I’m dedicating this week to diet and weight loss. Whether you are dieting for the first time or you are just wanting to tweak your diet, I will be giving you tips to help make dieting easier and more rewarding.
Carbs Are Evil
The media has plastered a message across the globe that carbs are bad. So much so, some people are terrified of them. Ironically, those same people are eating the heck out of carbs and just don’t know it because they aren’t one of the obvious “bad” carbs. Sure, french fries are carbs but so are fruit and veggies. The problem is, many people are eating too many unhealthy carbs and not enjoying the benefit of the heathy ones.
Food = Fuel
Before you can even think of changing your food habits, you have to change your mind. From this day forward, start thinking of food as fuel. Although food does taste good, it’s purpose is to fuel you. How your body runs is determined by the food you eat. If you eat like crap, you’ll feel like crap – and you might not even realize it because you’ve never eaten healthy enough, consistently enough, to tell the difference. Start asking yourself “what does my body need?” instead of “what does my tongue want to taste?”. When you give your body what it needs, you will find you’ll feel better and feel more satisfied.
What are Carbs Good For?
Carbohydrates are one of the best sources of fuel – that’s why athletes carb up before their big day. You don’t see them loading up on chicken and steak before the race, you see them eating a big bowl of pasta and bread. Carbs fuel you to work, play and train well. However, how much energy do you need to sleep? What kind of carb-loading do you need to snore? None! Yet, this is when many people eat the biggest, high-carb meals.
Carbs: It’s All About WHEN You Eat Them
This graph will give you a visual of how you can fuel your body through out the day. First, there’s protein (in red). Protein is so important, but it’s not a great fuel source – however, it’s essential for muscle repair, which is primarily done while we sleep. Fat (yellow), is a good lasting energy source, should stay consistent throughout the day. It also helps slow digestion, helping us stay fuller longer, as well as absorb more nutrients. Lastly, carbohydrates are your best source for fuel. Since you don’t need a lot of fuel to sleep, I recommend decreasing carbs at night. (This doesn’t mean you don’t have ANY protein or carbs during at those time, you just don’t need as much)
The Good News
If you thought you were going to have to give up pasta and potatoes – think again! You can eat all your favorite yummies during the morning and daytime (as long as they are within your caloric budget for the day) and just cut them back at night. So instead of eating that salad at lunch, eat your higher carb meals, like sandwiches, wraps, pasta, etc) during the day, saving salads and greens for the evening. You’ll have more energy during the day and you’ll be less likely to store fat from unused carbohydrates at bedtime.
Tips for Meal Planning
Low Calorie Vegetables (great for dinner sides)
TIP: Dark Green Veggies are always a safe bet!
Mustard or Turnip Greens
Sea Vegetables (Nori, etc)
High Carb Foods (best for breakfast, lunch & snacks)
TIP: If it’s light in color doesn’t mean it’s light in calories.
Whole Grain Pasta
Whole Grain Bread
Rice (white & brown)
Beans/Chick Peas/Black Eyed Peas
Whole Grain Cereal
Cream of Wheat
Remember, dieting is all about calories in vs. calories out. If you have never counted calories before (and even if you’re stubborn and don’t want to count calories) be sure to read yesterday’s 7 DAY DIET: How to Make Your Own Meal Plan blog. This blog will help you learn how to get started.
NOTE: Another great time to have protein is RIGHT AFTER a workout. There are a lot more tips to share, and as with everything, exceptions to the rule – so please realize I’m trying to keep things simple. More tips to come!
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