Most everyone I meet wants to know what the deal is with the new diets that have popped up. The diets keep coming and going and year after year I tell them all the same thing…the foundation of a good nutrition program has never and will never change. It can be said in a sentence, yet, everyone keeps looking. Here it is: Eat several, small, balanced meals spaced evenly throughout your day. It is the key to creating a healthy, fat-burning metabolism. Most people do not even eat three meals a day. In fact, the national average is just under two meals per day. Now let’s clarify. All the crap we ingest does not count as “food”. I am talking about real food and when it comes to eating real food, Americans, in particular, are the worst. We are starving yet eat more than anyone. The fact is, eating so little signals your body that you are starving. In response, the body sets up fat deposits so it has something to eat when you do not. You will notice these deposits growing on your belly, butt, legs, lower back and the back of the arms. The reality is most people and audiences I talk to and work with are "starving themselves FAT”. It is strange, even though many of you have heard it on your favorite talk-show, read it in your favorite magazine and have seen it on every news program you still STARVE your body into making you fat. Let us look again the sentence again, in detail, and explore what, experts agree, is the correct, healthy way to eat… Here it is again… Eat several, small, balanced meals spaced evenly throughout your day. What is several? All correct diets and every expert will agree that the frequency of eating is THE foundation to metabolism. Consistency is the key to effectiveness. You must not miss meals. Eating frequently boosts your metabolism and helps to drop off some of the blubber your body has stored. What is small? I used to recommend a specific way to calculate your proper caloric intake. The only problem was no one ever stuck to it. It was not practical. A good rule of thumb is to keep food portions to about the size of your palm. When eating out, I will often advise people to split the meal in half…eat half and save the other one for later. This sounds hard but your body will adjust to the portion size quickly and you will not be hungry. Besides, you will be eating again in just a few hours if you are following the rule. What is balanced? Almost every meal should consist of three things…Protein, Starchy Carbohydrates and Vegetables/Fruits Let touch on the details or what these foods are: What Is Protein? Here is a very quick biology lesson: Amino Acids make up protein. Protein makes up basically everything in your body. In fact, the only thing our body has more of than protein is water. It really is as simple as that. Protein is the building block of our whole body - muscles, tissues, organs, hair, nails, etc. These are all made up of protein. If you do not have enough protein in your body, you CANNOT function properly or build muscle. The body needs to break protein down into amino acids in order to build muscles. So, no matter how much you work out - if you do not have protein - you will not gain the lean, fat-burning muscle you want. Another important point to remember is that every time you work out you are tearing down muscles and then rebuilding them. Protein is necessary to repair and rebuild your muscles, in addition to everything else. So people who exercise need even more protein What is a Carbohydrate? "Carbs" are the energy source for your body. Many of the new "low carb diets" are getting the attention of those trying to lose weight. While they can be somewhat effective in the short term they do not make a lot of sense for the long term. Most of the time people who use a low carb diet strategy end up gaining back all the weight and then some. You must exercise and be active therefore you must eat carbs. It is important to understand the 3 types of Carbohydrates Starchy Carbohydrates (pasta, rice, potatoes, etc..) Starchy carbohydrates are extremely dense in calories so you have to be extra careful with your portion sizes. These foods are packed with energy. Fibrous Carbohydrates (Vegetables): The micro and macronutrients in vegetables are vital to the proper function of your body. Leafy green and non-starchy, vegetables are what we call fibrous carbohydrates. Simple Carbohydrate (fruits): These nutrient-rich foods are crucial. The vitamins and minerals feed and support our body's functions. What is spaced evenly throughout your day? From the time you wake up until the time you go to bed at night, eat 4 to 6 meals, which should work out to around 3 to 4 hours between each meal. Just do it Nike says. The three meals a day system is not even being taught anymore. It was wrong and its time for us all to face it and change.
Next step: Get started
If you'd like to stop stressing over the details of meal prep and find a way to get control of your food choices while creating a healthier lifestyle, check us out at Power 3 Fitness Coaching. Now go eat.