The other day I was talking to a friend of mine and she was explaining to me about her weight loss struggles. ?Here’s the thing, she’s not overweight, but it was a concern of hers. ?That’s totally understandable, at some point we all find ourselves looking in the mirror wanting to be a certain size or wanting our body to look a certain way.
It’s human nature to want to feel attractive, and more importantly feel comfortable with yourself. ?But anyways, to stay on topic, she had began exercising three to four days a week pretty intensely. ?But after a couple of months– still just not satisfied.
So I asked about her eating habits, and she says, “I eat a fiber bar and a couple of tangerines for breakfast. ?Then for lunch I eat a mini-sub from a shop close to work.”
Just from looking at her breakfast and lunch, I would be ready to eat just about anything around 10am. ?Just not enough food for me.
As she kept telling me about her meals, I noticed a reoccurring issue that she had with maintaining her eating program. ?So next she tells me about this urge that happens about twice a week after work. ?She says, “I feel so much better when I don’t overeat through out the day, but man, when I get home I’m starving. ?I ate the rest of my bag of popcorn, and had a couple Reese’s Buttercups. ?I was just too hungry, I had eat something.”
So I listened and I thought to myself about my own experiences….
One of two things would happen. ?Either I would wait so long to eat, that when I finally ate, I would eat anything in sight regardless if it was healthy or not. ?Or the other situation that I would find myself in, I would start getting a migraine from not eating. ?After that I had no choice but to eat whatever I could get my hands on.
The pulse of a migraine totally kills the day and any ambitious thoughts. ?In order to prevent that I would eat anything.
Here’s my lesson learned:
When you put yourself in that position, you have no control over what you eat. ?You kinda have to eat whatever you can, when you can, and spur of the moment decisions very often are not the best decisions.
Here’s my philosophy.
I believe in eating a balanced diet low in sugar and sodium. ?And a balanced diet consists of a mix of protein, carbs, and fats– the right type of fats though. ?Something like avocados or nuts.
But let’s break this down. ?In order to put the right fuel in your body you have to understand what protein, carbohydrates, and fats are. ?For a long time I had absolutely no clue and I had very little structure to my diet. ?At the time I was playing a college sport, the training for my sport gave me the freedom to eat whatever I wanted with no problem. ?Now that I’ve been out of college for a while, gaining weight has become easy.
For that reason I try to structure my meals and eat with balance.
Protein is one of the building blocks that your body needs in order to function properly. ?It helps to build muscle, strengthen bones, and believe it or not it plays a major role in your hormones.
Some common sources of protein that most of us are familiar with are beef, chicken, turkey, and pork. ?As we learn more about food we are becoming conscious of the meats we eat and the effects of it on our body as well as the environmental effects that are associated with the production of meat.
There’s so much conflicting information about food right now it’s really frustrating and confusing. ?Some people push for the consumption of vegetable protein and other alternative sources, and some still preach the benefits of eating animal protein.
I’m not entirely sure what is the right way, but the approach that I feel comfortable with is consuming organic, grass-fed meats. ?Sure it’s more expensive, but in this case, I’m okay with paying a little more for lean meats that are healthier for me.
I’ll speak for myself here, but I’ve tried to go vegetarian. ?Maybe I didn’t do it the right way, but for whatever reason I could never satisfy my hunger. ?In fact, the night hunger overtook me, I cooked myself a steak. ?And all of a sudden the hunger was gone and I was satisfied.
Months later I think I know why the hunger subsided once I ate the meat. ?As I mentioned before protein is essential providing us with the nutrients that we need for our body. ?When consumed, protein can trigger a hormone called leptin. Leptin is the hormone that tells us that we are full and had enough to eat. I’m assuming I wasn’t eating the right mix of foods to fully satisfy my body.
The typical diet consists of plenty of protein, but where we falter is our consumption of carbohydrates. ?You’ll learn that Carbs are a very good thing and we actually need them. So let’s talk about it.
Did you know that veggies and fruits were classified as carbs. ?I can’t speak for you, but for a long time I didn’t fully understand what a carb was. I thought of it as only bread and pastas. I had no clue how vegetables and fruits were classified, I just knew you needed to eat them because they were good for you.
I often hear about the low carb diets and that steered me towards the thinking of reducing my bread intake, which that is probably something you should consider, but do you really think you need to stop eating fresh fruits and vegetables. NO.
Instead let’s examine our consumption of breads, pastas, white rice, and junk foods. ?These carbs are the real enemy in the room. ?They are high in calories, high sugar content, and offer little to our bodies in terms of the nutrients that we need.
These foods are some of the most satisfying foods when it comes to taste but, let’s consider the affects to us as we eat these things. ?Our blood sugar spikes, giving us a surge of energy or better known as a “sugar rush”. ?As our blood sugar spikes, our body produces the hormone called insulin which stores the sugars for a later use.
When the sugar (glucose) is stored, it’s stored one of two ways. ?Number one…It’s stored for our muscles, or in our liver for later use. ?And number two the excess that we don’t use gets converted as unwanted fat.
In most cases we are consuming entirely too much sugar, more that what our body can use, and that excess ends up being stored as fat.
Carbohydrates gives us the energy to get through the day. ?And you need that.
If your wondering about the sugar in fruits, that’s a little different. The sugars in fruits are not highly refined sugar therefore they don’t enter our blood stream as fast. ?When we consume fruit, the rise of blood sugar levels and the production of insulin are produced at a rate that is normal for our body.
The last category is about fat. ?Believe it or not fat has it’s place in your life. ?But only in moderation.
There are basically four types of fats that we nee to be concerned with. ?Two are good and two are pretty darn bad for you. ?When it comes to fats in our diet our body needs it, but we still have to consume it in moderation.
So we have:
1. Trans Fat
2. Saturated Fat
3. Monounsaturated Fat
4. Polyunsaturated Fat
The first two on the list you want to limit your intake of, and the Trans Fat?you really want to stay away from that one. ?Saturated fat?is fat that comes primarily from animal sources. Such as beef, pork, cheese, and other dairy products.
Here’s the thing though, if you focus on eating a balanced diet, the saturated fats will not affect you tremendously, but none the less, we need to be aware of our consumption of these fats.
Trans fats are fats that are mostly man-made. Man-made trans fats adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make the fat more solid. The primary source of such fats would be in processed foods.
Trans fats increases our risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Now to the good stuff…
Monounsaturated fats are great substitutes for trans fats and saturated fats. ?In moderation monounsaturated fats can actually lower your cholesterol and decrease your risk of heart disease.
In order to even be aware of monounsaturated fats, you gotta know what foods contain monounsaturated fats. And mostly it would be your cooking oils. ?Olive oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, and also avocados are great sources of monounsaturated fats.
Polyunsaturated fats has some of the same benefits to your body as monounsaturated fat. Lowering your cholesterol, reducing your risk of heart disease. ?Here’s something about polyunsaturated fats, they contain essential fatty acids that your body needs, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish such as wild caught salmon, mackerel, and sardines. ?Flaxseed and walnuts are also good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-6 fatty acids are found in vegetable oils like safflower oil, sunflower oil, and corn oils.
That’s All Folks
So that’s my run down on Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats. ?Basically it’s the fuel we are putting in our body. ?Every person has different needs in terms of portion size, nutrition timing, and even the kinds of foods we eat.
I just think that having this basic foundation of categorizing food gives you a template as to what you should be eating daily. ?So try it out, try new foods, and see how you feel.
Remember your human, if you slip and eat bad one day, get over it and start over.
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