Are you someone who works out regularly and is still having trouble dropping your overall body fat. Have you looked at your diet? You might be trying to outrun a poor diet and failing miserably to win that race.
“I exercise because I love dessert.”
“So I can eat whatever I want.”
These are dangerous statements in the world of health and wellness. When exercising to lose weight, you simply cannot outrun your fork. You do not lose weight by hitting the gym or going for a run. Eating and exercise go hand in hand.
Diet is the majority of the work
If you are performing hours of cardio, lifting weights, attending a daily fitness class, or walking every day yet not seeing the results you expect, then diet is the problem not your exercise routine.
Most people think a calorie deficit is the only way to lose weight. The “Exercise More, Eat Less” mentality can be dangerous. In reality, the more you exercise the more fuel your body demands.
Start by keeping a food journal for 3 days. Journaling is five minutes of work, a couple of times a day, that clinical studies have proven will double your weight loss. Once you see what is actually going into your body, it will be easier to make smarter choices.
Clean Eating Makeover
Give your kitchen a clean eating make over. Pick a few items from each section of the Clean Eating Shopping List and starting cooking meals from whole, fresh, natural ingredients. Processed foods are not good fuel. Stick with plenty of water, protein shakes and fresh fruit smoothies, a fiber and protein packed breakfast, lean meats and fresh salads, seafood, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
Size matters. Portion control is a major culprit in weight loss and management. Most people don’t realize they are eating 2, 3, even 4 servings at a time! Get in the habit of checking nutrition labels or consult this handy chart on serving size.
When you are exercising regularly and providing you body proper nutrition, your metabolism will be kicked into high gear which means you are going to be burning through calories faster than ever! Remember to snack wisely. Try greek or coconut yogurt with natural granola, a banana or apple slices with nut butter, veggies and hummus, whole-grain crackers with all-natural peanut butter, string cheese, or a handful of nuts and seeds.
Eat After You Exercise
You absolutely need to refuel your body in order for it to function properly and to see results. To help your muscles recover and to replace their glycogen stores, eat a meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates within one hour of your fitness session, if possible. Try turkey and cheese roll ups with apple slices, a whole wheat english muffin with peanut butter and sliced banana, a handful of almonds with yogurt with berries, or scrambled eggs and whole wheat toast. If you can’t stomach a meal, a protein shake is an excellent option.
Banish Sugary Drinks
There is no such thing as moderation with soda. Do yourself a huge favor and slowly wean yourself off this heath-destroying drink. Your liver responds to soda by turning extra sugar into fat. Gatorade, energy drinks, and pre-made iced teas fall into the same category. They usually contain sugar, artificial ingredients, and coloring. Instead, try herbal teas, infused water, coconut water (coconut water has more natural electrolytes than Gatorade), unsweetened almond or coconut milk, kombucha, or regular H20 with added NUUN tablets for flavor and electrolytes.
When it comes to eating and exercise, everyone is different. Pay attention to how you feel during the day and before and after your workout. Look at your overall performance, strength, endurance, and monitor headaches or specific times when you are hungry. Let your experience guide you on which pre and post exercise eating habits work best for you.
Consider writing in your food journal how your body reacts to meals and snacks so that you can tweak your diet for optimal performance.