I’m all about healthy living and anything that encourages people to get up off the couch. But I am not a fan of trends that go to an extreme–extreme eating restrictions, extreme running, extreme lifting, etc. And I kind of feel that 2013 perhaps saw more of this than was healthy, or it least it seemed that way to me. With that in mind, here are a few of the trends that I’d like to see less of in 2014:
- Unnecessary gluten-free diets–I know I’m going to get backlash here, but…people, it’s gotten out of control. SO many runners/triathletes have adopted this lifestyle. The reality is that only about 6 percent to 7 percent of the population truly has gluten sensitivity,and this post is not aimed at those folks. But if you take a look around at the healthy living blogosphere these days, you’re going to see a much bigger percentage of folks cutting gluten out of their diets. Why this has caught on like fire I’m not quite sure but it certainly is not helped by the fact that anti-wheat/grain books are flooding the marketplace right now. I know everyone and their brother claims their GI systems feel so much better/they have much more energy, etc., when adopting a gluten free diet, but the stats just don’t support so many people needing this change. I truly feel that the bottom line is this: much of the foods that contain gluten are those that are highly processed, and those are not foods that make us feel good. Get rid of the processed stuff and you’re bound to feel better. Grains are not always the enemy and can in fact offer plenty of great nutrition. Don’t jump on the GF bandwagon unless you have been medically diagnosed with a sensitivity. You can read up more on the restrictive diet bandwagon here on my RD friend Becky’s blog, by the way.
- Extreme pregnancy fitness–Another rabbit hole, but here I go. I think we’ve gotten a bit carried away with cheering on the ever-more-fit pregnant woman. Let me say, I ran all the way through both pregnancies, so I’m very supportive of pregnant women staying fit. But–I think we’re starting to glorify the extremely fit preggo example and I’m not so sure this is a good thing. Staying fit is one thing, but taking it to a level of competition–who can be the fittest pregnant woman–just kind of turns my stomach. Again, social media and pictures of very pregnant women doing very intense workouts fuels this fire. For nine short months, let’s support healthy, fit pregnancies, but let’s not create an environment where women try to outdo one another while pregnant. The same goes for the first post-partum months. Maybe dialing back a bit on the sideline cheering for who can lose the baby weight the quickest is something to consider.
- More miles, more marathons–It’s all over Instagram, our blogs, our other platforms. I’m as guilty as the next here, but I do think we are getting carried away with our inspiration coming from who can run the most miles/complete the most marathons. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–I don’t think we are built to sustain, long-term, all those miles and all those marathons and ultras. Right now, bodies may be holding up with all that mileage and racing, but extremes do catch up to us down the road. Let’s take a more long-term approach to things and keep the extreme stuff a little more in check. We all probably got started because we wanted to lead healthier lifestyles so let’s do that. More is not always more.
So there you have it–my opinionated take on three trends that dominated 2013. I think it all goes back to the simple tenet that moderation is key, in all areas of life.