Personal Nutrition – Discovering What Works For YOU
The best way to get lean and healthy is to develop a realistic and sustainable eating plan that works for you based on your specific goals, lifestyle management, and movement habits. If it’s not realistic and sustainable it will not work. Safe, long lasting fat loss occurs at about 1-3 lbs per week. When starting this plan, it’s best to evaluate your home and/or work environments; the place where you spend the most time. Plan ahead to get where you want to go with the fat loss. Do you have the support and the daily details of what you need to get where you want to go? All things you must ask yourself when getting started if you want real lasting results.
To lose fat you must create a caloric deficit, meaning you must burn more calories than you take in. We all have a resting metabolism- this is the number of calories you will use without exercising; just laying in bed all day. For example, my resting metabolism is around 1700 calories per day. Think of them as maintenance calories. Then we have the calories that we consume during movement or exercise. So we add these up to give us an idea of how much we replace- based on our goal. They are just estimates as tracking tools can differ greatly. But you do need to track them in the short term to help develop an intuitive understanding of how much and what you need to eat (or stay away from) to get to your desired goal. Track how many grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrates you are eating. Log how you feel from eating that day. These details are vital in creating a plan that works for you.
Counting calories; yes it sucks! But you must embrace this suck. If fat loss were supposed to be easy then everyone would do it. At the end of the day, building the habits and mental toughness to develop self-control and discipline is essential to transforming your body and keeping your progress. Don’t worry, it’ll get easier.
Food Awareness and Accountability
Developing Awareness and Accountability; When you track your food you’ll begin to proactively analyze your food decisions before you eat, leading to better decisions. Often times people think they’re doing everything right. Then, we track our calories and discover we’re adding 400 calories of olive oil to meals, eating a few extra handfuls of nuts, or drastically underrating protein. This can be the difference between thinking you’re spot on with your diet and not seeing results. You don’t need to track calories all the time or forever. But if you’re not making the progress you want, do it. Is it going to be that “one more thing” you need to do? Yes. But it might be the most important thing you can do to get on track and start making progress. Once you’ve tracked for a few weeks, you’ll be pretty good at intuitive eating and set up habits to lose fat.
You may ask, “But how do I stay motivated for the long term?” Motivation is great, but it’s not what you need to keep going. Some days it will be there, and some days it won’t. Instead of looking for ways to stay motivated, you should look for ways to develop discipline, willpower, and self-control. These are the tools that will give you long-term results. Motivation is the flashy sparkly short-lived mindset. Willpower is the engine, the driver, the “in the trenches” workhorse. Motivation is the spark that starts the flame. Willpower is what makes sure the fire stays hot.
So what works for us? I asked our newest trainer Julie to put together what works for her and this is what she had to say. “What works for me? I had always considered myself to be a “healthy eater.” But a breast cancer diagnosis in 2013 caused me to reconsider everything in my life, including my diet.
With a husband and three young daughters who I fully intended on sticking around for, I began a frightening but passionate search for the best possible outcome to a cancer diagnosis. I was very lucky to find and become a patient at The Block Center For Integrated Cancer Care in Chicago. What I learned in the coming months is that my lifestyle choices during my treatment and continuing for the rest of my life would have a direct effect on the re-occurrence of my cancer. If I wanted to increase the odds of never seeing the disease return, I would have to make many changes in my daily life. Changing my diet was at the top of that list. The Block Center nutrition plan includes a vegan diet, no sugar or artificial sweeteners, and staying away from processed foods. Intermittent fasting is also a part of the plan. So most days, I have a protein shake or branch chain amino acids during the daytime hours and eat one large meal in the evening and a snack before bedtime. My window of fasting is about 20 hours every day. My diet is filled with vegetables and fruit, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, grains and plant protein sources. I am four years out of my diagnosis and I can honestly say that I don’t miss any of the foods I no longer eat. I feel stronger both mentally and physically at 49 than I felt at 29! People often comment that a vegan diet must make me feel deprived and suppressed, which is funny to me because I actually feel more fulfilled and empowered by this nutrition than I ever imagined I could!”
For me, I like to eat a high salad and veggie diet with a good amount of animal meat, fish, poultry, potatoes- various kinds, eggs, nuts, seeds, cheese, butter and some berries and fruit. I’m not a big breakfast eater, so I usually eat a lighter lunch with a larger meal or meals at night. I look for the most humanely raised, locally produced foods available. Real foods that I process and cook myself and can find out where it’s from. To me, this is a mental key. Knowing I am eating high-quality foods. I feel so much better when I eat lots of salads, veggies, and plants. These are very important to us humans because of the water, vitamin and mineral contents. The body will absorb those best from real food sources. I also enjoy pizza, cheeseburgers, fries, cookies, ice cream and all the “junk foods” we grew up on (but I make a lot of these myself as well). I love a (or a few) good beer(s) as well. When I eat foods that are full of vitamins and minerals I don’t eat or crave as much of the junk because I’m just not hungry. This goes back to the vitamin and mineral content shutting off the hormonal responses of hunger. When you eat better foods you eat less. I thought I was eating “healthy” foods, but the way I felt and how I looked told a different story. I tracked all my foods for about 3 months straight in 2012. Doing this made me completely aware of the choices I was making leading to easy fat loss but most importantly a better mindset and mood. If you do this, it will work for you too!
So there you have it. Decide on a goal. Check your environments. Take inventory. Embrace the suck. Build awareness, willpower and be accountable to yourself. Eat real food. Train at SOS. Feel great!
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