Eating ‘bad’ food helps people deal with diets: Experts

Pay attention to the commercials plugging 10-minute ab solutions, push-up gadgets and high-tech all-in-one home gyms — it would seem that exercise alone can keep the average person looking fit and trim.


But judging by the regimes of the fittest of the fit — professional athletes, natural bodybuilders, personal trainers — exercise alone can’t ensure a beach-ready body.


According to Courtney Band, a holistic nutritionist at Roland Semprie training studio in Toronto, proper nutrition is the key to maximizing hard work in the gym — and it really doesn’t involve dieting in a traditional sense.


“Diet is a lifestyle change,” Band says. “It doesn’t mean you have to cut out all the fat out, you just have to have balance.”


According to Statistics Canada figures published in 2005, balance is a problem for a majority of Canadians.

The study found that roughly 23.1 per cent of Canadians aged 18 and older were obese, while an additional 36.1 per cent of adults were considered overweight using standard body mass index measurement guidelines.

The trend isn’t restricted to the Great White North, however, but is much more widespread, according to World Health Organization, which estimates more than one billion adults are overweight across the globe. WHO has even coined the term “globesity” to refer to the epidemic.

Band points out that while the obesity crisis is very real, the solutions to weight control are relatively simple: Eat small meals throughout the day and watch the proportions of carbohydrates, proteins and fats to balance insulin levels and keep energy levels stable. “I recommend 40 (per cent) protein, 30 carbs, 30 fat, 10 per cent cheating,” she says of her ideal prescription for an average person’s diet.

Band also recommends properly combining foods and listening to one’s body to understand what’s being processed properly and what isn’t — yes, that means paying attention to bowel movements (very dark indicating an intake of less-than-desirable food, she explains, while greasy stool points to an intake of high-fat food) to help judge which foods are working best in your body.

Lora Jordan, a nutritionist with Extreme Fitness, agrees with Band’s assertion that cheating is a positive way to help people deal with a proper eating regimen, but unlike some nutritionists who recommend entire cheat days, Jordan is more conservative in her advice to clients.

“There are people who have that one day and it just snowballs into more and more days of cheating,” Jordan explains. “Better to have a few cheat meals per week.”

And for those confused about what to eat in each meal, Jordan recommends combinations of foods such as lean proteins (skinless chicken breast, lean beef, white fish), green, leafy vegetables and whole grains such as brown rice.

Eating clean doesn’t have to be boring with a bit of creativity in the kitchen, but it is the crucial starting point on the road to improved fitness.