Some folks aren’t even trying.  Yesterday at No Frills I stood in line behind a very kindly elderly man whose health appeared to be declining rapidly.  “It’s just a function of getting older,” folks will say as if there’s nothing you can do about it.  His entire grocery cart consisted of several packages of chocolate and butterscotch pudding, a few bags of chips and one package of Kraft processed cheese slices.  Not a single item that resembled an actual food.  Would you expect anyone living on such a diet to be the picture of vibrant health?  I felt like he wasn’t even trying.  Not saying you can’t indulge in some empty-calorie snacks now and then, but when your entire shopping cart is that devoid of nutrition I’m guessing you just don’t care anymore.  You’ve realized you are what you eat and you’re aspiring to be trash.

Most people are actually trying to eat well.  If you look at their grocery carts you can guess which nutritional recommendations they are trying to follow.  Good on them for making the effort!  Too bad there is so much bad information out there that so many well-intentioned people still end up poorly nourished despite their best efforts.

I look back at my competitive Judo days when weight-cutting was a struggle for me and I tried to follow the low-fat, vegetarian recommendations popular at the time.  I could never get lean, I could never train or perform optimally and I was starving all the time battling cravings you cannot believe.  I was always a mess of nagging injuries that refused to heal and I got sick with a cold almost every other week.  At one point in 1996 at the ripe old age of 24, doctors at UBC hospital were so concerned about my compromised immune function that they tested me for HIV.  That was a scary moment.  Good news: results came back negative.  Bad news: They had no helpful suggestions other than scale back my course load.

It’s not that I was ignorant.  I was enrolled in a 2-semester Human Nutrition course at UBC at the time and was measuring and tracking my micro and macro nutrient intakes daily and exceeding all the recommendations on a largely home-cooked whole food diet.  It seemed I was doing all the right things but getting the wrong results.  That should have been a hint that the prevailing nutritional wisdom of the time was in error.

I’m 47 years old now and no longer battling the chub.  Weight cutting would be no problem now.  I average 8 training sessions per week and feel well-fueled, well-fed and recovered all week without terrible cravings.  My last sick day was during the March 2019 CrossFit Open.  It’s amazing the difference having access to the right information makes.

But it took years of trial and error and disregarding the prevailing wisdom to get here.

I feel deeply for each one of you who has struggled trying to eat the way you’ve been told will work only to find yourself feeling terrible about life and failing to get results.  You might, as I once did, chalk it up to bad genetics but let me assure you, it isn’t you, it’s just a result of the incorrect or incomplete information you are operating on.

If you’re overweight, or trying to cut weight as I did for Judo, you might naturally believe that you need to eat less.  The opposite is often true.  I have coached a woman who weighing in at 250lbs was eating less than 1000 calories per day and thought she needed to eat less.  Can you imagine living on less than 1000 calories per day?  If you are eating that little and still not losing weight, it should be a clue that eating less is not your solution.

For many CrossFitters the correct answer is eating more of the right stuff.   The ladies at Power Up Nutrition have been very helpful in helping me, and many other Empower members, get on track.  Their useful guidelines have helped put us in control of our health, performance and physique.  It’s not a diet, it is an operating system that puts you in the driver’s seat to produce the results you want, when you want.

If it’s not working for you then please consider that perhaps, like me in 1996, everything you think you know about nutrition might just be wrong.