What I've learned from 16 Health, Nutrition, and Fitness Books; 4 Personal Trainers; 3 Boot Camp Instructors; 2 Nutritionists; and my Sister, a Fitness Model- what works, what doesn't, and what you should know.
The Skinny on Health & Nutrition- Part 1: Rules of Thumb
Eat every 3-5hrsWhy? Boosts Energy Lowers Cholesterol Maintains Adequate Blood Sugar Levels Boosts Metabolism Helps YOU LOSE WEIGHT!How? “After you eat a meal, the food is broken down into sugar which provides you with energy. It takes about 3 hours for this process to be complete – for your blood sugar levels to go up and then to fall. If you want to keep your blood sugar levels even – supplying you with the right amount of energy throughout the day- eat a small meal every 3 hours and you will prevent the falling blood sugar levels, and the sagging energy that comes from the fluctuations of blood sugar. If you eat small meals every 3 hours you keep your blood sugar levels steady. When your blood sugar levels are steady your energy and mood stay steady and more balanced throughout the day. It is easy to upset the balance of blood sugar – and thus energy and mood – by skipping meals or waiting too long to eat. When blood sugar levels are normal, you feel good and energized. When blood sugar levels fall, your energy and your mood drop. Eating a healthy diet every 3 hours helps to positively alter your brain chemistry and stabilize your moods. When you eat a large meal every 5-6 hours, you provide a lot of fuel all at once in your system – and set the stage for more dramatic blood sugar imbalances. The excess energy does not get used up and instead gets stored as fat. But more frequent, smaller meals delivers your body adequate, manageable amounts of fuel spread evenly over the course of a day.” (Copson)
Drink WATER & Lots of it!Why? Boosts Energy Boosts metabolism and prevents constipation, helping you lose weight Flushes toxins from your body which helps you: Have healthy looking skin Prevent joint pains & Arthritis Fight infections Reduce the risk of Cancer AVOID: Sugary Drinks (Pop, fruit juices, ice tea, etc.) Alcohol If you’re going out for a night on the town, always go CLEAR alcohol- vodka, gin, etc. Limit wine intake to a couple glasses a week Coffee Try to substitute herbal tea to get that caffeine fix in the morning If you absolutely NEED your coffee, drink it Black, no flavourings to avoid all of the extra sugar and fat content
What’s In a Meal?PROTEINEat 3-5oz. of in EVERY meal Rule of thumb: Size of your closed fist is approx. 3-5oz.What are the best protein sources? Egg whites (Purest source of protein) Fish Chicken Beans Lentils Buffalo Almonds Whey or Isolate Protein PowderWhat protein sources to limit: Red meats Limit to 1 servings per week Fish Limit to 2 servings per week
VEGGIES What’s In a Meal?Eat ½ CUP of in EVERY meal Rule of thumb: your open palm is approx. ½ cupWhat are the best veggie sources? Rule of thumb: The greener the vegetable, the more nutrients it has in it, and thus the better it is for you. Great Veggie Sources include: Spinach Broccoli Brussel Sprouts Kale Green Beans Cabbage ZucchiniWhat veggie sources to limit: Carrots These orange suckers pack the greatest sugar content and should be limited if weight loss is your goal
CARBS What’s In a Meal?Eat up to 1 cup a day = 60g-90g Rule of thumb: I slice of bread is approx. 15g. Trying to lose weight? Have ½ cup a day. Try to gain weight? Have 2 cups per day IMPORTANT: Have your carb intake in the first 4 meals in the day or before 6pm to aid in better digestion Always eat carbs in accompaniment with protein and veggie sources Eat carbs directly AFTER a workout to help refuel your body If you are feeling dizzy or sluggish, you NEED to increase your carb intake. Try to incorporate a carb serving around the times you typically feel this way.What are the best carbs sources? Whole grains Avoid white bread sources at ALL COSTS! They will lead to rapid weight gain, and dramatically reduce your energy levels through increased insulin spikes- making you crave more carbs within a matter of 2hrs! Ezekiel or Flax Sweet Potatoes
