What does it mean to have good nutrition? Is it measurable data such as weight and bodyfat? Does it mean weighing and measuring every single meal? Or Is it not choosing fast food? Or it could be real simple things like having “an apple a day” or taking the bread off of your subway sandwich. You have probably heard all of these tactics. You may have even tried a few. Perhaps they have or have not worked for you or someone you know. But regardless, you have heard some type of nutrition information in your life. Most of it coming from not so reputable sources, but I bet you don’t remember where you heard it anyway. Or the infamous “they” always has all the answers. For example:
“You know “they say” eating eggs can lead to heart disease” or
“they” say eating carbs after 6:00pm is bad for you”
Problem is…..no one actually knows who “they” is. I don’t let “they” decide anything for me.
Then there is the old info passed down from generation to generation. This is the stuff we get from our parents and grandparents that never really made since when we were younger, often included keeping us from doing something we wanted. But for some reason we continue the pattern and will tell our children the same. (dogma anyone?) “don’t swim for ½ an hour after eating” or “citrus fruits after lunchtime make you wet the bed” WTF?
And its almost impossible to avoid the media. Even if you don’t buy into any of the news, constant headlines, articles, posts, and news about foods that make you fat and the newest quick fat loss diets will eventually begin to stick in your mind. I mean I can only read or hear about “Brangelina” so many time before I start to believe it right? Point proven……..
But here’s an exercise to do. Write down everything you think you know about nutrition. What does it take to look better, feel better, and be healthy? What does it mean to “eat healthy” or “clean-eating”? Write it all down and then go through the list and try to remember where you retained that info from and provide some evidence that it has actually helped you achieve or maintain a healthy body and lifestyle. Some of it may have value………but most wont. The faster we realize that we need some help, the faster we can start reaching our goals. Endless amounts of times I’ve heard “I eat clean” or a list of things they don’t eat like “bread, cookies, sodas, etc.” but this person still is several pounds overweight. Obviously you either not doing what you say OR the knowledge you have is skewered slightly at the least.
Here’s the point:
- Most of what folks know about nutrition was taught to them by people who know little or nothing about nutrition!
- And worse yet, most of that information gets hammered home without you even knowing it.
In my early days as a professional athlete I tried every diet possible. Some with great success and other not so much. Some made healthy adaptations to my body and aesthetics and some were downright dangerous. But as I progressed and began to really come in tune with my own body I learned that everyone is different. Different backgrounds, lifestyles, body types, metabolism, and even genetics plays a role here. By the time I had made the decision to be a health and fitness professional I had made the correlations and common themes of a successful diet. And had also found out the things that were not quite as important either. At least not as important as I had thought. As with a lot of things in life, the key it K.I.S (keep it simple). Here are the 5 rules for choosing a proper meal that I will always and forever follow to keep my nutrition in check.
Eat slowly and stop at 80% full
Many of us eat way to fast. At each meal we are expeting to eat to complete fullness. Unfortunalty this will always present challenges to leaness, performance, and health-regardless on the quality of food. This habit is critical in getting in tune with your bodys hunger cues, learing to slow down, and finishing at the right time (stopping before having to loosen belt)
2. Eat protein dense foods with each meal
Protein fuels our muscles and aids in repair. It is important for achieving your best health, body-composition, and performance. Having protein with each meal will help balance daily macronutrients boosting metabolism, improving your muscle mass, and reducing body fat.
3. Eat vegetables with each meal
Science has demonstrated that in addition to the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) packed into vegetables, there are alos important plant chemicals (phytonutrients) that are essential for optimal physiological functioning.
4.For fat loss, eat majority of dense carbohydrates after exercise
In other words, you want to eat bread, rice, pasta, and other sugary foods? Then you have to earn them. It’s not the best choice. But if your set on it, make sure you work out first. This will aid in faster metabolism and use carbs to recover from workout instead of storing as bodyfat.
5. Eat healthy fats daily
Fat does not make you fat! In fact about 30% of our daily caloric intake shold be coming from healthy fat sources. And more importantly, a well balanced amount of all 3 types of fat. Saturated fat and Poly and mono unsaturated fat all have their place in our diets.
Each one of these rules is a habit, and science says it takes 2 weeks of consistent practice to develop a habit. As we progress through this 12 week nutrition course we will spend 2 weeks focused on achieving one habit at a time. Of course once a habit is established we will continue to implement it but our focus will shift to the next habit. Upon finishing the course you will be able to implement, prepare, and consume a perfect balanced nutritional profile. The results will be a happier, healthier, and more nutritionally prepared person.
*download for 5 habits cheat sheet here
Hang on fridge or keep close by for meal selecting moments.