Want to live, breathe, and be your best, always? Read on for tips that improve the quality of your life with proper diet and nutritional advice.
First of all, an individual’s nutrition is a very personal subject. A one-size-fits-all diet is impossible. What and when you eat depends strongly on your place in this world, your personal goals and motivations, and what you do each day. A bodybuilder looking for maximum muscle will have a very different diet from a college student living in a dorm.
A swimmer who burns 3000 calories or more each day will require that much more intake than the average Joe working the nine to five in an office downtown. Still, there are some strong words of advice that I’ve encountered over the years and they have helped me take a personal stance regarding my nutrition so hopefully they will help everyone else who reads this.
What are your goals?
Before beginning a diet or exercise regime it is important to evaluate the purpose of your endeavor. Are you a young woman wanting to become a fashion model or a middle-ager wanting to shed a few extra pounds? Do you want to watch the transformation in the mirror or are you merely concerned with lowering your LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, or controlling diabetes?
My personal fitness goal was this: make the best possible use of this body while I have it and, more specifically, trim my body fat down to 11% or less and strengthen, lengthen and put all muscles to their maximum good use.
Are you physically fit to perform basic movements?
I mean can you touch your toes? Do your spine and neck support good movement and adequate range of motion? How about with your other extremities? Do you have muscle and joint stiffness or discomfort in the lower back? If not you should incorporate some forms of mild physical activity into your diet plan, because walking and exercising regularly has been proven to accelerate weight loss.
I recommend stretching or yoga (which does not imply being able to lick your back!) It’s just a gentle kind of stretching and deep breathing that soothes, relaxes, and assists your body and muscles in finding their optimal fit.
You are not what you eat! It is more like how you eat!
That’s right. Depending on one’s origin, there is a predisposition to consume various meals in a certain manner. In America we recognize that there are unfortunate souls in on the planet without enough to eat, so the tendency is to not let food go to waste. Fine, except for the serving sizes here are absolutely huge!! A common American serving is enough food for two people to eat a single meal, but because we are conditioned to eating this way it feels normal.
We also skip meals regularly because there isn’t enough time for breakfast, lunch, etc. Malarkey! I look and feel my best when I am eating small portions far more regularly – for example, 6 meals a day instead of the usual 2-3. How do I eat 6 or more times every day and not get horribly obese?
Many of these meals are small snacks that should hardly count as a “meal,” but hey, we’re talking about diets here so everything that goes down the tube counts. A piece of fruit, some protein or a smoothie, even a handful of trail mix or nuts can suffice. The point is that I trained my body to expect something new to eat every two to four hours, which helps keep the body’s metabolism high and mighty.
I eat lean foods and balance the diet with a lot of plants (fruit and veggies), whole grains, dairy and yes, some sweets. My favorite drink is water (and beer) but I do not drink syrupy sweet carbonated sodas. 1–2 cups of red wine is also thought to go well and help with balancing out the caloric intake of large meals, so if you are just getting started and want some help whittling down your portions, take a glass of wine with dinner and remind yourself often about your fitness goals.
Should I count calories?
It’s pointless unless you’re diabetic or have some other condition that necessitates it. The only calories worth counting are the ones you burn off at the gym or through other forms of exercise and the ones left on your plate at the end of the meal.
What’s that you say?
Leaving food on your plate is a very helpful way to reduce your caloric intake. I am not talking about being wasteful–take a doggy bag or actually feed healthy scraps to the dog if you must, but the two bites of food you leave behind after you’ve finished your meal really begins to add up especially over the course of a few weeks.
You want to see and feel changes being made, and cutting back in this way means that you are consuming less food than before which is good, right? Over time you will begin to serve yourself less and less food each meal and will learn how much food your body needs to feel truly satisfied.
Practice Hara Hachi Bu
Haha, what? “Hara Hachi Bu” is a Japanese phrase roughly translating to eight parts of ten or eighty percent full. You must rate how hungry or full you are on a scale of ten. If you are starving at the beginning of your meal, we’ll call that zero. You’re hungry and need to eat!
When you feel that you are about half-full, call that a 5, keep going you are almost there! Once you feel you are around an 8/10 on the full-meter, stop! The rest of your food will digest and by the time it hits your stomach you will be perfectly content and full. Not “stuffed” at all, but just right. If you become hungry, eat more. Chances are you will not overeat when following this method and you will begin shedding weight like never before.
That’s a good start, particularly if you’ve never heard of it. remember to determine your goals at the onset and set yourself up for a win. Overeating is a plague most Americans must battle, and we are the fortunate ones with access to the most resources! These tips will help you started on the sensible path and soon you will be eating for survival again, not as a means of entertainment when bored, or as a stress mechanism.
Remember that the calories you don’t eat are the ones adding up and be sure to include plenty of activity in your weekly lives! The kitchen defeats the bulge Six pack abs are also crafted in the kitchen, not on the floor doing sit-ups.