What’s In a Meal?FATSHave 2oz. of GOOD fat daily Rule of thumb: add your fats into your first and last meal, not during the day to gain the most benefits from the nutrients and vitamins being absorbed.What are the best fat sources? Coconut Oil Excellent substitution of margarine or butter Flax Seed Oil This fan favourite can be used to add flavour to popcorn, veggies, and smoothies Almond Oil Olive Oil Fish Oil You should have at LEAST one 1oz. of fish oil a day. You can grab fish oil capsules at most drug stores. One capsule= 1 oz. This will give you glowing skin and add in better nutrient absorptionWhat fat sources to limit: Animal Fat Trans fat
What’s In a Meal?DIARY Although dairy is loaded with calcium which aids in bone development and strength, it is also usually loaded with sugar, fat, hormones, and tons of chemicals and preservatives making it a sure way to weight gain and mood fluctuations Limit your diary intake to once per day. I serving= ½ cup Gain your calcium from many vegetables sources such as cabbage, kale, and spinach as a substitution Good diary choices include: o Greek Yougrt This is a great substitution for protein in most meals as it is pack with up to 18g of protein per servings- amazing! o Cottage Cheese o Feta or Skim Cheeses Look for organic or vegan cheese to limit the fat and hormone content.FRUITS Eat 1 cup of fruit a day= I cup= 2 pieces of fruit o Exception: 1 banana= 1 cup Limit berry intake as these fruits tend to pack the highest levels of sugar, although good sugars, can prevent weight loss. Try to have a variety of fruit within the day Have your fruit servings within the first part of the day, and most importantly after I work out with protein to help rebuild the glucose levels in your body.
What’s in a MealSUGARS Limit sugar intake to 7g per serving, not including sugar derived from natural sources such as fruit Staying below 7grams per meal servings helps regulate your insulin levels and prevent them from spiking which would lead to decreased energy and sugar craving 2- 3hrs later- YIKES! AVOID the BAD sugars- they have many names, so be sure to check labels o Lactose, glucose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose, fructose, molasses, corn syrup, maple syrup, corn sweetener, juice concentrate, natural sweeteners TO SUM IT UP A meal or snack is composed of some combination of the important food groups – protein, high fiber complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. The protein will help you stay alert and energized – plus help you feel full. The fiber will help you feel full. The complex carbohydrates and whole grains will digest slowly and deliver you a steady supply of energy for the next 3 hour spurt. The fat – which digests slowly will deliver you a burst of energy long after you have eaten it. The vegetables and fruit will help you feel energized and full of pep. (Copson)
What this looks likeSample Daily Meals: Meal 1: Meal 4: 1/2 Cup Oat Bran 1 Can Tuna ¼ banana slices 1 Clove Garlic, Chopped 1 Tbsp Flaxseed 1 Egg, Beaten 1/2oz Walnuts 2 Tbsp Grainy Mustard 1 Scoop Protein Powder 1/2 Cup Cooked Quinoa ½ cup broccoli 1/2 Orange Meal 2: Meal 5: 1 Cup 0% Greek Yogurt 2 Strips Turkey Bacon ¼ Cup Berries 1/2 Cup Black Beans ½ slice Ezekiel bread 1/2 Cup Mushrooms 1 cup spinach w/ 1 tsp. balsamic 3oz Grilled Chicken vinegar Balsamic Vinegar With Italian Seasoning Meal 3: Meal 6: 1 Whole Wheat Pita 4 oz. egg Whites 4oz Grilled Chicken ½ cup spinach leaves w/ lemon juice Sliced Lettuce 1 tbsp. Coconut oil Sliced Tomato 1/2oz Almonds Grainy Mustard To Taste ½ brussel sprouts
Staying On Track Write it down By writing down, it help you see where your weaknesses and opportunities are. This also keeps you accountable to your goals. Commit to a schedule with a friend Track your performance visually Monthly Photos Vision & Progress Board Reward yourself! Create milestones for yourself regularly and reward yourself with things you want.