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Nutrition Principles

Feb 5, 2013

It’s February: Do You Know Where Your New Year’s Resolutions Are?

That’s right. Time flies. For some of us February means Valentine’s Day and a box of chocolates, But, for most of us it’s the month to check in and see if we are still keeping our New Year’s resolutions. Realistically, many folks may not even be able to remember what their 2013 resolutions were. We’ll bet it had something to do with eating healthy?

That was an easy guess because “better nutrition” makes the “Top 10 Resolutions List” every year for most Americans. But, why?

Eating is something that we do multiple times a day. The quality and quantity of our meals has the power to change how we feel, look, and perform. Eat the wrong foods and your physique and mood will soon suffer. Bad nutrition usually translates into a bad day. We’ve all been there.

We have a super fast way to get you recommitted to your nutrition resolution like it was January 1st. Fitness Together’s 4 Food Principles are simple to follow. This makes them easy to stick to, like successful New Year’s resolutions should be.

#1. Keep It Real.

The first and most important principle is to emphasize real, natural, and whole foods. This means that for the majority of people meals of sweet potatoes, pork chops, and side salads will be infinitely better than drinking a concoction of protein powder and glucose syrup. Real foods signal to your brain that you are full. It’s nearly impossible to overeat real foods. Imagine eating 2 pounds of chicken breasts and 1 bag of apples. It’s not going to happen because your brain will signal “I’m full” pretty quickly into the meal. The rule is that you get fuller much faster on real foods. In contrast, you really never fill up on processed foods. You could easily eat 2 pounds of M&M’s and 1 bag of potato chips and still keep looking for more “food” to chow down. Candy, chips and cookies are processed foods and they are missing the much needed “I’m full signals” that tell your brain, “Put down your fork. You’re full.” Also, like putting bad gas in your car, putting these processed foods in your body will fill your digestive tract with unhealthy chemicals and compounds leaving you feeling lousy and chronically inflamed. If you want to lose weight, processed foods never satiate your hunger the way real foods do. So, there are many “real reasons” to “keep it real.”

#2. Know Your “Carb-Activity” Level.

Carbohydrate foods are often touted as either magical or deadly. In truth, they are neither. Like most things, the individualized approach is best. We often think of carbs as bread, cookies, and muffins which are unhealthy choices but fruits, vegetables, and potatoes are also carbohydrate options which are much healthier and more nutritious. For people who are relatively sedentary at work and don’t move much throughout the day, a high carbohydrate diet filled with starchy foods like potatoes and rice isn’t beneficial because you won’t be using all the carbs you consume so the extras turn into pounds on your body. Sedentary people do best to follow a lower-carb plan. For people who are active at work, or are athletes, and/or train with very hard high-intensity workouts, carbohydrates are a definite requirement to help keep your energy levels up and avoid performance dips. So active people should add more carbohydrates from natural sources when training hard and they should eat slightly less on rest days. But, even the most sedentary person still needs at least 100 grams a day. This can easily be met by eating fruits and vegetables to satiety with some smaller amounts of other starchy carbohydrate sources like rice and potatoes. Be mindful of your “carb-activity level” and fuel yourself accordingly.

3. Don’t Drink Your Calories.

This is a “double” Fitness Together Food Principle for people trying to lose pounds. First, with the advent of blenders, juicers, smoothie bars and protein powders there are more and more options to drink your calories than ever before. This is problematic for a few reasons. If you are focused on losing body fat, liquid foods don’t send the same satiating signals to your brain as real solid foods do. So, when drinking your meals you just won’t get the message you are waiting for; that you are full. Drinking meals can cause overeating and quickly lead to you exceeding your daily caloric goals. Second, drinking alcohol is a quick way to pack on lots of pounds. Drinking liquor never sends a message to your brain that you are full. You just don’t hear people pushing themselves away from the bar exclaiming, “I’m full!”

4. Sleep Like a Baby.

At first it may not seem like your sleep habits should have any significant impact on your nutrition. But they certainly do. Good sleep is highly critical to good nutrition and is often an overlooked piece of the fat loss and health enhancement equation. The most important rule is to get between 7-9 hours of sleep in a pitch-black room that is comfortably cool. Any disruption in your sleep can cause uncontrollable food cravings. And, you know your food cravings won’t be for fresh fish. You are more prone to end up on a sugar roller coaster that’s hard to get off of. Research has repeatedly proven that people who don’t sleep enough also often eat more food during the day. While sleeping only 4 hours, women have been shown to overeat the next day by 329 calories and men by 263 calories. That’s about an extra sugar-frosted cake donut a day. Even missing only one night of sleep can immediately suppress your satiety signals leaving you on the prowl wanting more food than your body needs. High quality sleep is critical for fat loss. Good sleep immediately translates into having good energy to take on the next day.

Here’s the good news. You are only 30 days into 2013. You still have another 236 days ahead of you to stick to your resolutions. And if you do, you will for sure see results much sooner than that!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us at Fitness Together Lake Forest. We can successfully individualize your training plan and nutrition for long-term successful results. Call or email us today for a free individual consultation and training session in the studio.


Article Resources:

Lack of deep sleep may increase risk of type 2 diabetes

Sleep, Appetite, and Obesity—What Is the Link?

This article is general information and not intended to be construed as medical or nutritional advice. For specific information regarding your own medical or nutritional needs or before implementing nutritional programs first contact your physician


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