Nutrition 101 - Where All Results Start by Stuart MacEwan
You may be an exercise beast or a yoga diva, but all the exercise and movement in the world counts for little when not supported by a wholesome and sustained nutrition lifestyle. In order to see the results of a thriving body, you must also create an environment for change and health by being purposeful about what you eat.
For the next several months I’m going to write on basic nutrition. It is important to acknowledge that there is no one single way to think about or practice eating well; I encourage you to be experimental during your fitness journey and to be open minded about trying many different eating styles. Keeping safety in mind, you can only know what works best for you if you are curious about food and how it effects your body as an individual. As always, be instinctive and intuitive to what your body is trying to tell you. Eating well should be about feeling better over time; gaining strength, energy and an improved sense of wellness. Where to start then?
You can’t make significant changes in your body without first knowing what you already eat on a daily basis. Therefore I recommend that you start by logging your food. Whether you track you foods on paper in a journal, or modernize by tracking on your smart-phone your goal is to start by logging what you normally eat for 2 weeks to see the trends and summary of your food intake. You will want to see your day-to-day caloric intake, as well as your average intake of protein, fat and carbs. Also log your water intake and any alcoholic beverages. After 2 weeks of logging your foods, look in the mirror and see if you body has changed. If not, then your eating needs to change.
We will start by making a few small changes every 2 weeks. Don’t make the changes too broad or overwhelming. Start small, stay focused and concentrate on making new lifestyle habits. An example would be to set a goal of cleaning up the types of foods you ate for the next 14 days. When you feel like you have the handle of choosing wholesome foods, then set a new small goal for the next 2 weeks.
Start by looking back at the last 2 weeks of your food log. Can you spot processed foods (foods that come from a box or a package)? Your first goal will be to eliminate processed foods from your daily nutrition. Processed foods are mostly carbohydrates (your bodies first choice for energy), so replace them with whole fruits, vegetables and grains. Whole foods (good) tend to be found on the outside aisles of a store, whereas the processed (bad) tend to be in boxes in aisles. Processed foods are lacking in nutrients, are far too quickly digested by your body, can be highly addictive which leads to massive over consumption and are loaded with chemical preservatives that your body has problems processing and eliminating. Whole foods are nutrient dense (your body thrives from nutrients), generally slower to digest, and are easily adapted by your body into muscle and new tissues (your workouts are producing results now!)
Since we don’t want to change too many things at one time, lets just focus on learning to purchase and eat unprocessed foods for now. If you feel like you need more to work on, then look at your water consumption. If you aren’t going pee every 60-90 minutes, you aren’t consuming enough water. Since water is readily available and very cheap, just go by a few water bottles and start taking water with you through your daily journeys. Drink until you start peeing 6 or 7 times a day. Water plays an essential role in every physiological and biological process in your body. It allows for thorough digestion, enhances metabolism, speeds energy creation and greatly stabilizes cell health.
Lets start this month by doing a few basic things. Lets create a basis of self knowledge by tracking our foods for 2 weeks, then lets focus on eliminating processed foods and ensuring generous water intake. The goal is to not overwhelm our body by making too many changes at once, but to reassure our body that food is plentiful and nutritious. I’ll have our next steps ready for you in next month’s newsletter; but they will only be useful to you if you start your journey by following the few steps outlined in this letter first. You can’t put the cart before the horse good students.