IT’S NOT A TRICK, IT’S A LIFESTYLE
With the start of the holiday season, many will start to question and re-evaluate their commitment to their health goals. After all, we are human and the warm pumpkin pie and tamales and all those delicious holiday foods are just so tempting. But when you have focused on long term sustainable strategies, indulging with moderation in many of those delicious foods, shouldn’t derail your health goals. Should that balanced meal approach change for kids who play on a sports team or work out?
LET’S TALK ABOUT DIETS
To maintain healthy weight, it should be a fairly simple strategy – consume the right amount of calories and exercise consistently. However, many turn to diets to help speed up the weight loss process. As research indicates, all diets work but only in the short-term. Long-term, you’re more likely to gain weight if you diet. Unfortunately, unhealthy eating habits also influence the youth athlete. As an adult or a youth athlete, dieting can cause a decrease in strength, endurance, concentration, and overall performance.
What does this tell us? To really achieve lasting, healthy results, you need a plan that has a focus on long-term sustainable results; it has to be a lifestyle, a way of life. The same applies to youth athletes. Eating for sports should be an extension of healthy eating for life.
THE PERFECT COMBINATION
The other important part of the equation is exercise. To make a lifelong commitment to health, you have to find things that will keep you motivated, even during the holidays. Pick an activity, basketball, ultimate frisbee, track, golf, anything that will keep you motivated so that you have a stronger ‘WHY’ to eat right and workout consistently with relevant intensity. If the parent is active, the youth may see that an active lifestyle is normal and part of an everyday routine. Even if the youth athlete isn’t a top performer, allowing and encouraging the athlete to remain active will only encourage a lifelong active lifestyle.
THERE IS NO TRICK
The best strategies to maintain a healthy lifestyle, is to:
- Develop a BALANCED eating habit that YOU or your athlete can stick with for more than a few months. This may include lean meats, dairy, vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains and seeds.
- Athletes specially need calcium, iron, protein and carbohydrates which a balanced diet already includes
- Keeping a simple food log can help you see what you are really eating and drinking throughout the day to ensure you and your youth athlete are getting the right amount of calories and nutrients
- Chose an activity or sport that will allow you or your athlete to set goals and have fun doing it
When there’s a well-balanced eating and exercise plan, holidays or the off-season won’t derail any progress. If you or your youth athlete needs help or guidance, the Outright team can help!