Most of us are a bit on the crazy side trying to perfect our diets, fitness, and health routines. With the best of intentions, we pick the healthy foods, we go to the gym, and we wind up failing miserably come happy hour, Saturday night, or whenever our willpower takes a nose dive (a break up or a family/friend get together) We are tempted from the moment we wake up til the moment we go to bed. I hear peanut butter calling my name all day long.
You're probably not a stranger to the website "My Fitness Pal" or any other of the online macro/calorie trackers. Most fitness people use it as a means to track their nutrition for the day to ensure that they stay within the range of calories and macronutrients to suite their specific fitness goal. I like to use these programs as a way for clients to just visually see what they are eating on a daily basis. Not necessarily in terms of calories, but the food itself. What we choose to eat on a daily basis ultimately dictates the results we are going to achieve. Coming from a low carbohydrate mindset, I like to use it as a tool to make sure that I'm actually getting enough carbohydrates and enough of the right foods to support my health & fitness goals.
Tracking your food is an initial tool you can use until your diet becomes a daily habit, which at that point, you wouldn't need to do daily logging. But when we see something written down, or when we consciously take the time to go over what we are consuming, it really helps to reset our nutritional guidance system.
There are too many fitness foods out there these days that may seem like they are health foods, but in reality, most of them are simply glorified candy bars and shakes. I don't have an issue with bars and shakes, but relying on them to supplement multiple meals and snacks could be a sure way to shoot yourself in the foot. They are still calories consumed and loaded with artificial sweeteners and fillers. So if you're not seeing the results you'd like to see, I implore you to keep a check list of what you are doing, how much of it you are doing. What you are eating, how much of it you are eating. And the results you are seeking vs the results you are achieving.
Go grocery shopping on Sunday mornings and do 4-5 days worth of food prep.
This ensures you have grab and go foods. If you are going to have snack bars and convenience foods, make sure they are as natural as possible. If you use protein powders, go for the ones that do not have artificial sweeteners. Make sure they come from either grass fed whey protein or a high quality vegan powder. My personal favorite vegan powder is Sunwarrior Vanilla.....seriously it tastes like cake batter.
Make sure your main meals are book ended with green veggies. This makes sure that you are not only meeting your macro nutrients, but your micros as well. We tend to forget that aside from popping our pills, the majority of the absorbable vitamins and minerals comes from wholefoods. So split up your produce and divide it amongst your main meals. Having green veggies bulks up your fiber content, satiates you, and helps you get your vitamins and minerals.
Try to create gluten free meals, if possible. I know that many people are NOT gluten sensitive. But gluten can pose a problem for those with general digestive problems and those with hypothyroidism. So if you are experiencing a lot of bloating, IBS, or fatigue, try eliminating gluten for a period of time and see how you feel. There are many other nutritious carbohydrate sources (brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, red/yellow potatoes, the list is endless) to choose from. You won't even miss it.
Log your progress on all levels. No, you don't have to be a slave to logging all your food all the time. But take a couple of weeks and really map it out. Be honest with yourself. Writing it out or logging it into a computer program really helps you to see both your progress and your short comings. I know that when I'm tired, coming from a low carb background for many years, it usually means I've fallen short on my carbohydrate intake. For my own personal goals and health concerns, I try to keep my carbs, fats, and proteins at a specific level to support my thyroid and my immune system. What are your health concerns? Is it to lose weight, drop bodyfat, improve your digestion, clear your skin, improve your athletic performance? Log that as well. Eventually you will see how it all comes together.
One of the first things I try to work on with my clients is an awareness. An awareness of where you currently are and an awareness of where you want to go. The in between, what you do on a daily basis, day in and day out, is what will eventually drive you to your success or your failure. You're in the driver's seat.....so where do you want to go?
What you do today will always affect your tomorrow. So choose wisely.
We have officially begun the month of May and I definitely feel spring is in the air. It's a great time to clean out your fridge, your pantry, and of course, your digestive system. Clear out the clutter at home and within your body and feel the synergistic effect of health come together.
To Your Health!!