Food is our fuel, what we eat has the power to change how we feel, look and perform.
The food we eat builds every cell in our body, every single piece of food you eat can either enhance or impair you.
Nutrition is a science yes but it doesn’t need to be complicated. The modern world of dieting, ridiculous food rules (no carbs after 6pm being one), carb/fat shaming and flawless models/the perfect diets of social media ‘influencers’ has lead us away from our ability to listen to our own bodies signals.
Our body knows what we need and how much yet we are all guilt of looking to the latest diet plan/someone on what we ‘should’ eat, how much and when.
Let’s stop this – let’s move away from the diet culture, make peace with food, learn to read our bodies hunger signals and see how great you can look, feel and perform.
Diets Don’t Work
How often have you said to yourself ‘I’ll start on Monday’, binging on all your favourite foods over the weekend knowing you won’t be allowed them come Monday?
How many times has this been a repeat cycle?
How many times have you said to yourself, this time things will be different?
One last diet?
How often have you failed – hating yourself for not having enough willpower?
Well, let me tell you something, it isn’t you that is failing, your diet is failing you.
Our bodies are programmed in a way that severe calorie restriction cannot last – you may be able to ignore the hunger signs at first but it is not sustainable. It is a survival mechanism by which over the years has kept us alive.
Depleting our glucose/glycogen stores so low through severe calorie restriction and/or heavy exercising causes us to crave high sugar/carb foods – which is often when our diet fails.
This then leads often to excessive calorie consumption to replace the glycogen stores and your body, not knowing when it will next be allowed these foods or next have a decent meal, will aim to store as much of the food as it can – resulting in weight gain.
The guilt associated with breaking your diet can often lead to further binges/f*** it I’ve failed might as well eat everything in sight. Often causing you to become heavier than you were when you started the diet and in a few weeks you will try something else.
Break the Diet Cycle
You may want to lose weight, fit into an old dress/jeans but I want you to go deeper – why do you want to lose that weight? How will it make you feel? Is it for health reasons?
Further, focusing on the positives of eating well is a huge factor in staying motivated and positive on your journey.
When we are healthy, we have energy, energy to enjoy riding more and improve our performance. We are able to focus on the training of our beloved furry friends, rather than just getting it done.
This energy also means you are more likely to (possibly without even realising) increase your NEAT (non-exercise thermogenesis), simply put the calories you burn when doing any unplanned exercise.
For example, you may choose to walk to the shops instead of drive, take the dog out for a longer walk, generally just being more active.
Where Do I Start?
Nutrition is a minefield – I get it, it has taken me 4 years to sift through the fads from the facts and having come from an unhealthy mind-set around food to now listening to my body, no food is off limits, I am enjoying what I eat, fuelling myself for success and I have never been happier or looked better too.
Your time, money and effort invested in the training and nutrition of our equestrian partner needs to be replicated by us in order to create that successful partnership – one without the other does not make for a success story. Remember your commitment to eating well not only affects you but affects your partnership – you owe it to yourself and your horse.
There is Only One You
Nutrition is individual and personal to everyone. There is no one size fits all and please, please don’t follow someone else’s nutrition plan expecting the same results they have. I have fallen trap to that and either under eaten or overeaten because that person is totally different to me, they have different needs and we all need to accept we are unique (and totally awesome).
You need to learn to listen to your body and understand what is enough for you and what makes you thrive and what doesn’t, what are your likes and dislikes (you may be surprised the things you crave when on a diet aren’t the same as when you allow yourself to eat). Healthy foods become more enjoyable and your palette may totally change.
My top tip to you would be to try as many different foods/meals as you can – experiment get creative in the kitchen and question yourself every time you eat – what does this taste like? Do I enjoy it? And am I full?
Reading the book ‘Intuitive Eating’ by Evelyn Tribole & Elyse Resch is a great place to learn more about listening to our bodies and breaking the diet cycle, making peace with foods and getting back to our natural bodyweight.
As a qualified nutritionist I aim to provide insightful educational blog articles to help you be your best self, bust the diet myths and see you achieve your full potential in the equestrian world.
If there is any topic area you would like discussed please let me know as chances out there someone else is wanting the exact same help and advice.
My aim is to provide you with an area full of knowledge bombs and advice so you don’t have to ever be confused by the health and fitness world again.
If you would like further help creating your own bespoke nutrition plan please don’t hesitiate to get in contact and I would love to have you on board!
I hope you have a really great week and please drop me a comment/message and let me know what you think.