With all of the fad diets, belly wraps, and “lose 10lbs in 10 days” challenges out there , it’s no wonder why so many people are lost when it comes to Nutrition and figuring out how to fuel themselves the best.
There is an immeasurable amount of infographics, articles and posts in the health and wellness space that are complete oxymorons or just have absolutely no valid reasoning behind it such as “Carbs make you fat”.
But I digress. There is in fact an overload of great information that can be found through this wonderful place that we call the internet. There is information that is helpful and applicable to everyday life. Information that will actually help you to gain insight and knowledge of how to fuel yourself. However, there is also the same exact amount of information that would go against the previous claim. For every article there is another article waiting to claim something in the complete opposite direction. There are multiple diet plans that pose that they are the best, they are perfect and the ONLY way to be.
All of this information leaves us in the same exact position as to when we began: Ok , so… Where do I start?
Here’s my take on things.
How about we put our egos to the side and take the approach that is most CONSISTENT. No matter what plan your following :
Keto- if you don’t like carbs
WHATEVER it is… No matter what the “plan” is called it is inevitably going to come down to what allows you to be the most consistent. PERIOD
This is both understated and underemphasized when it comes to our dietary choices and how to fuel ourselves. Consistency is Key.
I have had multiple conversations with clients who state that they feel that they have either been too restrictive ( to the point that they are on par Monday through Friday, but then binge on the weekends) or just completely give up after one outing where they may have had an extra 300-500 calories.
IT’S OK. You didn’t fail, you didn’t ruin all of your progress, and you for damn sure didn’t disappoint me as your coach. It's called being human.
I would actually prefer that my clients didn’t strive for perfection when it comes to their nutrition. The reason being. You won’t enjoy “perfect”. Perfect sets unrealistic expectations and pressure on you as a client and that is unfair.
What is tangible is taking a more balanced approach to your choices. Shooting to be consistent 80% of the time!
Listen I get it, change takes time. Learning about yourself takes time as well. Nobody expects you to change everything overnight and neither should you.
So start here.
- Start tracking your calories -I know i know, another thing that you have to add on to the daily check list. But let’s be honest for a second. You wouldn’t sit to take the BAR exam and expect to pass with flying colors if you never studied Law before right? So why would you be able to change your eating habits without tracking? You need the data. You need tangle numbers to realize the actual amount of food that you are consuming each day.
No , you will not have to do this forever. You may get to a point in your journey, or where goals change (In fact you may have personal goals change multiple times over the course of a lifetime) and tracking may no longer be of importance to you. Don’t forget that is normal. However, by learning the proper amount of calories that your body needs to maintain your current health/ physique (maintenance) is crucial information to understand what adjustments need to be made in order to reach your goals.
Eyeballing for almost ANYONE who has never tracked before leads to overeating or being in a caloric surplus.
Why do you ask? Because without the basic knowledge of tracking/ weighing/ and actually seeing the amounts of food that equate to a given numerical amount for example:
1 Serving of Peanut butter compared to sticking in your spoon and hoping for the best
1 Tbsp of olive oil compared to just a small pour into the pan
6-8 Oz of Lean meat compared to a piece of…
1 Serving of Cereal compared to the “small bowl” in the cupboard
1 serving of nuts compared to a handful
You don’t have a basis or a guideline as to how much you are actually eating, which isn’t your fault at all. But it is your responsibility to learn what they look like so you can allow yourself more freedom as you become comfortable with your choices.
Tracking is always something to fall back on when you have certain goals in mind. On the flip side, it is also a great way to begin educating yourself just on how much you are actually consuming everyday.
It’s is a staple to holding yourself accountable and is a great first step.
- Protein- Make sure that you are getting enough. So why do we need protein?
We need protein for a multitude of reasons:
- Appetite control
- It is the building block of our muscular system
- Crucial in terms of fat loss and staying satiated
- Helps maintain blood sugar levels
Proteins are made up of BCAA or Branched chain amino acids. This is why you see commercials and advertisements for the flavored BCAA drink that is simply just water flavoring! It’s based on the premise that consuming these glorified water sweeteners will help build muscle faster because of the BCAA’s within. There studies that account for both, In my opinion stick to consuming whole sources of protein and save your money.
