Oh my God. When you are trying to take care of your body, you get conflicting information right and left. Recently, I attempted a 21-Day Sugar Detox, which I dropped out of four days later. But it did bring awareness for me to one thing I hadn’t thought a lot about: sugar intake. I mean, obviously sugar intake is important, and I knew that eating a dozen cookies in one day wasn’t a great idea, but it was usually more about calories for me, because macros and sugar grams and all that was overwhelming to my pea-sized brain. (Kidding. My brain is at least as big as a walnut.)
Anyhow, as I looked into sugar intake and saw that American Heart Association recommendations are about 20-25g per day for a woman, I decided to attempt it. I use My Fitness Pal to track my eating, so it calculates all that for me. Well, I was quickly surprised at how just having a little fruit, milk, cottage cheese, veggies and other (what I consider) good foods could throw me way over the limit. I mean, we’re not even counting “added sugar.” Eventually, I came to conclude that it was really just “added sugar” we’re talking about there, but I was still living in fear of fruit from various things I’ve read. And this seemed really dumb to me. I mean, it’s fruit!
So I was happy to come across this blog post by Rebekah Borucki of Bexlife. She’s a fitness instructor, mother of four and runs a lifestyle blog. She’s talking about foods she loves and how you should just not even worry about eating fruit and healthy fats — you’re not going to get fat or mess up your body if everything you are eating is healthy, whole foods. And, hey, isn’t this totally reasonable? Yes, it is! We tend to overthink things, don’t we? I’m going to enjoy my fruits and avocados and nuts and not fret about their calories. I mean, I’m not going to eat a pound of nuts in one sitting or anything.
So another couple of interesting blog posts I came across are on Dangerously Hardcore. One of them is by a trainer who talks about the major dietary disfunction of so many women. That is, too many processed “diet foods.” Too many crappy carbs. They think they have a healthy diet, but it’s lacking in such a way that it leads to binging on fatty, sweet foods (re: my homemade chocolate chip cookie binge yesterday). He points out how damaging this is to one’s metabolism and how he fixes it by prescribing a diet much higher in fat and protein and lower in simple sugary starches. During this time, he suggests lower levels of exercise as the metabolism adjusts.
Another interesting article on that site is about women and too much cardio. I personally dislike cardio very much, so I don’t do an excess of it. I focus on yoga and weight-training (weight training is the best way to increase your metabolism). I like both of those things. I throw in some cardio for heart-lung health, but really turn to the muscle building for the calorie burn. Sometimes I do HIIT workouts because they are quick and effective and have a calorie afterburn, which is not common with most cardio exercises. Anyway, I thought this article was very interesting. Judge for yourself!
Moral of the blog post: I think there are too many fads and extremes out there when it comes to diet. Things like eliminating entire food groups. And this has never really sat well with me. I think I need to listen to my gut (ha!) and eat a balance of all food groups with a 99% focus on whole foods (with the occasional homemade cookie binge — kidding! Just 10 cookies at once). This is what speaks to me as I continue my quest to eat better and learn more about nutrition. I have a long way to go, but I’m working at it!