Whether they want to be or not, nearly every food or fitness blogger-myself included- is influenced by their own opinions and preferences. Everyone has their own idea of which foods one should or should not be consuming, how many times a week one should be working out and at what time one should be going to bed.
Should you eat dairy or should you avoid it at all costs? Should you drink coffee before your workout or should you never ever drink it? Should you run, do HIIT, lift weights or combine it all? Should you go Vegan or should you adopt a Paleo diet? How about you just do whatever makes you feel like the happiest and most-confident version of yourself?
Of course, because nutrition, fitness and overall health have become such hot topics among people that hardly ever have the appropriate medical background to be advising anyone, personal opinions and preferences are often be taken as fact. Even though I am not saying that people with the ‘correct’ medical background get it right every time, I wonder if a quick disclaimer saying that only personal opinions are being expressed is enough for readers to understand that, most of the time, bloggers, naturopaths and writers are not 100% certain that what they are claiming should be considered as fact?
Of course, people are (relatively) free to claim whatever they want, but when there is a risk of individuals following their advice-by adopting a certain diet plan, for example-their claims may have (grave) repercussions on that person’s wellbeing. Now, although the consequences of ‘following someone’s advice’ are not always disastrous, they may lead to a result different from the one that was expected.
There is one example I would like to use here (there are many others, but this one is just so easy), which is that of individuals on a High Carb Low Fat diet who claim that their food choices are balanced and nutritious. The HCLF diet is clearly NOT ‘balanced and nutritious’, unless one consumes over 5000 calories a day worth of fruits and vegetables. But then again, is that really your idea of a ‘balanced’ diet? If we look at the macronutrients (and micronutrients) levels of such diets, we note that they are almost completely made up of carbohydrates, making them very low in protein (essential amino acids) and healthy fats (essential fatty acids).
Do and say whatever you wish, but do not harm others.
There are many wellness bloggers and writers promoting lifestyles that might work for them, but that are completely inadequate for others. By promoting such lifestyles they may be saying things that can eventually, indirectly, harm people. Your health and wellbeing should remain in your own hands. Therefore, the choices you make in terms of nutrition and fitness should be based on how they make YOU feel, not on how they make someone else feel.
4 Golden Rules
By now, there are some ‘rules’ that every person with the slightest interest in overall wellbeing and specifically in nutrition and fitness will know to be true. I believe they are intuitive to most of us:
- Do not overdo it. Do not eat only protein or only carbs because some good-looking fitness blogger does it. Aim to consume just the right amount of calories and macronutrients for YOUR body type and activity level. However, remember not to only focus on macronutrients, but keep in mind vitamins and minerals (easy sources are fruits and vegetables). It is ok if you are a bit off; do whatever works for you. If you want to eat slightly more carbs than protein, then do that! But remember that…
- If you want to lose weight, you need to eat less (of everything) and move more, but make sure to do it gradually. You would be surprised at how quickly our bodies adapt to new eating habits, which can result in progress stagnating.
- Do not over-exercise. It is simply counter-productive and puts our body into a lot of stress. Start slow, and gradually increase the amount of exercise you do.
- Use your brain: Eat whole foods and limit junk and processed foods. Let us be honest, we know we are better off eating homemade porridge for breakfast than the sugary store-bought kind filled with additives.
I guess you could call these the 4 golden rules that you are free to live by (or not). In essence, what I am trying to come to is that the most important thing is to listen to your body and do what it tells you to. If you care the slightest bit about your health you will know that eating fries for lunch and steak every day from Monday to Friday is not the way to go, which will make you want to do something about it.
Lastly, remember to be very critical of the information you come across; whether it comes from doctors, bloggers, writers or nutritionists. It is very unlikely that their advice was not at all influenced by their our own experiences and preferences.