For The Good of The Next Generation, It's Time We Said NO To "Diets"

Forget the F word. Here’s the real four-letter word that adolescents and young athletes need to remove from their existence - diet. It’s been the cause of more yo-yo dieting, distorted perceptions of food, and eating disorders than anything else in existence

I tell you what’s scary - conversations with adolescents and youth athletes where the hot topic is always the ‘latest fad diet’, or even ‘diets’ in general. And what’s scarier, they’re popping up even more than before

In a world where we’re beginning to value our appearance more than ever, it’s time to set realistic expectations on what that means and looks like - as yes, there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing”. The main cause of injuries in young athletes is under-recovery and being under-prepared, due to a focus on ‘doing more’ - training harder, eating ‘stricter’… And when we immerse ourselves in the world of adolescents and young athletes these days (i.e. the world of social media), we see naught but apparent ‘perfection’, as social media is just a highlight reel

Celebrities are endorsing things that are marketed to raise their own status, without any thought being given to the real impact they’re having. So that when we seek for information, we’re met with ‘fad diets’, cleanses, juices, and other nonsense that is creating more harm than good

We’re focusing too much value on how we look. We’re giving to much power to this external persona at a time of such importance. These are formative years, and there is the chance to educate and instil solid principles for life… but unfortunately, there is also potential to do much damage, which is happening more than the former

The word diet needs to be removed from existence, and instead, we need to view food as nothing but fuel for the body. We create complexities to hide our imperfections, that is, we make things more complex when we don’t understand them. We tell ourselves the story that ‘nothing can be simple’, and yet, nothing could be simpler 

Complexity comes from the fact that people eat for pleasure and not sustenance (but that’s for another occasion). For now, we need to remember our simple principles that should be the centre of adolescents, young athletes (and adults too!):
- stop viewing foods as "good" or "bad"
- get your 5 serves of vegetables a day
- have a real-food protein source with each meal
- consume carbohydrates from whole-food sources in moderation, more if you’re an active kid
- always make the best choice available for you at the present time, and move on

Your body will tell you what it likes and what it doesn’t, and it’s time to tie into this intuition. Eat when you’re hungry and don’t eat if you’re not... make smarter choices... train hard... and if a form of food doesn’t “sit right” with you, don’t eat it

Focus on eating and training, not 'dieting' and 'exercising'...

Let’s make a pact to leave the word “diet” in 2017; something that will benefit all of mankind for the future

NutritionNick Maier