Sunday, November 7, 2010
Nutrition For Dummies
So, you're exercising and you're trying to eat properly, but you can't wrap your brain around the whole nutrition concept. What foods should you buy? How do you plan out your meals? Is there an easy way to prepare healthy foods? If your mind is spinning out of control, and you're looking for some simple answers, look no further!
Back in September, I attended a Beachbody event where Mark Briggs, along with Tony Horton and Robert Hudgens, talked about simplifying nutrition. It all begins with the 80/20, so if you haven't read that post by me, start there first!
Nutrition is probably the one thing that most people consistently struggle with. This is for a variety of reasons...no time, it cost too much, it's too hard to follow the plan, etc. If you WANT to see results, you NEED to make this part work. Either you want it or you don't! Are you ready to make changes or not? If so, continue reading.
First of all, don't complicate things...you need to keep it simple...it's easier than you think! We all have busy lives. You CAN eat well even with a hectic schedule. Stick with fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. As mentioned in my 80/20 post, use Michi's Ladder to help you succeed. Stick with the foods on the top two tiers. Also, if you're a Beachbody Club member, you have access to the caloric needs calculator as well as a meal planner where you can edit items to make sure you're meeting your own individual needs (adjust it when needed). If interested in learning more about being a club member and joining my team, check out the advantages here: http://teambeachbody.com/signup?referringRepId=17347
Additionally, you can use a microwave. Nobody said you can't cook chicken or fish in your microwave! Just keep it simple...do what works for YOU! We're all different and quite frankly, chances are you're not going to like the same foods I do. I know I'm personally picky.
Now, there are some things you need to make sure to do. Number one, you MUST eat breakfast. Don't argue about how you hate it. I do too! In fact, I was skeptical about using Shakeology because I have stomach issues and as a single mom, I thought the price was expensive. Then I tried it. I LOVED IT!!! And the best part was it didn't affect my stomach at all...in fact, it cleared up the problems I was having! As I thought more about the cost, I figured $3 as a coach ($4 as a customer) per meal wasn't too bad. Would I be able to eat at McDonalds for $3 and be getting the same healthy ingredients? We all know the answer to that! So, I made sure to drink my breakfast in the form of a shake! Getting my vitamins without having to purchase pills to swallow (which I also dislike) is just the icing on the cake. Don't forget, it comes with a "bottom of the bag" guarantee too! Learn more about Shakeology and all of its benefits, read the ingredients information, or order at:
Here are some other ideas for meals to help get you started:
Now, are you eating enough? Most people do not correctly guess the amount of calories they're consuming. And while I think that Weight Watchers and other programs like it are great for teaching about portion control, they do not discuss the importance of monitoring carbohydrates, protein, and fats. So, a person can stay within his/her suggested caloric needs AND can monitor points, but he/she may NOT be getting the full benefit of eating properly. More weight could be lost from eating the right kinds of foods...WITHOUT starving yourself!!
Which brings me to the other side of the scale. Sometimes people stop eating or eat too few calories. There is even a local doctor who has his patients on a severely low calorie diet (about 500 calories per day). Anyone who I know that is on this, I STRONGLY suggest that he/she discontinue and share my reasons why. However, I hope that being under his supervision helps more than harms them. Eating too few calories will cause your body to go into a starvation mode. Basically, your body needs fuel...it turns to a source for that fuel when you're not feeding it. It begins to feed off muscle, but at the same time, it's storing fat. So, since muscle is denser than fat, you will appear to be losing weight. Sadly, when most of these individuals begin to eat normal meals (even healthy foods), their bodies do not know what to do with it. The individual gains weight back and it's MORE difficult to lose the next time because of metabolism changes.
So, how can you be sure you're eating the right foods? Personally, I began monitoring my food intake on a site called My Fitness Pal. It helped me to see patterns...both good and bad. I was able to tweak the meals to make sure I was properly getting the maximum benefits. Additionally, I learned with P90X about different phases. When I needed to burn fat, I was consuming 50% protein / 30% carbs / 20% fat. When I moved into a more balanced phase, it was 40% protein / 40% carbs / 20% fat and I enjoyed the extra carbs...more energy. If you feel like you're crashing during the day, you may need to increase your carb intake. Then you move into the last phase which is 20% protein / 60% carbs / 20% fat. Since I've finished that program, I primarily have stayed with the balanced phase. In My Fitness Pal, you can change your percentages to match your needs.
How often should you eat? Ideally, it should be every 2-3 hours and have 5-6 small meals per day. So, if you're at work, you will need to plan ahead. Set an alert on your phone if you need to. Get into a habit! Don't let yourself get into a tough spot...make sure you've got food packed or if you have a refrigerator at work, find a place to keep your healthy items. Again, your body needs fuel. Your metabolism suffers and slows down when you don't cause it to work all day long! The following analogy was shared and applies to this. Think about a campfire. Without wood (fuel), it will die out. It's just like your body. It too needs fuel (wood) and if you don't feed it, you'll bonk...this is especially true after sleeping all night...you NEED your breakfast!! You shouldn't workout on an empty stomach either...eat something light (1/2 a banana and a spoonful of natural peanut butter).
When should you stop eating? Stop eating at least 3 hours prior to bed. If you need a snack at night, have a protein shake. Protein is digested well while sleeping.
In the beginning, you'll obviously need to be more strict. However, you'll be thanking yourself as you watch yourself lose weight and gain control of your life! Hold yourself accountable. Set short and long term goals for yourself (30, 60, 90 days, 6 months, 1 year). Phase out the things that make you feel bad. Get the junk out of your house. If it's not there, you're not going to get into your car to drive to the store just to feed that craving (by the time you're in the driveway, you'll be thinking twice about the decision). Also, keeping the unhealthy snacks in your house are giving unhealthy options to your kids. Keep track of what you're eating in a journal or website like My Fitness Pal (there are others out there too). Track your food for at least 2 weeks. If it goes in your mouth, you need to write it down! Recruit a partner to help you keep accountable.
If you have any questions, let me know!