Our bodies are nothing more than organic, blood pumping machines. Like anything else the fuel, you put it in it will determine the outcome. Unless of course you are Chad Johnson, maybe one of the only human beings that can eat McDonalds every day and run a sub-4.5s 40-yard dash in his early 40’s. All jokes outside what we put in our bodies matter and I know we all got those speeches time after time again from the S&C coaches but it’s not quite the same when you finally hang up your cleats. Especially for American-style football players (had to make the distinction so all of my fútbol players don’t get up in arms) there are huge mortality risks and long term health impacts that multiple different studies are showing. We eat, we lift, we train and hope we make weight for weigh-ins. But what happens after?
In the span of 2.5 years, I put on over 60 pounds in college, I saw other guys especially the lineman put on more. I had a timer on my phone to eat every 2 hours, I would eat until I was sick, chew until I was tired of chewing 5-7 times a day every day. This need to continue to put on mass gave me a green light to eat whatever I wanted, as long as I fell within my macro ranges. As I took more nutrition classes I started to cut out the fast food and work on putting better things in my body. I had a professor outline what he called the simplest diet in the world, “eat real food, not a lot, mostly plants”.
I had to ignore that middle part when I was playing out of necessity but as I transitioned out, I realized I needed to redefine how I saw portions and my diet. I watched too many of my elders gain unhealthy amounts of weight when the game of football was done with them. Some were fortunate enough to realize the paths that they were on and begin to tip the scale back in their favor, for others the comorbidities associated with carrying that much extra weight cost them their lives. I made a conscious effort to learn how to portion now that I wasn’t burning a couple thousand extra calories a day. I lost the 50 unnatural pounds I fought and forced myself to carry.
Like most things the internet can be your friend as far as finding resources to help determine portion control, and healthy balances as far as diet. I found blogs like fitmencook and clean-eating not for the sake of losing weight but for the sake of eating a more balanced diet. The end goal isn’t necessarily weight loss, that was just the outcome that I had. The goal is to retrain ourselves and our lifestyle to eat better and live longer. I found different ways to incorporate vegetables in my diet, focused on leaner meats (when I did eat meat) and leaned away from fast food. Understand, a super strict diet will eventually break.
It is not about only eating these 5 things its understanding the general macro-molecule break down you need and building it into your diet accordingly. I cut back on sugar but I still allow myself a cookie if I want one its all about balance. Diet culture has created an unhealthy obsession with cutting certain things like fat or sugar or whatever the molecule of the week is out. When in reality we just need a healthier and more balanced approach to our diet coupled with activity. Not every macro-molecule breakdown is going to work for every body type we all have individual needs. This week I want you to try and make a healthier version of a recipe for dinner. Use one of the blogs I posted as an easy starting point if you want then branch out from there. Find what works best for you.