We are constantly bombarded with the latest and greatest nutrition and diet plans, the latest books, the latest scientific information; all of which claim to be the one perfect program for every person on the planet. . One thing I know for sure is that it’s all too much information for the average person who is looking to be healthy, live at a happy weight, and have a fit lifestyle without 24/7 focus!
I believe we are making it all too complicated! Eating for health & vitality, to lose body fat, to become energized, to overcome cravings and such looks different for every person. The human body is simply amazing; it is also complex. With every human being and every disease, disorder, genetic predisposition and body type there are certain “rules” to learn in order to be healthy, fit and full of energy. Add to the equation specific goals in terms of strength, cardiovascular health, muscle development and you have literally thousands of variations to a “diet plan.”
Although I am a Personal Trainer and Nutrition Counselor I don’t consider myself part of the bodybuilding or athletic groups. I am a 47-year-old female that is living in menopause and living with rheumatoid arthritis. I am married, I run a business, I run a household, I have doctors appointments, I have certifications and continuing education classes to constantly stay on top of, I have a business to promote and build, I have a fitness forum to maintain, I have a full client base that I need to follow up with daily and ensure they know they are more to me than just 2 sessions per week. I have my personal exercise time to fit in daily, I need to eat for health & energy not just to lose body fat or build muscle or run faster or jump higher. I need to get in exercise 5-7 days a week to stay ahead of the mid-life bulges and gravity! I need to be a good role model physically for my clients, I need to stay centered and balanced so I need my down time for reading and journaling. I love to eat! I love food that makes me feel sluggish and makes me fat and I love good clean food, I love to cook and bake and experiment in the kitchen. I have family and friends and I too have 24 hours in a day.
When I look at the hours every year of my life that have spent on trying to find the magic diet, the magic exercise program (you know, the one that you only have to follow on Mondays) when I look at the time, energy and money that have been spent on this stuff I am overwhelmed. Feeding the mind is important, that’s why I don’t say “wasted time”, I say “time spent”. Taking time to read about the topic of “diets and supplementation” isn’t a waste unless I walk away learning nothing new about the subject or about myself. So what have I learned after all this “time spent”?
I have learned that anything and I mean ANYTHING that claims to be the only way – my way or the highway – the only real way to get a result is a red flag! In nutrition there are basics – beyond that you need to know your body, know how certain foods work with or against you and how to change it all based on your current health conditions and physical goals which are always changing by the way.
The basics, such a boring concept and yet the only way to begin.
Basic Nutrition 101
- If you know the difference between the produce aisle of your grocery store and the boxed/canned food isles you understand clean eating. Foods that are in their most natural state are clean.
An apple is found in produce isles, applesauce is found in the jar aisle and apple cinnamon honey buns are found everywhere in the store!
- If you understand that sugar is an addictive substance you’ll understand that the first week of avoiding sugar will leave you feeling worse than eating sugar!
I cannot tell you how many conversations I’ve had with people who say they can’t lose weight because they can’t stay away from sugar! They start a diet plan and 3 days later they feel terrible so they decide they CAN’T live like that. Let’s be realistic, you won’t be living “like that”. You are in DETOX! Detox sucks!
Any food/drug/substance that leaves you feeling like a strung out crack addict if taken away isn’t good for you! If I took away green beans or asparagus or lettuce from your diet you wouldn’t immediately go into fits of rage, angst and anxiety! Let me take away your pot of coffee, cigarettes, Hostess cup cakes, Oreos, or sodas and look out!
Starting to get the picture?
- If you understand that your inner body NEEDS the 3 nutrients (Protein, Carbohydrate, Fat) every day to function and rebuild itself, to ward off disease, to feel alive and be healthy, you will know what to eat.
If you don’t “get” what food is included in the nutrient groups I bet you can Google/Bing it, or look through one of your 50 diet books in the house! You can also make it super simple and go back to the 75 years old diet tip: Shop the Walls! That’s the produce, bulk grains, meats sections. It’s all right there! That your basic diet! You can even get my eBook if you really want some help….Those are tools to get the message out about the 3 nutrients we all need.
- If you get that a 250 pound man and a 150 pound woman cannot eat the same calories in a day you understand calorie restrictions.
If you sit down to a meal and you are with a member of the opposite sex you cannot eat exactly what they eat. One of you will have too many calories! – (Actually in today’s world both of you are probably eating too many calories!) It’s not a contest people and there is no prize for you ladies when you match your hubbies roll for roll! Ooohhh! There’s a visual to remember – If you ladies match your male counterparts roll for roll (bread) you’ll match his roll for roll (belly!)! I like that one!!
- If you log for a week what you currently eat (and you are either currently gaining weight or having no success in losing weight) you will know how many calories you need to cut.
Yes there is a scientific formula – yes it’s eventually a good tool to use but for Nutrition 101 you don’t have to understand it or even count the calories to lose weight!
Log the foods you eat every day for 7 days without trying to reduce anything. This is a picture of calories that are over your bodies needs to lose weight. The simplest thing to do is reduce the amount of those foods the next 7 days – you may even eliminate some of them altogether. There’s your caloric reduction. It may not get you the body you want but it will get you off the “gaining weight” cycle. Simple math. Now it does get tricky based on individual responses to certain types of foods but for 101 – that’s a good starter plan.
Remember years ago when Bob Greene was on Oprah and Oprah declared an “AHA” moment in her dieting quest? She said: I had an AHA moment and realized that I can’t eat past 7:30pm. Bob Greene (her Trainer) quickly added that 7:30pm wasn’t the magic time/number. He said its 2 hours before YOUR bedtime. The world went insane and once again took it all out of context. In a matter of 3 seconds of Oprah’s AHA statement the world stopped listening and never heard what the trainer said to clarify. I have clients to this day that bring up the 7:30pm cut off time for food. I’m not even a big believer in that food cut off anyway… It’s WHAT you eat if you eat after dinner. The problem is not the “eating itself” and then heading to bed .It’s WHAT you eat. Again…I dare anyone to prove that having raw veggie sticks just before bed is a sure way to gain weight or belly fat. My point here is that more than likely 90% of what you think you have read or heard is out of context.
So, if you’ve gotten this far in my soapbox nutrition rant I applaud you! You have hopefully had at least one AHA moment yourself. My goal today was simply to make you hit PAUSE on your brain. I want you to stop going in circles and I want you to stop telling yourself that you don’t know what to eat to be healthy. YOU DO! I know you do! Unless you have lived in a bubble you KNOW WHAT TO EAT! You may need further assistance developing a program that is suitable for your goals and body type and metabolism and current health but you do not need all that until you are living by the Nutrition Basics I’ve outlined. Everything else, all the details of your nutrition plans will be based on these basics!
MASTER THE BASICS! That’s the golden rule for success in school, in business, in golf, in tennis, in exercise, in life and in nutrition.