As a gym rat who has learned a great deal about nutrition, I wanted to share some nutrition tips. I am not a licensed personal trainer or dietician but after doing lots of research on both subjects, I have learned a great deal. These ideas are based on personal experiences as well as research, a nutrition course I passed in college, and a visit to the nutritionist. Consult with your doctor to see the best diet/lifestyle for you.
- If you eat less, yes you will lose weight but you can also SLOW DOWN your metabolism. In the long run, this can potentially lead to eating disorders, restrictive dieting, and potentially weight gain. Keeping a food diary can be beneficial if you tend to mindless snack or binge, but eating less has a lot more negatives than positives. The app MyFitnessPal has its pluses and minuses. For example, some peers and I faced a downward spiral by using that app. The app told us that we should only be consuming 1200 calories a day. If you are an active young adult, your metabolism is pretty fast and 1200 calories a day is not substantial. Ultimately, the calorie counting and restrictive dieting made me lose a lot of weight. It was unhealthy, my hair thinned out, my nails became brittle, and I was tired all the time. Do not let this happen to you. After visiting my nutritionist, she told me about 1850 calories a day is normal for me to maintain my weight. I was shocked! I also found that when I ate more, I had more muscle definition and WAY more energy. My abs grew in and my hard work at the gym was noticeable. I was less cranky, and my body went from a thin, childlike appearance to a more womanly appearance.
- Restrictive Dieting. If you have a food allergy or a intolerance, skip this tip. If you do not, and are simply trying to be “gluten free” or “dairy free” then keep reading. Majority of high quality protein powders have dairy in them. I use a whey protein powder in the morning and consume slow churned or halo top ice cream on a regular basis. The “gluten free” trend is another one that you might want to avoid when trying to lose weight. Based on personal experience at the grocery store, many gluten free products are often HIGHER in calories. Eating whole foods can help with weight loss, but eating gluten free substitutes of bread, cake, etc may lead to weight gain. Additionally, restrictive dieting can lead to binges. Based on the experiences of my peers, restriction on “unhealthy foods” i.e. white bread, pizza, bagels, cookies, ice cream, hamburgers, junk food, has led to late night bingeing, eating in private, and feeling ashamed later on. When you restrict your bodies cravings, it will only want it more. Rather than cutting these foods out, have a small piece of whatever you’re craving. Also, fill up on nutritious foods first. When your finally ready for dessert, you will be so full from your nutritious meal that you will not have much room for the treats. If you find you are filling up on treats, then you may not be eating enough throughout the day.
- Green Tea, cinnamon, coffee, almonds, and high fiber foods are a must. Honestly, these products have been the best for me in terms of regulating blood sugar, feeling fuller longer, and having more energy. I definitely recommend incorporating them into your diet. For example, I start everyday with a water bottle. Yes, I drink an entire water bottle before breakfast. This may be the reason my family thinks I am part-fish. It helps boost the metabolism and wakes me up for the day. Then comes coffee or green tea. I usually have a protein shake with almond milk, oats, and some fruit to jumpstart my day. I also enjoy protein pancakes or omletes. High fiber foods can be found all over- fruits, veggies, and even in high-fiber packaged products. I personally enjoy high fiber english muffins or fiber roll ups. Also, adding cinnamon to a sweet potato or even in your popcorn makes a big difference!
4. The best kept secret is MACRONUTRIENTS and their importance in weight loss, muscle gain, and maintenance. IIFYM.com provides a great background on this topic and can even calculate your personal numbers. Basically, macronutrients include protein, fat, and carbs. Eating clean is very important for health reasons, but ultimately, macronutrients are the key to building your body. By following iifym, you can eat a piece of cake or that giant cookie and not have to worry. You truly can enjoy your “treat yo self” moments when you follow your macronutrient numbers.
Hopefully, this opened your mind to different ways to look at dieting and a healthy lifestyle. I see a lot of people struggle with weight loss, even after they are putting hours of work in at the gym. Diet is a big part of weight loss/muscle gain and I have learned a lot over the years. Please do not make the same mistakes I did, I can not wait to see all you accomplish!
**This is a personal post, results may vary per person. Please consult a doctor to see what is best for you.**