Diet is extremely important to one’s shape. Whatever you put into your body is going to affect it positively or negatively. Think about that next time you consume a food product just because it’s in front of you.
Food can be a wonderful tool to help you achieve your goals, and smart choices can make a huge difference in your appearance and your health. Have a breakfast sandwich with whole wheat bread/bagels instead of white (your body actually needs the whole grains and carbs, and the fiber keeps you full longer… plus, a couple slices of bread can add around 5 grams of muscle-building protein to your meal).
Craving a soda? Pour it in a small cup (no bigger than 8oz) and put the rest in the fridge. Or pour it down the drain. Most soda bottles are actually 2.5 servings, and even 'healthier' drinks like Gatorade and Vitamin Water give you a double-and-a-half dose of sugar. You’re not supposed finish the bottle in one sitting! Keep fruit in your desk drawer for your mid-afternoon snack rather than relying on the vending machine down the hall. For your side at dinner, make it a habit to ask for (or cook) brown rice instead of white. When you drink, choose light liquors and lower calorie mixers (avoid cranberry at all costs… tonic is good, club soda is better, ice is best).
Spread your calorie intake throughout the day. Eating two meals a day: this is an epic dietary FAIL. Firstly, if you eat dinner at 9pm, skip breakfast, and have lunch at 1, that’s 16 hours without any nutrients! Your body may go into starvation mode. To protect itself against starvation, your body will store as much fat from food as possible (more so than you’re genetically predisposed to do) so that it can survive the next starvation period. Eating at regular intervals throughout the day helps your body to absorb the nutrients it needs, and it speeds up your metabolism, making it easier to burn off fat from food.
|image from metabolicmemory.wordpress.com|
When you’re working long hours like I do, it can be a hassle to leave the office to for food 3-4 times during the workday. I suggest buying (or packing) two meals and a healthy snack. Protein shakes can also be helpful. Here’s how I usually eat:
9:00 – 3 egg whites on wheat toast with pepper (high blood pressure runs in my family, and the whole wheat plus the pepper add plenty of flavor), a slice of turkey if go to a bodega rather than cooking it at home. Sometimes I'll add one yolk.
11:00 – protein shake (I use a brand called Serious Mass… Vitamin Shoppe carries it) mixed with soy milk and liquid egg whites (they sell them in cartons).
1:00 – turkey sandwich with whole wheat bread, lettuce, tomato, bread-and-butter-flavored pickle slice, and mustard; sliced orange, tangerine or clementine, on the side. Everyone at work is jealous of my sandwiches.
4:00 – another turkey sandwich or a tuna sandwich (with lettuce, tomato, and relish), apple on the side.
6:00 – protein shake
9:00 – small dinner (usually chicken/fish, rice/potatoes, and a veggie/salad w/ olive oil and vinegar… or half a rice-and-beans lunch with meat and maduros (sweet plantains) from a Dominican restaurant if I’m too lazy to cook) and a smaller protein shake just before bed.
As you’ve probably surmised, I go out and drink on the weekends. Therefore, Saturday and Sunday are often only 2-3 meals, especially if I’m trying to get out of the apartment early in the afternoon and don’t feel like washing dishes after cooking breakfast or making a shake. But my body tends to maintain pretty well on its own, so I’m lucky enough to get satisfactory results even after missing out on those meals. I wouldn’t suggest this for anyone else, though.
Your relationship to food plays a major role in your shape. With everything you put in your mouth, ask yourself: what does this contribute to my goal? It’s okay to treat yourself sometimes, but keep in mind that food companies have their profits in mind, not your waistline. Don’t trust them to measure your portions: cut the candy bar in 3rds. Save the rest, or throw it out if you don’t trust yourself not to eat it. Often, if you stop after a couple of bites, your sweet tooth is satisfied. If not at first, it will become habit the more you take control of your own intake.
And don’t reward yourself with food! Often, people think they can eat more because they’ve burned more calories. But if you’re trying to lose weight, you want a negative calorie balance (where you’re burning more calories than you consume). And if you’re eating small portions throughout the day, you won’t get as much of an eat-a-horse hunger after your workouts.
|image from ancestry.com|
Finally, and possibly the most important food advice that I have to give: learn the difference between satiated and stuffed! You shouldn’t feel stuffed on a regular basis. No matter what your parents told you, it’s okay to leave food on your plate if you find yourself satisfied before your food’s gone.
Food can be your greatest ally in your quest for your ideal body. Find ways to eat healthily while still being satisfied. Starving yourself isn’t going to help anybody (especially when you get frustrated and binge), so find healthy substitutes and build fit habits. You’ll see the effects quickly, and when you get your blood work results from your physical, you’ll realize the long-term benefits, too!
PS, take a muti-vitamin! I need to work on this, too, but it’s an easy first step to healthy living!
Note: I am not a certified fitness/health professional. Just a gym rat who reads a lot.
Click here to check out TheBlackoutBlog Workout Log: Intro.
Click here to check out TheBlackoutBlog Workout Log: My Fitness Journey.
Click here to check out TheBlackoutBlog Workout Log: How To Make Your Workout WORK.
Click here to check out TheBlackoutBlob Workout Log: How I Did It.