Fuel Your Body for Performance in the “Sport of Life”
You’ve already downloaded the Weekly Nutrition Tracking Sheet and have a couple weeks of information to review. Understanding what you are putting in your body is the first step in making positive changes.
Today we are going to review the basics of nutrition. Some of it may be new to you, other details you may have heard before. Regardless, if you aren’t CONSISTENTLY doing the things I will mention below, you are needlessly struggling with a completely controllable situation. In other words, if you aren’t regularly doing these things and you are unhappy with your current body fat levels, it’s time to finally make some changes.
The first thing that you need to know about nutrition is this fact. Everyone is different and will require different types and proportions of food (carbohydrates, fats, and protein). This is determined by your Metabolic Type. Essentially your metabolic type tells us how your body deals with and processes certain types of food.
Carbohydrate types are called “slow oxidizers” because their bodies are slower to metabolize (break down) food molecules. Because of this, they do better eating less complex molecules such as carbohydrates. This doesn’t mean they should avoid fats and protein, just that they need less of them to function optimally.
Protein types are the opposite. They are “fast oxidizers” and do well with a higher percentage of fat and protein because their bodies are able to more rapidly break these more complex molecules down into digestible components.
Mixed types are somewhere in the middle between these two ends of the metabolic typing spectrum and share components of both carbohydrate and protein types.
To Find out YOUR Metabolic Type, click the link to your left. While there is a huge amount of information needed to fully understand your body’s response to food and how it fits with your metabolic type, the answers to this questionnaire will at least get you thinking about your individual responses and attitudes towards food (VERY IMPORTANT). Plus it will give you the basics of getting started.
OK, outside the Metabolic Typing Side of things, here are a few general guidelines which will ensure you get the best results in the shortest amount of time…
- Eat on a steady schedule
– Eat small meals every 2-3 hours will increase your metabolism and reduce fat storage. This is a proven fact that bodybuilder, models, athletes and lean people in general abide by- and so should you.
– If you have trouble remembering, write it down or set a reminder in your computer or handheld device. Plan ahead to make sure you have food ready when the reminder goes off. You will be amazed how much time, frustration and suffering this simple planning action will save you in the long run!
- Plan your daily nutrition like an “inverted pyramid”
– Breakfast is by far the most important meal of the day! Eating right when you wake up is vital to breaking the fast your body enters every night (hence the name “breakfast”)!
– About 3-4 hours after you eat, your body begins shutting down your metabolism and acts as if it needs to store food. This is a great function to have if a famine breaks out and you don’t see food for weeks. After all, if there’s a famine you’re going to want your body to work “efficiently” by storing fat, and using it slowly.
– However, I’m sure you don’t want your body to store fat and burn it slowly. Since there is no food shortage or famine at the moment (and there likely wont be one any time soon) then it is pretty annoying when your body starts packing on the pounds. So, in order to communicate with your body by sending signals that it is healthy, well fed, and not in need of extra storage, you will need to reprogram your metabolism.
– You also need your energy most of the day. That’s why breakfast (or at least lunch) should be your largest meal. Now when I say “large” I’m not talking buffet “pig-out”, but a properly sized portion to meet your needs. (see the next point).
– From this point in the day, your meals should slightly decrease in portion size based on your energy needs. For most people their largest meal is dinner. They’ve just taken in the majority of their daily calories and then promptly go to bed. The metabolism slows down during sleep and your body doesn’t need a lot of energy. Therefor most of the calories you just consumed are stored as fat.
- Understand proper portion sizing for YOUR nutritional needs.
– One of the best tricks for learning proper nutrition sizes without having to weight and measure food is to eat on smaller plates. Most people have such a skewed perception of proper portion size that they are in disbelief when shown. For example, the majority of people should be able to EASILY fit a full meal on a typical side plates.
-With this being said, it’s still important it’s still important to gain an understanding of the portion sizes and calorie totals of the typical foods you eat. You don’t have to do this forever because once you get you to it, you will be able to “eyeball” the amounts and be confident in you portioning decisions.
- Choose quality EVERY TIME!
– First, high quality foods just taste better
– Second, you will be getting better nutrients in less volume. Because of this, you body will not feel the need to keep eating (remember, the underlying need for eating is to receive nutritional value so that we can survive)! High quality foods do this MUCH more effectively than cheap CRAP most people must people pass off as food.
– Even things that are seemingly “bad” for you such as treats should conform to this rule. If you are going to have a desert or treat such as a glass of wine, at least have a top quality one! As the saying goes…life’s too short to drink bad wine (or chocolate)!
- Be strict with yourself at the beginning, but still enjoy life!
– Let’s face it, you are overweight and out of shape because what you’ve been doing up to now hasn’t been conducive to optimal body composition or health. Therefore, you need to make changes. This requires doing something different than you use to!
– In the beginning, you may not enjoy these changes. In fact, you may struggle to make them. That’s OK. Like many things in life, change takes time. With consistency, a realistic perspective, and a dedication to reach your goals, these changes will become the norm in your life and you will be able to set your sights on future improvements.
– Just remember that making changes doesn’t mean suffering and being miserable. To make the change stick, you will have to be strict with yourself and stick to the plan. However, a well designed plan will have some leeway, and incorporate FUN and enjoyment into the schedule. Without this, the plan will rarely be sustainable over the long-term and chance of relapse to old habits is very high.
To learn more about Metabolic Typing and find out how you can have one of our Lifestyle Coaches guide you through the challenges of learning and understanding how to eat right for your metabolism in any situation, just send us an email with more questions.