If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you are probably familiar with my little nuggets of truth I throw out called: “#truthbombs”.  Most of the time it’s about health and fitness and sometimes it’s about life in general.  Today I’m setting off a few truthbombs all in one; so here we go…..

A friend posted this today and I completely agree: “There are no failures in your pathway to fitness. Merely things you try. Some work, some don’t, but all supply info.”  I like to tell people that I am like the “test bunny” for most fitness plans, diets, workouts…you name it.  I’ve given just about everything there is a chance or at least looked into it.  From under-eating and over-exercising, to eating strict Paleo and CrossFit, marathon training and carb loading, eating Primal, tri/duathlon training, stress fractures, counting calories, etc….  Do I believe these diets/training methodologies have failed me in any way?  No. In fact, they’ve helped me search out the things that DO work for me, what foods/lifestyle/workouts help me feel the best – that I would’ve never known, had I never tried the others that “failed”.  Behold the truthbombs which I have found to be true based on my own experiences….

If your goal is to be fit out of the fear of being fat vs. being fit to be healthy and feel empowered; you will run yourself into the ground.
Take it from me friends, this is something I have just discovered this year.  I have spent the last decade exercising mostly out of the pure enjoyment for it, but also out of a voice in the back of my head compelling me to “do one more workout today” not because I needed to but because the voice in my head tells me to “burn more calories” vs. rest and recover.  Working out should make us feel strong, empowered, and excited to do it again the next day.  Working out should not make us feel deflated, defeated, and miserable.  

Too much of a good thing can easily become a bad thing.
We all know that exercise is very powerful in releasing endorphins and making us feel great.  However, too much of it can become a bad thing.  And I am fully aware that I am calling the kettle black here.  Think of exercise as an over-the-counter drug.  Just as most of us follow the “do not exceed dosage” on any medication we should also follow it in regards to exercise.  When we exceed and stress the body with excessive amounts of exercise it’s like overdosing on a drug day after day, year after year.  AND, the more we take the drug, the more our bodies become immune to it, so we take higher doses until we crash or get stress fractures or even worse mess up our metabolisms and hormones. It’s like the law of diminishing returns. If you’re spending 2 hours a day, every day trying to get the “body of your dreams” and somehow you finally do, your body now has grown accustomed to being at it’s “peak” from that much work; meaning your gym sessions will become longer and longer to improve/maintain unless you catch on to the idea of working out smarter; not harder.

“Gluten Free” is becoming this generations “Fat Free”
**If you are celiac and truly allergic to gluten then please, ignore this statement.  You clearly have a legit allergy that should not be taken lightly**

I remember hearing Michael Pollan say on Oprah one time, “The low fat kick made everyone fatter”.  I believe we will be saying the same thing of “gluten free” in the next few years.  I know you’re thinking, “Wait…but don’t you eat gluten free, Mel?”

Last week I got back my food allergy/sensitivity results and it was a blessing that I am not allergic to gluten.  Because this is what would have happened: “ALL GLUTEN FREE ERRYTHANG!!” I would have gone to the store and stocked up, not on naturally occurring gluten free items, but junk, processed gluten free breads, cereals, crackers, chips; because they are gluten free and that’s what my allergy test said to do.

This also isn’t a permission slip to go eat everything containing gluten because; instead I found out that I am allergic/intolerant to (just to name a few) cashews, eggs, egg whites, sesame, rye, soybean, bakers and brewers yeast.  This simply means, it’s time to just go back to the basics; which we should all try to do 90% of the time.  All the products I listed above aren’t found in lean meats, veggies, quinoa, oats, fruit, sweet potatoes, rice, etc.  They’re found in mostly processed foods.  Eliminate the junk; eliminate the allergy.

Back to the gluten free issue. I’ve read Wheat Belly, I’ve seen the stats, I know people who think gluten is the devil; and while I believe that going naturally gluten free (eliminating processed crap) is great for everyone; if you don’t have a positive allergy/intolerance for it then stop pretending that you’re doing yourself a favor by buying the gluten free chips instead of the regular. Instead, just don’t buy them at all or eat them sparingly.  It’s like when I was eating Paleo and would have never thought of cooking with bacon grease before, but because it was in a Paleo cookbook and on Paleo websites, I started doing it, too.  People eating “fat free and “low fat” buying chemical laden sweets for the label because it’s on their diet, is no different than the person who is not allergic to gluten buying “gluten free” chemical laden/processed products because of the label.  
**For the record, I do not cook with or consume bacon anymore…it seems dirty to me**

This last #truthbomb is for tha ladies. Although, male trainers and coaches, read on.

Not having a regular period is not always an indication of low body fat percentage.
While low body fat percentage and the absence of your period is highly correlated, it is not the only reason. Cue personal testimony here.  I have not had a regular period over the past ten years, not because my body fat is too low (believe me), but because I have unintentionally over-worked, under-fed, and stressed my hormones to the max.  
Ie: #truthbomb: “too much of a good thing can easily become a bad thing.”  The last decade I have spent countless hours trying to become what I thought was “fit” with little regard to truly becoming “healthy”.  When you’re asking your body to perform many functions at once, without adequate rest, recovery, and nutrition something has to give, stop, or malfunction.  In my case, it’s my thyroid and sex hormones.  If you are not having a regular period and your body fat is above 13% you need to examine your activities a bit more and perhaps see a doctor who will listen to you, understands your activity level, and will help you find the most natural way to recoup the damage you’ve done.

I am sharing all of this information and these #truthbombs with you in the hopes that if any of it sounds like you, because it is me, and has been me, to take a look at what you’re doing, the habits you are creating.  Some of you may need to take a break from the hamster wheel and reevaluate your reasons for becoming fit and becoming healthy.  Exercise should be an enjoyable outlet for you; not an addiction, not out of compulsion.  You should be eating to fuel your body correctly; not underfeeding it and not overfeeding it.  

And if you still believe a 1200 calorie diet is a one-size-fits-all approach, please read this insightful post here: 1200 Calories.