Good nutrition. Eating clean. A healthy diet. No matter how you say it, it might just be the most important thing that you can do for your health and your physique. Achieving a fitness goal, no matter what it is, starts in the kitchen. The problem is that we are fed (pun definitely intended) a plate full (sorry I can’t help it) of misinformation. Between what we hear on day time talk shows and all the best selling diet books, it’s no wonder we are so lost as a nation when it comes to food. It’s time someone stuck a fork in it (okay that’s the last one I promise).
The key to understanding nutrition is to understand the principles of good nutrition. Every diet, every program, every gimmick being pushed on the interwebs, TV and radio all deal with strategies. They deal with tactics. And here’s the thing. They all work. Or they have worked for someone which is why they are popular. So, the key to doing what works is two-fold:
- Understand the principles behind good nutrition
- choose the tactics or strategies that will work for you
- Eat appropriate portion sizes relevant to your goal. If you want your body weight to go up, you need to eat more. If you want your body weight to go down, you need to eat less. Yes it’s that simple. Remember the tricky part is finding the tactics that work for you.
- Eat enough protein to support your goal and a healthy body composition (meaning fat weight to non-fat weight ratio). This is typically 1-2 palm size portions with every meal.
- Eat appropriate amounts of healthy starches. If you are concerned about losing body fat, this might need to be less than what you are currently doing. If you are relatively sedentary or don’t train very hard, this might need to be less than what you are currently doing. That said, if you train hard relatively often, then not having starches in your diet in reasonable amounts would be a mistake.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. These foods are nutrition powerhouses. They are full of vitamins and minerals and don’t break the bank in terms of calories. You should probably have more vegetables than fruits. That said, if you can’t see your toes, it’s not because you ate too many apples.
- Drink more water and beverages without calories. A great place to start is two liters but the ideal place to land is half your body weight in ounces. If you are a two-hundred pound guy, then 100 ounces of water is the goal. Cutting out calorie laden beverages is also an easy way to reduce your calorie intake. I like easy.
Here’s the deal folks. They all work. So, you have to find the right one for you. I am a fan of intermittent fasting (IF). Why? Is it because I believe it’s the holy grail of dieting? Do I believe it will cure cancer, re-balance your hormones and make rainbows fly out of your backside? No. It’s an easy way to reduce caloric intake without having to think too much about it.
It’s like batching your other work categories. If you are reading this site, then you have probably have a career or maybe even your own business. You have probably seen “productivity tips” like batching where you deal with deal with things like your emails all at one time and then move on to something else. That’s kind of what IF does for me. It also allows me to be a little more flexible with food choices. This past summer, I went on vacation to the beach with my family. There were three ice cream shops within walking distance of where we stayed. We tried all three of them. You know, for research purposes. I actually came back a pound lighter than when we left. So IF works.
Do I believe it’s for everyone? Nope. But, that’s the beauty of understanding nutritional principles. They allow you to filter what works and what doesn’t and pick the path that is best for you.