What are you eating? I read a lot on Facebook and the many groups dedicated to Obstacle Racing about how people are working out. Sometimes it seems to be a game of ruthless one-upmanship; who can go further or harder, and longer. Not a day goes by that I don’t read a post about some new training program or guaranteed regimen to help everyday people prepare for the challenges of Obstacle Racing. What are they eating though that’s what I want to know? Does the average person preparing for this sport know how many calories they’ve digested in a given day? Do they know how many grams of protein they’ve eaten or need to, to support muscle growth. That would be between .7 and one gram per pound of body weight if you’re interested. I am not a scientist or nutritionist, over the past six years though I have dedicated my life to health, fitness, and a better version of me, I’ve gone from weighing 215 pounds to 168. In that time I have discovered that the greatest determiner of waistline and health comes down not to what we bench or how fast we run but what we put in our stomachs and how we fuel that drive to perform.
I could fill a book with the accumulated knowledge on eating and diet I’ve collected over the better part of the past decade. In fact I think I will but for now let’s discuss a few common sense things you could be doing right now to change your diet and begin building a better healthier life.
First things first, stop listening to infomercials and advertisements for fad diets and quick weight loss miracles. It’s a fantasy folks and designed only to help you shed one thing and that’s your money. Health isn’t complicated and it’s not exactly hard either but it does require commitment and effort every day. Part of the appeal of fashion diets is that they are regimented most come with manuals and guides to tell you what to eat. That I itself is not a bad idea but recognize it for what it is a crutch. Do not rely on someone else to guide your eating habits. You are responsible for your health and life and you must take it upon yourself to structure and track what you eat and when you eat, If you cannot the moment that guide is taken away you could fall flat on your face and be right back to where you started in a few weeks. This leads into my next point.
Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing. Do not compare your goals to another’s or your results. If you really want to make an impact and stand out from the crowd make your weight-loss permanent and your healthy habits part of your life not just something you do until you reach an arbitrary number on the scale. Too many dieters fail because they cannot understand and internalize this one concept: Health is a lifestyle not a diet or resolution. It’s something you live and breathe every day.
There are things we as healthy individuals should be avoiding in our diet. Make no mistake whether you’re trying to lose weight or not; everyone is on a diet. Embrace that now and get used to it. Your diet should not include added sugars and sweeteners. I cannot stress how important it is that you take this first step to heart. Americans eat too much sugar. On its own it is a wonder fuel for cellular respiration. Taken in the amounts that have become the norm in our country it is a death sentence. Whatever name it comes by you need to wean yourself off of it. No more sodas, pop, or Cokes! This includes the diet varieties. No more frosted cereals, cakes, cupcakes, or pastries. If you cannot limit yourself to the occasional indulgence or find yourself devouring a whole carton of ice cream before you realize it, then at the beginning its best you avoid them altogether. Sugar is stored in the body and over time converted to fat reserves if not used immediately. The average diet is already loaded with glucose from unlikely sources, such as bread, salad dressing, juices, potatoes and pasta. The last thing any of us needs is to add more.
While we’re talking about them there is a very good and common sense reason to avoid excesses of starchy foods, pastas, and processed grains. You body just does not need them. The most nutritional parts of the foods are removed during processing and you are left with a simple compound compromised almost entirely of sugars. Unless you’re about to embark on a marathon and need the fuel reserve why are you eating this stuff? Taken in a small serving like those suggested on the back of the boxes they came in, these foods are not inherently unhealthy, that’s the problem though. Rarely do people follow the suggested serving size because these foods are not filling and you soon find yourself hungry again and eating more.
Common sense is sorely lacking in today’s world and the healthy-minded person must cultivate it and use it every day. Look at the ingredients in your food. Follow the serving size suggested on the box. If your food contains ingredients you cannot pronounce without a degree in chemistry don’t eat it. Food is supposed to contain food, not the makings of a biological warhead. Yes it is true that healthy and organic food is more expensive to buy. How much money though do you waste on things you simply throw away? Your life and body is the single most valuable thing you possess. The money you spend on feeding it, conditioning it, and training it is an investment in your future and your children’s future.
In the next article we will focus more on exactly what you should be eating. The grocery aisles are packed with healthy tasty foods that you should be filling your refrigerator with. The single biggest thing you can do to lose weight and get in shape is to provide your body with the best fuel you can to give it energy and elevate your metabolism to burn non-stop. I will show you how to do that.