coach.

Helping other people can be hard sometimes.

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Personally, I don’t sleep especially well (look back to my fibromyalgia post to see why), and that means that come 4:30am ish, each day, I wake up – whether I want to or not.

I toss and turn, trying to get another hour in before my 5:30am alarm for my morning clients (who are awesome by the way), but it just doesn’t happen.

I do all my bits I need to and I’m out the door, in the gym, 1/2/3/4 clients depending on the day, then back home to eat and get work done.

This is anything from updating client workouts, checking food logs, replying to emails, writing emails, studying, scheduling social media posts etc

Basically working through the task list I’d written the night before, after my evening sessions, after I’d eaten my dinner (usually 8/9pm ish) and checked client session info for the day after.

This is a fairly usual day for me, with eating and training in there too.

Certainly beats sitting in an office that’s for sure !!

So let’s look a bit more behind the scenes;

Sometimes it’s not all smiles and rainbows for us (me).

There are days when I really don’t want to get out of bed early.

There are days I want to pig out on ‘junk food’

There are days I want to get wasted

There are days when I really really really don’t want to train

There are days when I get home to work when all I want to do is sit there and watch TV, and be lazy for a while

There are days when I worry about my business and my future (when will I get married, have kids, go on holiday etc)

There are days when I don’t want to interact with anyone at all

And sometimes, some of the hardest moments are with clients.

If we do a measure and it’s not what we wanted, or they didn’t respond to something nutritionally and even exercise wise

These things can be really disheartening for us (me) as well as the client

There are times when I question my ability to help someone

This post isn’t meant as a rant, or moan, or even to come across as me not loving what I do, far from it: it’s more to show you that there are times when it’s a difficult profession, like any other.

And that we don’t always like eating basic food, or training when we are sore.

But we do it, we all do, because we want to be a part of something better, part of a movement of change, for ourselves, and the people we are hired to help.

Despite the low points, and because of the high points, my love for this will never waiver

Thanks for reading

 

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What are you doing?!

Day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year…..

Time seems to be going by faster and faster as the year goes by.

And what are you doing about it?

Are you just letting the time pass, plodding on the same as you always have, comfortable with what you have and what you’re doing?

Or have you set yourself some deadlines? Have you said to yourself that you’re not going to stand still, be it in life or business.

Have you said to yourself that you’re not going to settle for what you currently have or what you currently do?

What are you going to do to make a change in your life?

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What’s the point of meditating….

We live in a fairly stressful environment.

Long gone are the days of sitting around in huts worrying only really about where the next buffalo is to hunt, when the next lot of fruits and veggies are coming into season, and when the next group of marauders are going to come to still my shit and burn my village down.

Now don’t get me wrong, no doubt that was a stressful string of thoughts, but it wouldn’t have been 24/7, like it is these days.

We have an in-built stress response, as all animals do, DANGER = RUN/ATTACK and NO DANGER = CHILL.

This works fine in an environment where stress comes and goes (there is a great book called ‘why zebras don’t get ulcers), however cue the internet, mobile phones, cars, traffic jams, late nights, early mornings, deadlines, exercise, under eating, over eating, not drinking enough water, not taking any personal time to relax, sporting events, buying a new house, getting marries, having kids…..getting a little stressed just writing that….and the list goes on….

The point is that we never seem to be able to get away from the daily ‘stresses’ of life.

So how do we get over this?

In all fairness, we don’t, we just have to learn how to manage this stress in the best way we can.

How?

Meditation is a great way to do this.

For some people that means sitting quietly, alone with their thoughts. For some this could mean watching their favourite film, or listening to their favourite music, or even exercising.

Whatever it means to you personally, it’s about getting yourself out of the stresses of daily life and taking the time to do something that you enjoy, each day, whenever you can.

Take time to look after yourself both physically, and mentally.

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What do you want?

Chris Main - Nutrition & Fitness

set and reach goal concept

Back in September, we held a Women’s Training and Nutrition seminar at our facility, Elite Performance Fitness (check out the website here: http://www.eliteperformance-fitness.co.uk/).

My part in the seminar was to deliver a short presentation on Goal Setting and Vision Boards.

I’m going to cover those aspects here today.

So first of all, what is a Goal and why do we need to set one, not only in our ‘Health & Fitness Life’ but in all aspects of our life?

I believe that we need to do it, because as a population, we are amazing at not setting goals and then hitting that with amazing accuracy.

Wayne Gretzky once said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – for those who don’t know, he is one of the greatest Ice Hockey players to have ever laced up skates.  And he’s completely right.

And as a trainer who spent…

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What’s the point of having a Personal Trainer?

Chris Main - Nutrition & Fitness

An odd title I realise.

Especially as just under 4 years ago, I became what the industry calls, a ‘Personal Trainer’

Back in the day when I was a prototypical gym-goer, I thought I had a good thing going every time I stepped out of the changing rooms and out onto the gym floor.  I was armed with my little notepad when I jotted down all of my workouts that I’d found either in magazines, or trolling through some random webpage I’d found after I’d searched for ‘How to build muscle in 19 seconds’ – or some other such nonsensical google request.

And each time I was in there, warming up on the treadmill before I hit the weights (WTF was I thinking there!?) I’d see the Personal Trainers wandering around the gym.  Some were with clients, and some were just chatting to random people, trying to ‘sell’ their services…

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Act Accordingly

How have people’s New Years resolutions faired this year so far?

Chris Main - Nutrition & Fitness

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Call to action.

This really goes hand in hand along with a recent post that I did on being Happy.

I’d like to ask you a question; and it’s really aimed at people who are looking at making improvements in their lifestyle and want to do this with the guidance of a ‘Personal Trainer’.

And that question, is WHY?

Why do you want someone telling you how to exercise, how to eat?

Why do you want to get out of bed early during the week, or at the weekend to go and train?

Why do you want to go to the gym after a hard (or easy) day at work?

Why do you want to get up and go exercise outside in the rain or snow?

Why do you want to say no when a friend offers you an alcoholic drink?

Why do you want to say no when someone…

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