I had more struggle with, and still struggle with from time to time (I certainly did over Christmas and New Years), getting my nutrition in line with my goals. I finally started to make some changes when a beachbody coach, Mandy Horan, asked me to ask myself what I wanted more: six pack abs or that cookie. Turns out I wanted the abs more. Now I look at food as something that can either get me to my goal or that can obstruct me from that goal.
Ask yourself: will this food (insert the food you’re about to put into your mouth here) help get me to my goal or hinder me from getting to my goals?
You can’t just want it, you have to do it. Lots of people want a visible six pack, but if they really wanted it, they’d be working to get it; that means changing their eating habits; NOT eating crap and exercising more, or harder, wondering why they still have all that belly fat. The only way to get something like that is to work at least as hard on your nutrition as you do in our workouts. You have to, I’ll explain.
Food IS, IT IS more important than exercise. If you’re like me, you have a family, job, side projects, and only have to time to exercise once a day, and it can be kind of mindless at times. Turn your brain off; push as hard as you can; one hour later, you’re finished having burnt X number of calories. That’s only one part of good total body health. You can exercise as hard as you want in that hour, but if you eat bad, unhealthy food, you will never reach your goal weight or body image, and your insides will not be as healthy as they could be. (Just go get your blood tested; have your doctor talk about the results; your blood doesn’t lie, and eating unhealthily will give you results you don’t want to hear.) If your weight is stagnant lots of people start to think, I’m working out all the time, six times a week, why am I not losing that last bit of fat around my guts, or why can’t I drop these last few pounds? I definitely thought like that! It’s because you are not eating healthily. Plan and simple. I don’t care how much working out you do, if you want to be HEALTHY, you have to eat HEALTHILY. If you want to be fit, strong, athletic, agile, etc. You have to EXERCISE. But if you want to look like a runway model or have that six pack abs, but more importantly, if you want complete body health, you have to do BOTH: EAT HEALTHILY and EXERCISE!
I went off on a tangent in that last paragraph, to get back on track: exercise, for most people, happens once a day. Eating, for most people, happens, minimally three times a day. That’s two more times a day you’re eating over exercising. Unlike exercise where it can be mindless, eating should never be a mindless thing. If you choose to not think about food, it’s much easier to eat unhealthily, as those are the easy options in our society. Or stuff your mouth with mounds of Peanut M&M’s (my Achilles heel) or potato chips during TV time. If you are thinking about your food, you can plan ahead, and probably, ideally, make your meals in advance. That way there is no question about what you’ll be eating, because you’ve already prepared it, and is ready for consumption. Getting yourself to think about your food, and what you’re putting in your body is a great step to eating healthily on a regular basis.
I’m not saying you can’t have your ice cream, cookies, burgers, or any other junk food; if you want it, go ahead and eat it; but you should know that type of food is not in line with your goals, and should be rarely be eaten.
(Subconsciously, I know everyone knows this, but eating right: it’s hard work. Sometimes I choose the cookie, most times I don’t.)
Here’s an example (and something I actually follow) for eating:
Some of the information below is not what I follow anymore; please refer to this post about my current thoughts on food; (Updated 22 Feb 2013).
As you lose weight, your body will need less calories to keep it going; so be aware of that if you are still eating the same amount of food you ate when you were 20 or 50 pounds heavier. You need food to fuel your body, so you don’t want to eat too few calories, otherwise you won’t have enough energy to get through the day. If you eat often enough (2 big meals in a day let’s say, lunch and dinner) your body goes into fat storing mode to make sure it has enough stored food to get through the day and to the next meal. Obviously, I’m not a nutritionist, but these are the things that have worked for me; and I hope that they can help you.
By the way, Happy New Year!