Changing Your Nutrition for a Lifetime, Part 3 by Stuart MacEwan
This last month we will tie together everything we have learned from the previous 60 days with a final focus this last month that will solidify our nutrition results. We started 2 months ago by learning to track our food intake by using our smart phones. We accumulated 2 weeks of food logging knowledge to get a view of our daily and weekly eating habits. After we learned what our daily intake average was over 2 weeks, we adjusted our calorie intake by dropping (or raising if you want to gain weight) our caloric intake by 10% and holding our new calorie intake for 2 weeks. During this time, we made notes about how our bodies felt during our days, and if we felt we got adequate sleep at night. We paid attention to our energy during our days and during our workouts to ensure we had enough and didn’t feel exhausted all the time. If we had sufficient energy to get through our busy days, slept well at night and started to feel our pants fitting better, we knew we were on the right track with the 10% calories that we had dropped out of our daily intake. After 2 weeks, if needed we could subtract another 10% if we felt that our body would benefit from a further restriction of calorie intake. The slow dropping of calories over 2 week intervals is to reassure your body that food is plentiful in your diet and prevents your body from panicking and resisting your weight loss. Remember, slow weight drops, slow calorie changes, and paying attention to how your body feels is key to making life long changes and understanding how your body uniquely responds to food.
We also started drinking enough water to go pee every hour or so. We started to measure our results by trying on the same pair of jeans every week and seeing if they fit better. We stayed off the scale (which is not a good indicator of progress).
This month we will talk about the importance of eating a larger breakfast and a smaller dinner. If you look at your entire day as a journey, much like packing your car and taking a trip from Boise to Seattle, you will understand the wisdom of filling up your tummy much like how you would fill up your cars gas tank before starting on your long drive. When you have a day full of work, parenting, exercise and tasks ahead of you, you want to fill up your tummy (gas tank) to make sure your body has what it needs to make it through your day. As your day progresses, stop every 3 hours or so to snack on something (like stopping in Ontario to top off your gas tank when it reaches ½ tank). The idea is to never let your tummy get completely empty as your journey through your day. Instead, stop every 3 hours and top it off with nutritious foods. If you at a big breakfast, you will only need small snacks and moderate meals to meet your energy needs for the rest of your day. If you let yourself go for 6+ hours between meals and snacks, do not be surprised when you become famished and gobble down vast quantities of foods (usually of poor nutrition quality) to make up for the compete emptiness of your tummy (gas tank). Your body can only use so much food at any one time for energy and will store the rest of what it cant use as fat, thereby undoing much of what we want our exercise program to accomplish.
Generally a good model to follow is to “eat dinner like a King, lunch like a Merchant, and dinner like a Pauper”. Load up on most of your calories before lunch and then snack lightly for the rest of the day. Breakfasts are where you want the bulk of your carbs (to provide ample energy to fuel your day) and light/moderate fats and proteins. Lunch should be light/moderate with carbs and fat with a heavier portion of protein. Dinner should be mostly protein and vegetables, no carbs necessary (you are going to bed soon, you don’t need the carbs for energy). Snacks between meals should be balanced between high protein and moderate fats with low/controlled amounts of carbs.
This explains how to split up your calorie intake. Just take the calorie intake that you have learned over the past several weeks that works best for you and start allotting those calories between your meals as I have described in the above paragraphs.
Along with starting to change the size and types of your meals this month, I also want you to start taking a multivitamin 2x a day. Take 1x in the morning when you brush your teeth, and another before you go to bed after you brush your teeth. I keep my multivitamins right next to my toothpaste so that I don’t forget. A good multivitamin will close the gaps of vitamins and minerals that you won’t be getting from your slightly restricted food intake. In a perfect world, you would be able to eat 4000-6000 calories a day like our rancher and farmer ancestors did 200 years ago, and so you would have gotten the full compliment of vitamins and minerals from that large calorie intake. But most people today are going to be eating far fewer calories (most of my female clients eat around 1400 – 1600 calories) and so are lacking in vitamins and minerals because they simply can’t intake enough foods. Vitamins and minerals play a role in your body like little constructions workers… they act upon your fats, carbs and proteins to form them into the structures (like muscle and bone) and energies (like glucose and a.t.p.). Basically they do all the handyman work around your body so that your body grows, runs and renews itself every day. I get my multivitamins at GNC. I use the Mega Men series. They aren’t expensive and last about 2-3 months. They are made to be taken 2x a day (look at the label on your multivitamins to ensure they say 2x servings a day). This is important. You want to take a multivitamin 2x a day to provide adequate coverage throughout your day, and then again while you sleep. A 1x a day multivitamin isn’t bad, but does leave a large hole in your day when your body doesn’t adequate intake and vitamin coverage.
Ok fitness peeps… this wraps up the basics of what you need to start seeing major changes in your body. The whole idea behind these 3 articles is for you to get a basic knowledge of your eating habits (self awareness) by logging your foods, then make small changes to reassure your body that food is plentiful while also slowly dialing in your unique daily energy intake to where you start seeing slow, gradual weight loss while keeping your energy and sleep quality high. Everyone is different with what your body needs, so experiment freely, and be careful to listen to your body. If you have any questions, you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at 208-412-1390. It would be my pleasure to answer your questions, always and anytime!