Healthier Eating for Athletes
Healthier eating is on nearly every person’s to-do list, but getting started is often the most difficult challenge. By setting small goals and making changes slowly, healthier eating is not only attainable, but also sustainable.
Track a week’s worth of calories, micronutrients, and macronutrients. Using an online tracker such as Cron-O-Meter gives people a clear view of improvements that can be made in their diets. Identify areas of weakness, such as vitamin deficiencies or improper macronutrient ratios (endurance athletes should aim for approximately 60% of their calories to come from carbohydrates, 25% from protein, and 15% from fats).
Make small changes. After you have identified areas in your diet where you could do better, plan to make one small change per week. For instance, if you find that you consume an overabundance of sugar during a typical week, aim to drink one less soda per day. Do not attempt to make large changes at once, which will ultimately lead to diet failure.
Set a time limit. Diets can be hard to follow when they feel indefinite. Instead, tell yourself you will try making changes for a set period of time, such as two weeks, and then reassess how you feel. If after those two weeks you do not notice a change, you can go back to your old eating habits. However, chances are those two weeks will be life-changing.
Allow for indulgences. Restricting foods from your diet automatically seems to make them more desirable. Once a week, allow yourself to indulge in an item you have cut back on.
Aim to be better, not perfect. Perhaps the worst mistake a dieter can make is to assume they have to be perfect all the time. Not only is perfection unsustainable, but it can lead to major anxiety during a diet slip up.