Beware of unhealthy advice from “health magazines”

I used to follow health magazines and articles to try to eat healthy, but for a while it was a problem because it would always become tangled up with the diet mentality. As told by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in their book Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works, it’s not about calories (the focus of most diets). It’s about your body signals: what, when, how much do you need?

 We know eating is about trusting your body’s signals, and therefore trusting yourself. We tend to be a little shaky on that, so we turn to others.

 Recently on Twitter I inquired about keeping my body fueled during my workouts without biting into my bank account. I directed my question toward two name magazines: Runner’s World and Good Health Magazine.

 You have to be careful with health magazines. Here there are wolves in sheep’s clothing: nutritional “experts” who will tell you how to monitor your weight for that “hot summer body”, then show you visually how hot a summer body can be with a photo of an unrealistically, flawless model.

My inquiry revealed the truth about who I turned to for help.

Runner’s World (http://askthesportsdietitian.runnersworld.com/2009/02/fueling-well-without-breaking-the-bank.html) responded by sending me tips like “buy generic brand” and “buy in bulk”. I especially liked “make your own bars” using peanut butter, honey, raisins, etc. That way you can personalize to your preference (and it works great with the idea of intuitive eating. What kind of bar are you craving?)

Good Health (http://living.health.com/2009/10/27/the-right-fuel-for-your-run/) sent tips involving “low-calorie” and “low fat” foods: an immediate warning. Not to mention there were “blast fat!” and “are you fit enough?” links scattered about to boost insecurities about your body. Everything was measured to the ounce. I loved one of the suggestions, veggie pizza, but I’d definitely pass on the spinach salad. Granted, they did mention a peanut-butter-banana-honey tortilla mix as one breakfast, but they still measured to the tablespoon.

Runner’s World seems to understand every person’s appetite and portion needs are different. They offer no serving sizes or stress portion control.

 If you are an intuitive eater, your body will tell you when to start, when to stop, and what it needs. Intuitive Eating discusses a body’s cravings with an example of a client’s craving for meat when they had restricted it on a “vegetarian” diet. As a runner, I know I crave certain foods, and I enjoy eating them, so if my body wants protein in the form of beef, let there be beef!

Written by Jessica Silverman

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