Exercise? That’s the Easy Part!

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).

  • First and foremost, make healthy choices and always be conscious about the food you’re about to consume. Will this food help you or prevent you from reaching your goals.
  • 5-6 Meals a day (don’t think of them as snacks). Eating this often revs up your metabolism helping you burn food more quickly.
  • Eat 2-3 hours apart. You’ll probably be full or at least satiated at the end of each meal, and READY to eat come the 2-3 hour mark.
  • Take your total calories that you’ll eat in one day and divide it by the number of meals you plan to eat. So if it’s 1500 calories a day (about what I eat) that’s 300 calories a meal (obviously assuming 5 meals).
  • Plan out each meal in advance by either making them or knowing where you’ll go to get your food (having a plan and sticking to it is much easier than trying to get your meals in on the fly with zero forethought; trust me).
  • 4th meal is all vegetables. This is A) a great way to get in your veggies, B) a great way to eat a BUNCH (no pun intended) of great healthy food with very little caloric value (meaning that you’ll be stuffed from eating a very low number of calories depending on the veggies you’ve chosen to eat).
  • Don’t buy junk food and DO NOT keep it in your house. The best way to avoid junk food is to eat only what you have in your house, and if you’re only eating food that you keep at your house, that means: if you don’t buy crap, you can’t eat crap. Avoid temptation by eliminating it from your sight.
  • Don’t skip breakfast. Breakfast is a compound word made up of two words Break and Fast. To Fast is to abstain from all or some kinds of food or drink. In this case we’re asleep so we aren’t eating anything. Your body is probably going into fat storing mode again. We want to break that by eating soon after we wake. This, essentially, jump starts your metabolism early in the day. If you skip breakfast, you aren’t turning on your metabolism fat burning engine.

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!

4 Comments on “Exercise? That’s the Easy Part!

  1.  by  Booyah

    Hey great info! Thanks! I realizing that as I get older eating right is most important… in my 20s I could eat whatever I wanted and work out like a crazy person… now I want to be healthy not just “look think” πŸ™‚

    •  by  chaz

      Thanks Booyah, I definitely could eat whatever I wanted at 16 and burn it off no problem. But I too, realize, that as I age I can’t do that anymore, and need to always think about what I’m eating and why I’m eating it.

  2.  by  Mandy Horan

    Great post and thanks for the shout out! I’ll definitely be sharing it with others πŸ™‚ Just a quick question – can you clarify your statement from #4 – eat only veggies in this meal (love that idea btw) how do you figure that you can potentially eat zero calories?
    And do you really only eat about 1500 calories a day? I think I would be a raging bitch if I ate only 1500 calories! I also love the comparison between exercise once a day and eating three times (at least) a day. It’s a great way to get people thinking and I’m sure you’ll be seeing that in a future email from me πŸ™‚ Keep up the great work – and seriously, I’d love to call YOU Coach T – you are already doing it πŸ™‚

    •  by  chaz

      Thanks Mandy, I’m still not sure about that coaching thing. πŸ˜›

      As far as 0 calories, perhaps I should rephrase that to “like” eating zero calories because there are quite a few veggies that have very low caloric densities for the amount of food you’re eating. Though, I swear I’ve seen zero calories on nutrition labels for things like pickles (I swear I have). Not that I’d want to eat as as many pickles as it took to fill me up. πŸ™

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