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!
Otherwise you could be adding “hidden” pounds year after year. It’s all common sense.
*I love how I can’t believe it’s not butter is the ad in front of the health videos.
Healthy eating is more important than exercising. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. Don’t get me wrong, I value exercise and do it at least six days a week. Exercise is essential to overall health and one should take the time to workout. But, I know that I’ll never reach my health goals if I eat unhealthily. I’m no doctor, nor a nutritionist, but even I, a laymen, know the difference between bad and good food: broccoli is better for you than a donut. We can all decipher that. But what choice will we make when presented with that option?
It was harder for me to turn around my eating habits than to start exercising regularly. There were a few things that helped create different eating habits in me. One thing that helped me was to just do it. No matter how much I didn’t like eating healthily I did it. I told my brain to shut up. I told my taste buds to take a hike. I basically forced myself to eat in a healthy way, and over time I started to crave those types of food more and more, and shun the unhealthy options. I remember when I tried beer for the first time. DAMN that stuff was terrible! But everyone drank it so I kept drinking it. Eventually, I liked it. I even enjoy the taste of certain beers, but it’s definitely an acquired taste. You can do the same thing with food too. Don’t like something? Just keep eating it. There’s an article about that from Real Age. Now when I eat the junk food, my body doesn’t always feel so hot afterward.
Another thing that helped me was to be aware of my food intake: conscious eating. I thought about food constantly, what will I have for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner? There are plenty of unhealthy snacks offered at work. It’s so easy to blindly, walk to the kitchen and just start munching away with no real thought about what you’re eating. Why you’re eating. Or if you’re even hungry. There goes a few hundred calories. I always tell myself think before you eat. One tip that I’ve learned is that if you’re between meals, you think you’re hungry, go ahead and drink some water instead. This helps because you may not have been hungry in the first place, and the water will satiate you until you’re actually hungry. Again, two articles from Real Age that talk about water in particular: Drink Water to Lose Weight and 3 Liquids That Help Halt Hunger.
The third thing that helped me were results. Physical changes in myself just by eating differently, no exercising. A few years ago when I was at my heaviest of 185 lbs (83.91 kg), I had a friend tell me that I looked fat. That spurred action because I agreed with him. Though ignorant action, nonetheless action. I started the Special K challenge (by the way, I don’t recommend or endorse any diet). In this diet you replace two meals a day with Special K cereal. (To my knowledge, at the time I did this Kellogg’s hadn’t created the whole line of Special K food, it was just cereal). Now I’m not sure if I followed the exact serving size, but I probably wasn’t eating more than 200-250 calories per cereal meal. My third meal probably didn’t exceed 1000 calories so that’s roughly 1400-1500 calories in a day. Even without exercise I lost weight, significant weight. In about 2-3 months time I lost 20 lbs. (I honestly don’t know the time frame on the 20 lbs lost, but it was a fast turn around.) I now weighed 165 lbs, which is the weight I stayed at until I started P90X. 20lbs lost just by changing my eating habits, that’s pretty amazing!
Eating healthy took a down turn for me around August and September of 2010 after I broke my hand playing basketball. Though, I didn’t totally start eating like crap, the frequency of which I ate crap moved from 1-2 times per month to 1-2 times per week. During this time period it was important for me to eat healthily because I couldn’t exercise with my broken hand. Jumping up and down even bothered it. (I’m sure there are lighter things I could have done, but I did nothing.) So in this absence of exercise if I had not eaten healthily the 5-6 times a week I probably would have started to gain unhealthy weight; instead I gained nothing and maintained my 147 lbs (66.67 kg) at the time.
Being mentally focused about your food intake in times where exercise is impossible is important to, at least, maintaining your current weight. Without exercise, healthy eating habits can help you lose weight (where as bad habits will have you gaining weight.) These two reasons are why I think healthy eating is more important than exercise, because if you can’t exercise (or don’t) then how else will you stay healthy?
Wow this post is a lot longer than I thought it would be. And now here’s more!
Go check out the website Forks Over Knives for showtimes. The movie releases on June 17th or 24th, depending on your area.
Ironically there’s an ad for “I Can’t Believe it’s not Butter” before the Today Show clip of Joy Bauer talking about fortified food: Don’t be fooled by fortified foods . I think it’s funny because there’s a version of 7up that’s fortified with … whatever, it doesn’t matter. You should probably think about your drinking habits if you’re having any soda on a regular basis, fortified or not. Especially if that habitual use of soda is more than once a day.
Don’t be bamboozled!
I was making some baby food for my daughter the other day–which is basically just steamed and then pureed food–and it tastes great!
I took some really ripe bananas, mashed them up in a mixing bowl with a potato masher; then I spooned out servings into an ice cube tray. After it froze, it was a tasty sweet banana dessert with only one ingredient: bananas! Next time I make this, I’ll set some banana aside and add some peanut butter to it before freezing.
Peel your favorite apples (mine are Fuji, and yes peeling apples is easier than it sounds. I thought it would be a chore but it’s not). Cut the apples into cubes. Put them in a non-stick skillet with water, and cinnamon to taste. Cover on med-low heat until tender; stirring occasionally. Let cool and then puree, and freeze if you’re making it in bulk. Delicious! Add to the mashed bananas for extra deliciousness.
Take your favorite veggie, and steam to your desired softness. I did broccoli florets (5-6min), carrots (12-18 mins), and spinach (3-4 mins) (separately). Puree, adding water as needed. Be sure to try each before pureeing. Broccoli and carrots raw, hate them. Steamed, LOVE them. Something happens in that short cooking process that brings out their flavors and makes them favorable to my palette.
Making baby food is a great way to realize how good real food is with nothing added, or very little added such as the cinnamon in the Apple Sauce, and very little done to the ingredients. Talk about appreciating what God gives us.