Are you sabotaging your hard work at the fitness centre?
You work out like a maniac. You strength train, you walk miles and miles on the treadmill. You should be losing weight, right? Well maybe not if you are forgetting or perhaps ignoring proper nutrition.
When you start a fitness program, you may initially lose weight just by virtue of burning exercise calories exclusively. If you eat more as a reward for working out, eat the wrong foods, or even eat too little, you could very possibly be putting up a roadblock to future success with weight loss or maintenance.
I recommend keeping a food journal for at least 5 days during a typical period. Write down everything you eat or drink, including water. A nutritionist or dietician can analyze the results and give recommendations; however, with the internet resources available there are many excellent, educational sites available to help you with nutrition.
As a personal trainer, I recommend that my clients follow the Canada food guide. The guide is available at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index_e.html. It has been recently updated, and the website is extremely informative. You can even input your own age and the foods you like and the guide comes out in a personalized format that you can print off! The site has a lot of information regarding serving sizes, meal planning and even exercise recommendations.
Plan your meals in advance. Have healthy snacks ready to go. Make extra servings of dinners so you can freeze them for use on busy nights instead of eating fast food.
Watch your serving sizes!! This is a big issue with most of us. Did you grow up with the ‘eat what’s on your plate’ mandate? From the time we were small children we were told to eat three times a day, not because we were hungry but because that’s just the way it was done.
I always ask my clients to use a smaller plate for their meals. Cumulatively think about the savings in excess calories just be doing this one thing! Chances are you are not eating everything on that dinner plate because you are hungry. You eat it all because it is on your plate and that is a habit. Put portions onto plates instead of leaving serving dishes on the table.
Eat breakfast. Eliminate unhealthy, processed foods that are filled with empty calories, saturated fats, excessive chemicals and sodium. Read the labels on your foods. Purge your kitchen of the bad foods and make a fresh start.
Don’t try to lose more than about one to one and a half pounds per week. There are 3500 calories in a pound. If you can create a deficit of just a few hundred calories per day via good nutrition and exercise you will see steady lasting weight loss.
One last thing: don’t diet! Don’t completely deny yourself of the things you enjoy, but instead practice moderation. Eat more of the good stuff and you may be surprised that you will lose your taste for high fat processed foods. No one will stay on a diet of chicken, rice and egg whites or no carbs or grapefruit only for the rest of their lives. Typical fad diets will produce temporary weight loss. The problem is that when the diet ends and normal eating returns the metabolism will be slower. Not only will the original weight be gained back, but extra weight will be gained in response to the dieting.
A diet has a beginning and an end. A healthy eating plan is forever.