Our Approach To Healthy Eating, Nutrition, and Weight Loss Advice

At Marathon Handbook, when it comes to giving advice about nutrition, healthy eating, and weight loss, our editorial team does its best to analyze the full body of evidence to help you make safe and healthy choices.

We want to be fully transparent with our processes. 

We understand the paramount importance of reliable and credible information when it comes to diet advice, nutritional science, and weight loss practices.

In today’s digital age, the internet is flooded with a vast array of resources and voices, each claiming to be the definitive guide to how to lose weight and what to eat for “quick weight loss,” “muscle growth,” “fat loss,” “better health,” or a myriad of other physique and weight loss goals.

However, it’s critical to discern fact from fiction. 

The Internet Can’t Replace An Individualized Weight Loss Or Nutrition Plan: Our Disclaimer

While we pride ourselves on providing trustworthy guidance, it’s important to remember that our diet and weight loss guides are intended for information purposes only and are not taken as medical advice.

They should never replace nutrition plans or weight loss advice provided by a qualified medical professional, such as a Registered Dietitian (RD) or a medical doctor (MD). 

Furthermore, we often cover popular diet trends, fad diets for weight loss, or popular meal plans solely for informational purposes.

These diet and weight loss guides are not approaches to nutrition or weight loss that we would recommend for safe practices.

Rather, we want to be a comprehensive resource where you can read about popular diets or fad diets for weight loss to get unbiased information about how the diet program works and the pros and cons of the weight loss diet plan as written.

We try our best to provide safer alternatives and important contraindications for extreme diets often omitted by the creator or “guru“ behind said weight loss program.

However, we are not a medical resource. The internet is a powerful tool for education and guidance but cannot replicate the expertise and nuanced evaluation a qualified healthcare practitioner can provide.

A person smiling at their food.

Our Process Of Information Verification

Our commitment to providing accurate and evidence-based information starts with our verification process. 

Our team of experts, composed of certified nutrition coaches, running coaches, strength and conditioning coaches, and personal trainers, is dedicated to scrutinizing the latest research from the most recognized and reputable sources. 

We understand the importance and effect of adhering to a high standard of accuracy in the information we provide. 

Here’s a brief overview of our verification process:

1. Expert Oversight

Our guides are authored and reviewed by individuals with extensive experience in their respective fields. Our team’s collective knowledge ensures that the information we present is reliable and up-to-date.

2. Citing Reputable Sources

We source information from peer-reviewed journals, renowned medical institutions, and reputable sports science organizations. This commitment to using credible sources guarantees that the information you receive is rooted in scientific evidence.

If a study from a reputable source lacks depth or contains irregularities, we will do our best to highlight it and discuss what it means.

Each citation will be evaluated based on authority, accuracy, date of publication (prioritizing recent research), and acceptance by the industry.

Here are a few of the resources that we regularly use:

As well as many other reputable sources, such as those from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Heart Association, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

3. Regular Updates

The world of nutrition, health, diet, and weight management constantly evolves. 

As new studies emerge, we read them and regularly update our guides to reflect the most current research and best practices.

This ensures that our advice is in line with the latest industry standards.

A nutritionist showing a patient their meal plan.

General Recommendations For Diet and Weight Management

The diet, nutrition, and weight loss market is saturated with all sorts of diet plans, weight loss supplements, muscle-building supplements, meal plans, and so on.

Picking the best diet plan or separating nutrition facts from myths can become extremely daunting. 

Over my years working with clients as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach, IIN Health Coach, and UESCA-Certified Endurance Nutrition Coach, I have developed certain beliefs regarding dieting and nutrition best practices that are always evolving. 

Although nutrition recommendations or finding the “best diet“ will depend on the individual, some general principles should be followed. However, remember that individual cases can vary greatly. 

Here are some overarching recommendations to consider:

#1: Consult a Professional

In the world of nutrition and diet advice, reliable and safe information is paramount.

If it is at all possible, we highly encourage working with a nutrition professional to find the best diet plan for your goals and needs.

While the internet has some excellent nutrition resources and free diet plans, no diet plan will be more customized and effective for you than the experienced one-on-one guidance of a registered dietitian or nutritionist.

A variety of foods.

#2: Balance Is Key

Many weight loss plans are extremely restrictive. You might find a weight loss diet that eliminates entire food groups or severely restricts a certain macronutrient such as carbohydrates or fats.

Generally, our stance is that for most people, eating a balanced diet with adequate protein, fat, and carbohydrates from a wide variety of food groups is important. A diet that is too restrictive increases the risk of nutritional deficiencies, poor adherence, and disordered eating.1Schoeller, D. A., & Buchholz, A. C. (2005). Energetics of Obesity and Weight Control: Does Diet Composition Matter? Journal of the American Dietetic Association105(5), 24–28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jada.2005.02.025

‌#3: Don’t Do a Crash Diet

At Marathon Handbook, we do not support crash diets that claim to help you drop 10 pounds in two weeks or some other unreasonable amount of weight quickly.

