An updated version of this post can be found in the drop down menu at the top of the page under “Be More Series.” It will continue to be updated as information is uncovered in that location, but will remain the same here.
Health. The internal condition of your body. The most important thing to your daily functions and, unfortunately, the most commonly overlooked. Do you want to lose weight? You need to eat healthier. Do you want more energy? Try eating healthier. Sick a lot? Cannot guarantee it is not something more, but might want to try eating healthier in addition to going to the doctor if it is something severe. Food and Beverages are fuel for your body…if you put the good stuff in, you get better results. Here are just some of my own pointers based on my experience and research.
1. Drink Water – It used to be said to drink 8-glasses of water per day. Good starting, but now it is more accurate to divide your weight by 2 and drink that much water in ounces. So, if you weight 140lbs, you should be drinking 70 ounces of water per day. “But water is boring!” “I don’t like it!” Try it for a while…if you need to add flavor, cut up some fresh fruit and throw it in (I discourage using the powder and drop additives because it adds a lot of other stuff you do not need). It is AMAZING the difference being properly hydrated can make. Skin is clearer, old injuries hurt less, more energy, better muscle repair rate…the list goes on. DRINK WATER!
2. Eat a Balanced Diet – I am not going to tell you what to eat, because we all have different food sensitivities and preferences. However, you need to balance out the main nutrients: Protein, Fat, and Carbohydrates. How much of each you should be getting will be a personal discovery. Someone who is dancing six days a week will have different nutrient needs than someone who sits on the couch all day. Do the research, find your percentages, balance them out. Do not cut all of one out either…the idea that carbs or bad has been smashed into our heads for years. They are not. Refined carbs are bad, but if you switch to whole grains…not so much. Fruits and vegetables also have a lot of carbs, and sugar, but they are natural, and easier for your body to break down.
3. Reduce Sugar and Junk/Eat More Naturally – Get all the crap out of your diet. I know you love your soda, but it does SO MUCH damage to your body, and seriously, there are numerous stories of people losing a lot of weight just by cutting out soda. Stop with the processed food. Cut out as many of the synthetic chemicals you can (yes, I realize that everything is a chemical, which is why I specify synthetic). Eat fresher foods and not foods that would survive a nuclear war. Now, you can indulge once in a while. I, personally, have a massive chocolate addiction. It is about moderation here.
4. Reduce Alcohol – Not saying you have to be an abstinent saint here, Jedi CAN drink. Even Obi-Wan indulges in happy hour ever once in a while. Again, moderation. Have a glass of wine with dinner. Go out for drinks with friends every once in a while. However, if you are passing out every night with portions of your memory missing, there may be a problem. Also, there is a difference between drinking and getting drunk. Drinking to the point where you cannot control yourself renders you pretty useless if an emergency arises.
5. Eat Moderately (Calories) – My biggest issue…due to the chocolate. Food is calories. Calories are energy. Energy is fuel for your body. Yes, eat something you like to attain that fuel, but do not overeat. The recommended calorie intake (which I believe is 2K calories) is WAY more than most sedentary people need. I highly recommend getting a calorie tracker like Garmin or Fitbit. They are not EXACT, but they will give you an idea of how many calories you are burning on a daily basis. For women, you should never drop below 1200; for men, I believe it is 1500; but again, it is a personal number. I am burning, on a sedentary day, around 1700 calories. On an active day….I think my record was about 2800 calories. You have to adjust what you eat for higher activity days, but that does not mean you can go to town on the refrigerator.
6. Control Dietary Issues – You might have a gluten intolerance or some other allergy. You might even have something like diabetes. Some issues require medication, though again, I have heard stories of people reversing those issues due to dietary changes. Take the medication when it is crucial, but make the dietary changes as well and strive to be able to phase out the medication if at all possible. I have genetically high cholesterol (thanks Mom and Dad). When I came back from Italy in 2009, my cholesterol was around 380. My doctor did not want to put me on medication because I was still so young, so I focused on changing my diet and the next time I was tested I had dropped to about 280. You are what you eat.
Helpful Links and Apps
MyFitnessPal – I have been using this website/app for AGES. It allows you to set up your own dietary goals, input the food you eat (you can even scan barcodes now), and will tell you where you stand with your goals. You can even choose which nutrients to show (I show Calories, Fat, Carbs, Protein, Fiber, and Cholesterol). MyFitnessPal will also sync up to most fitness trackers to factor in activity level.
Tone It Up – The aesthetics of the site and program are definitely geared towards women, and their Nutrition Plan costs $150, but the food is good for anyone, and you pay once and are a member for life. I am in love with some of their recipes. They post some publicly as well, but I found the investment worth it. I used to hate fish and avocados…they have gotten me hooked on both.
Thug Kitchen – Hilarious recipe’s, language warning. They have three cookbooks out as of October 11th. I have not bought any yet, but I follow them on facebook and like what I have seen.
There area also great posts and inspiration all over Pinterest and Instagram if you look up health and fitness.
Remember two things that I hear all the time from Tone It Up:
You can’t outwork a bad diet.
Abs are made in the gym, but they are revealed in the kitchen.