Friday, October 1, 2010

10 Healthy Eating Points

Eating proper nutrition and avoiding bad eating habits are essential to fitness. Nutrition is just as important, if not more, than working out regularly. Without a solid nutritional base, the body stores the unwanted fat gained from poor food and does not have the nutrients to build muscle fibre. Here are some tips to eating a clean, healthy diet:

  1. Keep a log: Keeping track of the foods you eat not only helps you regulate your fat, calorie, protein and carbs but it also shows how harmful junk food is. There are websites that have data bases of pretty much any food you can think of and all you have to do is select the portion of the food that you ate and it calculates every nutrient that is in that particular food. Here is the one I use:
  2. Don't eat out: Try to eat at home as much as possible; eating out often makes us want to order the most tasty thing on the menu since we're paying the price to eat good food. Rarely does someone go out to a fancy restaurant and only order a salad. Also, the restaurant isn't worried about how much fat or calories you eat, they just want to make it taste as good as they possibly can.
  3. Get rid of junk food: Go through your whole house and get rid of any chips, candy, soda and any other processed garbage. Keeping these things out of your house will force you to find a healthier alternative when you crave a snack. 
  4. Eat regular meals: Eating regular meals at the same time each day is a good habit to get into because your body gets used to receiving nutrients at the same time each day therefore making it easier on the digestive system. Also, eating regularly is an excellent way to avoid over-eating. Remember, snacking is good! The more meals you eat in a day the better, this increases your metabolism and increases your fat burning ability exponentially. A good way to start eating more meals is to stick to your three meal a day schedule but eat a little bit less than normal in each meal and in between grab a protein bar, or fix yourself some other healthy light snack. 
  5. Know your weakness: Everyone has a weakness when it comes to eating healthily, it's that one food that you justify eating just because you crave it so badly. For me it's the Mcdonalds Big Mac, after working out at the gym I pass by at least two Mcdonalds on the way home and it seems like there's nothing in the world I want other than that delicious, heavenly sandwich. Yet I have to get your priorities in order and think to myself; I could either temporarily enjoy that highly processed, fatty, high-calorie, cholesterol-filled burger or I can maintain my clean diet and permanently benefit from it. When you find out what YOUR weakness is, always keep in mind that is it indeed a weakness and should be kept in check. Once in a while you can treat yourself to this food but try to keep it as rare as possible so that it becomes a reward for having kept a good diet.
  6. Gradual change: If you have trouble eating healthy foods, start slow by adding in healthy food to your regular diet and getting rid of the harmful foods.
  7. Eat slow: Eating slowly and enjoying your food does two things: For one, it tricks your brain into thinking you're eating more than you actually are. Second, it takes a full 20 minutes for your satiety signal to activate in your brain which tells your brain that your full, eating slowly gives your brain time to process that your full.
  8. Breakfast: You've heard your mother tell you this since you were a kid, but believe it or not it's true! Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. An excellent habit to get into is making breakfast your biggest meal of the day and gradually eating less and less throughout the day. 
  9. Maintain hydration: Drinking water is extremely important to bodily functions, especially when involved in regular exercise. Keeping hydrated also helps satiate any hunger you may have throughout the day. When you're thirsty avoid drinking sodas, milk, coffee, etc.. try your hardest to stick to water.
  10. Don't be a nutrition Nazi: If you're looking to improve your diet but reading all the tips on how to do it seems a little too complicated with all this "portion control, carb cycling, etc.." Just keep it simple! Don't be discouraged if you get lost in all the technical ramble of nutrition; As long as your exercising regularly and eating healthy foods without over indulging yourself you're going to see results. Fat burning= calories burned>calories consumed. Muscle building= eat protein. That's about as simple as it gets.
Thanks for reading!


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