This wise quote by an anonymous source is probably the most important key to your health and fitness goals! Many people have been mislead into thinking that doing hours and hours of exhausting exercises is the way to lose weight. It is true the you will have to move your body in order to get it toned and into shape. But even more important than the battle in the gym, is the war in the kitchen. I often like to tell my clients that your diet is 85% of your “battle of the bulge”. Since knowing is half the battle, I’m going to give you some basic information so that you will be well armed on your quest. First, you should have a basic understanding of the three main components that your body needs to function properly: Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats.
- Protein is what your body needs to build muscle. It usually is “anything that had parents”. From best (leanest) to worst (fattest), the main sources of protein are:Fish, Poultry (including eggs), Beef, Pork and Dairy. Great examples of protein are: baked chicken breast, egg whites, baked fish, turkey, lean ground beef, nuts, greek yogurt, etc.
- Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for your body. They give you energy, keep you “regular” and includes whole grains, fiber and sugar. Great sources of carbohydrates are: brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, whole wheat bread, vegetables and fruit. Not-so-good sources are anything that has lots of sugar. In fact, and I cannot stress this enough, SUGAR IS YOUR ENEMY. Sugar is processed by your body and is often converted into fat. You would be surprised at just how much of it we all consume everyday. A little bit of sugar is fine but it is really important to minimize the amount of sugar we take in. This will be illustrated in the homework assignment that I will ask you to do at the end of this article.
- The last component is Fat. Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are bad. Unsaturated (good) fats can be found in cold water fish like salmon, trout, tuna, cod, halibut, mussels, oysters, plant based cooking oils like vegetable oil and most nuts and seeds like almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, etc. As you can see, sometimes, especially with fish you are consuming good fats in the protein sources you eat.
How much of each component we all require depends on weight, current level of fitness and level of activity. A general rule of thumb for the average person however is the principal of “1-2-3″. In each meal (generally speaking) you should have 1 part of your calories from “good” fat, 2 parts from protein and 3 parts from “good” carbohydrates. The easiest way to measure this is by “eyeballing” what you put on your plate.
Now that you know WHAT to eat, stay tuned for the next post which explains WHEN to eat. The timing of meals is just as important as the type of meals we eat. I will also be giving you a “Homework” assignment. So get ready!
Dream Fit. Live Fit.