Although it is true that we should reduce dietary fat during weight loss, particularly to ensure that we get enough carbohydrate and protein,athletes should by no means attempt to follow a diet that is nearly fat free. The main reason is because humans like fat. It tastes good and allows us to enjoy eating,even when we are trying to drop a few pounds. If we deprive ourselves of fat by eating the bread without the olive oil or having the raisins without the walnuts, we may be setting ourselves up for an “I can’t stand the deprivation any longer” binge.That said, however, athletes also need to recognize that a substantial amount of research suggests that it is easier to overeat fat-containing foods.
Therefore, you should continue to include small amounts of smart fat choices—nuts, seeds, flavorful oils, full-fat soy products, and strongly flavored cheeses—in your daily diet, but cut back on fat-containing foods, such as chips, crackers,fried tofu, or any food that triggers the “I have to eat the whole thing” effect. Infact, if you have a binge food, such as ice cream, chocolate, or cashews, avoid bringing them into your house or keeping them in your desk drawer, or purchase them only in very small packages.
Include Fruits, Vegetables, Vitamins, Minerals, and Energy-Dense Foods
When you restrict your energy intake, you increase your chance of taking in inadequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. You can avoid the low-vitamin and-mineral trap if you continue to eat nutrient-dense fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables—without limits. These foods are also high in soluble and insoluble fibers, which may promote satiety. Athletes who struggle in their decision about which foods to eliminate or reduce to create a calorie deficit may want to emphasize low-sugar, low-starch vegetables such as carrots, cooked and fresh leafy greens, onions, tomatoes, and parsnips and cut back on fruit juice and starchier vegetables. Athletes who restrict energy may also want to consider taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement even though it is typically only imperative for those consuming less than 1,200 calories a day.
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