i am a nutrition coach and i teach clients to feel better by changing what they eat. i help them with balancing blood sugar with eating regularly spaced meals, cutting back on carbohydrates or adding more protein, or adding vegetables to their meals. the key is explaining what needs to be done so the client understands it well enough to do it fairly well in the next few weeks until out follow up session.
in the 8 years i have been working with clients, there is one suggestion i make that is commonly misunderstood. i do not know why yet, but i have noticed that when i suggest some to cut back on their carbohydrate intake, they go to the extreme and eliminate them completely. so they went from a carbohydrate and sugar rich meal to an almost Atkins type of meal with only a protein and maybe a fruit. sometimes that is perfectly acceptable but if your whole day consists of just a fruit here and there, i am sure you will be low on energy and feeling pretty lousy to start.
this is what happened recently with a client. he was eating breakfast which usually was 8 oz vanilla yogurt (sweetened with almost 20 g sugar), a cup of granola, a fruit and a glass of orange juice. this was definitely a carbohydrate rich meal which will cause a big blood sugar spike. he would feel great for a couple of hours and then the blood sugar would plummet and he would be tired, cranky and irritable. he could not concentrate at work and craved caffeine, sugar and usually wheat based treats – bagels, pretzels, scones, muffins or the like. i suggested he cut back on the granola to half a cup, switch to plain yogurt or even goat yogurt, and then eliminate the orange juice as that is like liquid sugar. he agreed and said he understood. it made sense! he was able to make it thru that morning on the coffee he drank but then was starving for lunch.
i talked to him a few days later and he had changed his breakfast, but not how i had suggested. he went to eggs in the morning with a piece of fruit. and mid morning snack had some chicken with a piece of fruit. by his lunch time swim, he had no energy and complained he had the worst swim ever! could not keep his intensity nor was he feeling good. he just felt lousy! i reviewed his food logs and suggested he add back some of the carbohydrates he eliminated. for an athlete, you definitely still need carbohydrates especially if you intend of keeping intensity in your workouts.
lesson learned by me, too. not all clients hear everything i suggest even when i provide meal plans and ideas. they may misinterpret or hear only part of what i said. i never suggest to eliminate carbohydrates although i do suggest to limit them or change the type of carbohydrate from grain to root vegetable. i need to be more clear and definitely check in to make sure they are on track!