There are 9 essential amino acids that can only be received through dietary protein. These are used to help make our own proteins & hormones.
There are also Nonessential and Conditionally essential proteins as well but they can be made by the body thus I am only elaborating on dietary protein. That being said these proteins can be met from a myriad of dietary protein sources: Both Animal & Plant based
Chicken- ground, or cutlets
Turkey- ground or fresh from the bone
Beans and Legumes
Beef, Bison, Venison- ground or filets
Veggies - i.e Broccoli,
Pork- ground or filets
Seafood- Fish, Shellfish,
Fruits ( crazy I know)
Dairy- Yogurt, Whey Protein,
Deli / Canned Meat
All of these foods listed above will contribute to your overall protein intake for the day.
Protein is the most filling of the three macronutrients- protein, carbohydrates, and fats. It is key to make sure that we have adequate protein spaced in your meals/ snacks based throughout the day will allow you to feel satiated. This makes it much easier to assist you in staying on track. The reason that most people tend to fall off track is from hunger, so why not find foods that are more satiating for less calories right? If you stay fuller longer- this will lead to a decrease in mindless snacking. BOOM, then you can control your caloric intake! You see how they work together like shaq and kobe?
Adequate protein is necessary for each individual to stay on track, however each individual's amount of protein will vary based upon their separate factors. Generally speaking .7g- 1.5g of protein per lb of lean body weight is acceptable for most. Of course there are exceptions to the rule : Vegans, older Gen pop, or people who are generally more sedentary who can go even as low as .54 per lbs of current bodyweight.
There are certain extremes that are taken in regards to protein consumption, most of which are fueled by the bodybuilding world in the chase for hypertrophy ( muscle gain) . However you will find that falling within these ranges will set you up for long term success.
I currently consume about .7g-1g per lb of my current weight simply because I feel satiated and strong as well as energized to go throughout my day! It’s not that this is a perfect number set by a certain standard, but it is what works best for myself, my goals, and my body. You may be different. Remember, everyone is different.
Staying hydrated is a must in order to LIVE, let alone aiding in fat loss/ muscle gain or any other health oriented goal.
Water is a non negotiable to live a happy, healthy, and hydrated life. See what I did there.
That being said NO you do not need a “gallon of water a day” so don’t worry no need to save your milk jug. Logically , it wouldn’t make sense. Sally who is 5’1 does not require the same amount of water as Joey who is 6’2. Either Joe would be super dehydrated or Sally would be peeing quite a lot. Same concept of saying Carbs are evil and telling everyone they should have less than 30 carbs a day. It just wouldn’t work.
So, here’s a great guideline to shoot for. Drink around half of your bodyweight (in lbs) in ounces. So if you weigh 250lbs , you would shoot for around 125oz. This number can, of course, then be adjusted depending on activity level, climate, and how much you sweat.
Other general guidelines to gauge where you are in your hydration for the day are: Color of urine- I know , gross but true.
Shading scale is as follows:
Clear- you are very hydrated and you will be set for a few hours
Lemonade - you're good to go
Apple juice- Go grab two cups of water.. now LOL
Anything other than these colors we have deeper problems LOL . But any who, yes drink your H20!
Drinking water throughout your day will not only help with hydration, but let’s be honest, if you are constantly drinking water , by process of elimination , you won’t be drinking other calorie dense drinks instead. 2 for 1 special!
Water assists with these bodily functions as well:
- Supports organ function
- Supports muscle and tissue health
- Helps to cushion joints
- Effects energy and brain function 🧠
- Helps keep your bowels moving 💩
and so much more!
So I think it's safe to say water is important, so remember ..
AND DRINK UP!
All in all, none of us are wizards or geniuses when it comes to our nutrition. What I mean is most of these even basic principals are neither taught to us in school nor from our parents. The reason: Ignorance.
Your predecessors or parents most likely were unaware of this information as well, or simply did not put it into good use.
So, I'm challenging you to be different. Don’t allow lack of education or awareness to keep you from reaching your health goals.
Let’s be honest, of all goals, ones concerning health are non negotiable when it comes to the priority list.
Take care of yourself and your body.
Nourish yourself . Please.
You only get one body, treat it wisely!
And if you need further help , I am always here!