It’s hard to wrap your mind around nutrition in 2017, as there is so much conflicting information out there. To help you out a bit, I have written this article outlining a few things that you should do and shouldn’t do in regards to eating healthy. By incorporating these habits, it will be a lot easier to reach your health and fitness goals.
If you have ever tried counting calories for an extended period of time, you know that it’s very time consuming and can be frustrating. There are many reasons why counting calories is not the best way to reach your goals. First and foremost, 500 calories of good food is not comparable to 500 calories of bad food. This is because your body will be able to utilize nutrient dense foods better than it can nutrient deficient foods. Your body will store poor quality food as fuel for later use (body fat). Furthermore, everybody metabolizes calories at a different rate based mostly on their genetics and their body type. Blood sugar regulation is more important than calorie intake. Eating foods that cause blood sugar spikes and crashes cause you to gain weight even if the calories are low.
Don’t be scared of the word “fat”. Healthy fats can actually help you lose weight. In most cases, in low fat and 0 fat products, the fat is replaced with sugars and fillers. The sugars or other unwanted ingredients are added to these products to lower the fat percentage. Fats can regulate blood sugar and help you absorb starchy carbohydrates more slowly. Healthy fats are also the main building blocks of vitamins A, E, and K as well as testosterone and estrogen and help to transport them throughout the body. Doing a low-fat diet can actually backfire and push you further away from your goals.
Everything in moderation may work for some but for the majority it is used as an excuse. Everything in moderation means different things to different people and there is no way to make sure you are keeping it under control. Other variations of this include: everything is bad in some way or another, too much of anything can kill you, I wouldn’t be able to give up my favorite junk food. Let me tell you, you can give up the junk. It might be hard for the first week or two but after that time is done with, you won’t crave those sorts of foods anymore. What you are currently experiencing is an addiction to sugar/carbs/msg. Once you have it completely out of your system you will notice you won’t have bad sugar crashes, your headaches will be reduced dramatically, and your joints will feel so much better.
Almost all diseases are either made worse by or created by having too much inflammation in the body. A few diseases that are more typically related to high amounts of inflammation are arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In order to prevent yourself from getting one of these diseases or if you have one and you want to improve it’s symptoms, it is very important to eat foods that help reduce inflammation in the diet. Inflammation from food comes from a few different places: foods that are high in omega 6, artificial colours, artificial flavors, preservatives, and sensitivities. Eat foods that are high in omega 3’s such as fish, vegetables, fruits, sprouted seeds, and wild meats to help counter-balance the amount of omega 6 that we get in our diets. Avoid processed foods and try to make as much as possible from scratch. People have been known to completely go off of their medications due to switching to an anti-inflammatory diet
Fruit=sugar. Fruit may have more micronutrients than other sources of sugar but be aware that sugar comes in many forms. You can get all the necessary vitamins from other sources such as vegetables, seeds, and nuts. For example, an avocado has more potassium than a whole banana yet has next to no sugar in it. Try to stick to 1-2 fruits per day at the most. If you are actively trying to reduce your weight, only eat simple sugars such as fruit around your workouts, so that your body will use the sugars rather than storing them. If you are going to eat fruit, we recommend green apples (lower in sugar) or dark berries (high in antioxidants).
We know that your body is much more complicated than calories in versus calories out. That is why two comparable people who eat the same number of calories can be drastically different weights. So, instead of counting calories, you should count macronutrients. Macronutrients are the protein, carbohydrate, and fat components of anything you eat. In general, North America as a whole over-consumes carbohydrates. We are told to eat carbs for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and three snacks every day. This would be perfect if the carbs that we were choosing were leafy greens and coniferous vegetables, but we often opt for the starchier options such as breads, pastas, and other foods that make our bodies work on overdrive.
Moderate to high carb diets can be great for athletes and bodybuilders, but if you are like most people who work out 2-3 days per week but are otherwise sedentary, this is way too many carbs. Take a day to count exactly how many carbs you eat and you will be surprised to see how many you eat in comparison to other foods. Cut back on your carb intake to lose weight and when choosing which carbs to eat, try to have as many vegetables as possible, occasionally eat low-glycemic fruits such as green apples or berries, and even less often eat moderate-glycemic foods such as sweet potato, turnip and radishes.
It’s a fairly well known fact that vegetables these days do not have the same nutrient content that they used to. This means that you need to eat a lot more to get the same effect. Organic vegetables from a farmer’s market tend to be much richer in nutrients because they are less processed and grown in better soil. Eating organic also helps to avoid pesticides. Pesticides (translated to “pest – to kill”) are poisons that have been deemed consumable within a reasonable amount. If you are trying to optimize your health, any amount of poison is too much. When you eat pesticides your body has to work harder and decide the best way to process them. One of the ways that your body deals with the extra toxins from the pesticides is to store it in your body fat. Your body can even gain extra body fat in order to store more toxins and keep your body safe from the poison. Certain fruits and vegetables absorb more pesticides than others.
As we just discussed in the last paragraph, Toxins are stored in your fat cells. This goes for the animals that you eat as well. If the animal you are eating has eaten toxic foods and has been injected with toxic (as far as the animal’s body is concerned) medications, you are also eating those toxins when you eat the animals fat. That said, consuming animal fats can have many benefits if the animal was raised without the use of antibiotics and hormones, as well as being fed a grass fed diet (free from pesticides). If you cannot buy pasture raised grass fed meat, then opt for the leaner cuts of meat and add some sort of high quality fat to it when you eat it, such as avocado or grass fed butter.
Work on building a healthy mindset and habits that work towards your goals. The most important thing you can do is realize which habits are holding you back. Recognizing that you have bad habits is the first step to changing them. If you realize that you need to eat something sweet every time you drink a coffee, then try swapping out your coffee for a tea, and build a new habit.
Talk positive about the present not just the future. Appreciate where you are and that you are taking the steps to a new healthy you. Set your goals as if you have already accomplished them. Instead of saying, my goal this winter is to lose 20 pounds and learn to enjoy exercising, tell yourself that you already do enjoy exercising and as a result you will lose 20 pounds. Setting goals for the future is a reminder that you aren’t there yet and can hold you back. Re-examine the way you think about your goals.
The absolute best thing you can do for your diet is to plan ahead. Make a list of your favorite healthy recipes (or find some on Pinterest) and start to slot them into your weekly planner. Plan for breakfast (unless you are intermittent fasting), lunch, and dinner. To make this easier on your time and wallet, plan to cook 2-3 times the portions that you will eat in that sitting. If you batch cook, you can fill out a decent amount of your weekly meal plan with leftovers and save yourself the hassle of cooking a whole new meal every day. When you have finished your carefully planned list, start to write out all of the ingredients that you will need for the week and go shopping. Buy everything on your list and nothing else. By following your plan, your grocery bill will be lower, you will never get stuck trying to think of what to make, you will be less likely to cheat on your diet, and you will see quicker results.
I have worked with many people through the years and have helped them make some pretty amazing lifestyle changes. If you want to know more about how to improve your nutrition, please feel free to contact us with your questions.
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