A great article from our partner advanced sport dietitian Alison Patterson.

Mindful eating and sports nutrition – can that possibly work? Surely active people need a nutrition plan if they want success? Yep, I agree wholeheartedly; active people DO need a nutrition plan, BUT a nutrition plan doesn’t have to be prescriptive, have food rules or require any kind of measuring scale.

In my experience, prescriptive meal plans might work for some people for a short period of time, but they’re not so great for the long term. Instead of encouraging sustainable changes they often lead to periods of diligent perfection followed by periods of ‘stuff it I’m eating whatever’ followed by a leap back onto the diligent perfection bandwagon and around it goes. Ultimately, an endless and often futile cycle. Certainly not the best way to fuel and nourish an active body.

Wherever possible, I love to introduce active people mindful eating to use as part of their sports nutrition plan to help them to tune into and trust their body’s inner cues (such as hunger, fullness and energy levels) to guide their nutrition choices. Along the way encouraging experimentation and curiosity to find the best way to balance well-established sports nutrition principles with other parts of eating such as enjoyment and fun.

Eating mindfully in sports nutrition is about bringing awareness and purpose to how you fuel your body. It’s pulling together information from a number of cues to guide you to know when, what and how much to eat to meet your needs. For example, you might consider…

  • What exercise you’ve done & what you have got coming up
  • What the goals of your training sessions are (e.g. quality or recovery)
  • What opportunities you have to eat around training sessions
  • What your energy levels are like
  • How hungry and full you are before, during and after eating
  • What you really feel like eating
  • How satisfied you are after eating
  • Any other emotions or triggers that might be influencing your food choices besides hunger such as fatigue, boredom, procrastination, etc.

Tuning in mindfully to each of these cues and teaming them with your sports nutrition goals gives you far more chance of successfully fuelling your active body with exactly what it needs at that point in time.

To book an appointment or find out more about Ali please visit her website.