You’ve mastered the squat.
Last week, you got your first strict pullup.
Running 3 miles non-stop…heck you can do that in your sleep.
Your fitness has drastically improved since you first started, but…..that pesky body fat.
You just can’t seem to shake those last couple of pounds off of your frame, no matter how much your body improves its capacity for work.
The answer, friend, is food.
Proper nutrition habits are essential for fueling new breakthroughs in training and lifestyle.
The only problem is that there are so many diet plans, templates, and websites floating around the Internet that you might not know where to start. Some say high carbs, low fat. Others say eat only vegetables. Drink only juice, eat only meat, fast every other day….on and on and on.
If fat loss and or improved health markers is your goal, there are three key principles that you should apply to your daily eating habits. (*Note: If improved athletic PERFORMANCE is you goal, the nutritional demands change.)
- Food hygiene is paramount.
- How many of your meals do you cook at home? The more you control the actual event of cooking is the first step towards getting more nutrients out of your food. When we cook our food with love and attention, the smelling of the food, the patience involved with preparation causes digestion to start before we even eat; we are better primed to absorb our foods before we actually eating.
- Be sure to chew your food thoroughly. Pound for pound the masseter muscle is the strongest muscle in your body. Why not use it to its fullest? More thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest in your gut.
- Eat more fat.
- While eating carbohydrate is essential, a lot of the time we eat too much of it. The excess carbohydrate that our body can’t store in muscle or liver glycogen gets turned into fat. If we have accumulated excess bodyfat, more carbs are not the answer. More fat is. How? After a meal high in carbohydrate, our insulin levels skyrocket. Insulin is a storage hormone that is responsible for shuttling blood glucose to the liver. The only problem is that the liver is pretty lousy at storing loads of glycogen. But don’t worry, the body won’t waste anything. The glycogen that can’t be stored in the muscles or the liver, will then be transformed into bodyfat for longer term storage. When insulin levels are high and energy is constantly trying to be “stored”, we can’t access the loads of energy that are sitting on our frame. And boy do we have lots of it. In 1 pound of bodyfat, there sits 3500 calories waiting to be used. So how do we get to all of that potential energy? Well, we can try extended fasts to help lower insulin and blood sugar (more on that in another post…) or we can switch to a diet higher in fat.
- Veggies with every meal.
- Piggy backing off of point two, we need to keep our carbohydrates low if we want to help burn excess bodyfat. Vegetables are great sources of low glycemic carbohydrate; they take longer to digest than starches and sugar. Plus, they have loads of phytochemicals which have a number of benefits ranging from hormonal regulation to improving our cells’ integrity. The roughage in vegetables is also great “pre-biotic” food for your body’s gut bacteria. We have millions of bacteria coexisting with our own cells. Through thousands of years, we have evolved to have a mutually beneficial relationship. Some bacteria help regulate brain and nervous system function. Others help us digest our food. Feeding your gut with vegetables stimulates the growth of bacteria that are helpful to your overall health and vitality.
Long term health and vitality is the result of good stress management, a focused and balanced exercise regimen, and a nutrition protocol that is focused around the unique needs of the individual. Implement these three SIMPLE changes to your nutrition habits today!