Rather, our approach is that you should adopt a lifestyle diet that you can sustain for the long term that helps you reach your target weight.

Then, you can modify the caloric intake to maintain weight. Short-term diets don’t work in the long term and can be dangerous.2Müller, M. J., Enderle, J., Pourhassan, M., Braun, W., Eggeling, B., Lagerpusch, M., Glüer, C.-C., Kehayias, J. J., Kiosz, D., & Bosy-Westphal, A. (2015). Metabolic adaptation to caloric restriction and subsequent refeeding: the Minnesota Starvation Experiment revisited. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition102(4), 807–819. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.115.109173

‌#4: Eat Real Foods

Try to eat real foods that are true to the initial source rather than highly processed foods. Avoid “diet foods“ such as fat-free cookies. Instead, have a small serving of high-quality cookies made from real food ingredients.

A variety of healthy foods.

#5: Practice The 80/20 Rule

In a perfect world, we would all eat whole, natural, unprocessed foods 100% of the time, but this is generally not possible or sustainable.

Rather than striving for perfection, allow yourself to have the flexibility to enjoy foods that may not be “perfect“ for your diet plan.

Food should be enjoyable. Calories should not be “earned“ because you have exercised. We all deserve to eat and be nourished. We all deserve to enjoy our food without feeling guilty.

Diet culture perpetuates a weight stigma and demonizes calories or certain types of foods as being “bad foods.”

While excess body weight is associated with an increased risk of diseases and consuming ultra-processed foods all the time will increase your risk of poor health and weight gain, it is also important to understand that you should also have latitude in your diet and mindset to enjoy foods and feel good about your body without feeling guilt or shame. 

#6: Practice Patience But Experiment

If you have a lot of weight to lose, it’s going to take a long time to reach your goal weight. That is OK. You likely did not gain all of the excess body weight in one week or one month.

Similarly, you aren’t going to lose 20 pounds, 60 pounds, or even 10 pounds of weight in one week or month.

Be patient. However, keep an attitude of flexibility. If you have been trying a diet for a while and it doesn’t seem to be working, you may need to adjust what you are doing.

We are all individuals, and the best weight loss diet or the best diet for muscle building or whatever your goal is might be different for you than for a friend or someone else.

Vegetables and fruit.

Summary

Our commitment to verifying information from reputable sources and our team’s expertise ensures that our nutrition recommendations are grounded in the latest scientific research and best practices.

Our philosophy of diet and weight loss practices features a holistic approach that involves increasing caloric expenditure with safe exercise and creating a modest caloric deficit through a caloric restriction diet.3Fock, K. M., & Khoo, J. (2013). Diet and Exercise in Management of Obesity and Overweight. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology28(4), 59–63. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgh.12407

‌Your daily caloric deficit should not exceed 500-1000 calories per day through this combination for safe and sustainable fat loss unless otherwise guided by a medical professional.4Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, September 19). Losing Weight . Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/index.html

Prioritize eating natural, whole, unprocessed foods but don’t allow yourself to get overly obsessed with your diet plan such that you can’t enjoy food or feel guilt or shame for deviating from your general healthy diet.

Above all, consider working with a registered dietitian nutritionist to find the best diet for you. The advice we give is not intended to be medical advice. 

We are not registered dietitians. Rather, we hope to help athletes and everyday individuals find diets that support weight loss, muscle building, running performance, or other physical goals by offering generalized dietary advice. 

Finally, if you have concerns about disordered eating behaviors, you should seek mental health counseling or support from a national eating disorder hotline or foundation.

A doctor taking notes.

References

  • 1
    Schoeller, D. A., & Buchholz, A. C. (2005). Energetics of Obesity and Weight Control: Does Diet Composition Matter? Journal of the American Dietetic Association105(5), 24–28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jada.2005.02.025
  • 2
    Müller, M. J., Enderle, J., Pourhassan, M., Braun, W., Eggeling, B., Lagerpusch, M., Glüer, C.-C., Kehayias, J. J., Kiosz, D., & Bosy-Westphal, A. (2015). Metabolic adaptation to caloric restriction and subsequent refeeding: the Minnesota Starvation Experiment revisited. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition102(4), 807–819. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.115.109173
  • 3
    Fock, K. M., & Khoo, J. (2013). Diet and Exercise in Management of Obesity and Overweight. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology28(4), 59–63. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgh.12407
  • 4
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, September 19). Losing Weight . Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/index.html