5 Simple Steps to Easily “Olympify” and Follow an Athlete Diet
It has happened more than once. Maybe it has happened to you too.
I am with a group of people at a restaurant and the conversation turns towards the obvious common topic, food!
I can recall one experience that made me laugh, cry, and bite my tongue in silence all at once. One of the friends I was with turned to a diet/workout salesperson in our group and asked her opinion on her diet. The restaurant was casual with dark mood lighting that left you feeling like it could be fancy or jeans attire. We were all in jeans. My friend was in the center of the group holding the spotlight. She casually turned the conversation onto her diet probably for the benefit of the group. It made the topic common so everyone could ease into conversation. We all have an opinion on diet, just like everyone has an opinion on the state of the weather. But despite her knowledge of my background and education, she avoided asking my opinion on her diet – at the time it kind of stung a little.
The problem is this: I am a highly researched nutrition professional, so people normally pay me for my opinion on their diet. Sometimes it is a weird place to be when it comes to eating with friends, family, and acquaintances. Imagine that you are a professional hockey player and the normal thing to do was go out with a group and mingle on the ice rink in hockey gear. At some point, someone in the group is going to have an opinion on hockey. Should the pro hockey player be leading the group and teaching hockey or weighing in on every part of the conversation? Or should the pro hockey player sit back and listen to the conversation to learn more about their sport from a different perspective?
As I sat back and listened, I learned. I observed that my friend was unsure of her diet and the impact it would have if she ate a food that she had been avoiding. She asked questions that I had clear tested answers to. Yet, she still did not ask me those questions. I knew that if I offered advice, I would be giving free advice. Undesired, free advice has to be the worst advice to both receive and give. So, I said nothing.
My friend invited an opinion from the others in a general sense, but it came across as a conversation starter and an underlying request to support her habits. My filter was on, so I offered no advice.
But now you are getting the inner workings of a nutrition professional's brain. I can take off the filter and give it to you straight. There was a missed opportunity here. I have seen this missed opportunity many times. Like I mentioned in the beginning, this missed opportunity has happened more than once and it will happen again. But don’t let it happen to you!
If you are in front of a professional and do not invite them into your conversation, you will miss an opportunity to take yourself to the next level.
I am talking about every professional from your dog groomer to your dentist. The responsibility is on you, though.
When you tap into knowledge and experience, you tap into your next level. In order to bring you to another level with food and human science, I have created 5 simple steps you can follow to easily “Olympify” your diet or the diet of an athlete in your care. This is to answer all the un-asked questions I have had over the years…
5 Simple Steps to Easily “Olympify” and Follow an Athlete Diet
#1. Be confident and clear in your reasons for not eating certain foods.
Just because Gwyneth Paltrow is purported to be gluten-free or the abs guy on Instagram puts #paleo, does not mean you need to restrict the same foods. There is a reason not to eat foods. Authentic reasons I have seen are allergic, intolerant (not the same as allergic), disliked (not the same as intolerant), religious, exploring allergic or intolerant, and cutting calories.
#2. If you are restricting foods for the above reasons, list the replacement foods that you will include if you are going to be missing an important part of performance eating.
For example, if you restrict meat, eggs and dairy, make sure that you have a plan to eat legumes as muscle building materials in their place.
#3. Create a list of foods that you will be eating that includes…
Energy for your active life, muscle building material to rebuild your metabolism every day, and superfoods to give you all the superpowers that will have you sailing through your day with ease. All of these foods can be found on the ET4P foods list.
#4. Focus on the foods that you ARE eating as opposed to focussing on the foods that you are NOT eating.
Many people want to identify to a group by the foods that they are not eating. I have no problem with people calling themselves vegan, gluten-free, keto, or paleo, but the trap is focussing so much on the foods not eaten. Focus instead on what are you eating that is performance enhancing. If you are on a diet and are struggling to identify what you are eating that is performance enhancing, then grab the ET4P food list and get up to date on what performance eating is about.
#5. Share your performance eating journey with others.
Do not shy away from talking about what you DO eat and WHY. Once you are super clear on what you are eating and why you are eating it, a perfect athlete diet plan can be yours. Whether you are a recreational athlete or an Olympian, you can Olympify your diet.
If you are unsure where to start sharing what you are doing, we encourage you to start by commenting below and sharing in the meal planning facebook group!
We can all learn from each other. That is why when I listened to my friend talking away about what she didn’t eat, I was absorbing everything. Her real struggles to select foods at a casual restaurant gave me an opportunity to learn from her. She gave me insights that I could use to connect with my friends and hockey players who are following restrictive diets. It’s why I am creating a whole restaurant guidance section in my athlete travel guide and why I am offering a whole course on uncovering allergies and intolerances in the new year.
So, stick with me this year. We can take each other on a nutrition journey. The journey starts in the next great nutrition challenge.
Have you tried to Olympify your diet yet?
Share your thoughts in the comments.