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I wanted to start by giving a little background on how I started creating a better relationship with food. When I first started my fitness journey, like most people, I didn’t know that proper nutrition was needed in order for me to achieve my goals.
I was that person you saw hiking every Sunday and going to my kickboxing classes then having a few slices of pies or going through the McDonald’s drive-thru right after my classes.
At this time in my life, for someone that has been in the military for a few years, I was active enough to do the requirements that were needed to pass our semi annual physical fitness test and to show up to physical training every morning and do my best. There was one thing that stood out to me though and that was that I was always tired throughout the day, lack of energy and constantly feeling bloated.
One day, as I watching tv and I saw a commercial with a group of Crossfit girls at a Crossfit competition and thought to myself, “ Wow these women look phenomenal and is it even possible to look like them?” I decided to google ‘cross-fit near me’, long story short, I joined a Crossfit class and that is when I was introduced to how proper nutrition can be beneficial to achieve my current goals.
After my 8 weeks of training and incorporating the things I learned about nutrition, I decided to see some amazing results that I’ve never seen before. And it’s true what they say “Once you see results, it becomes an addiction” and that it was. I decided to start doing my own research on weight training and experimenting with different food groups. I started tracking the food I ate to keep myself accountable.
Throughout my journey, there were many times that I wasn’t consistent and decided to revert back to my old habits and I want you to know that it’s OK if that happens, in fact, it probably will happen. You will start over so many times but the willingness and drive to keep going is what matters.
I recommend starting small. Deciding to change your eating habits shouldn’t feel like a punishment and going cold turkey is the worst thing you can do. Start cutting things off slowly and limiting your intakes every week. For example, the hardest thing for me to cut off was soda and it was the first thing I tackled. I love ginger-ale and I used to drink 4-5 cans or 20 oz bottles a day. So I started limiting that two 2 cans a day, then every other day, and slowly removing it completely and replacing with flavored water.
There are certain nutrients that your body needs and one of them is proteins. Protein provides the building blocks of the body, for instance, every cell, from bone to skin to hair, contains protein. You need a variety of amino acids for your body to function properly and proteins are made up of different amino acids. While the body can create some amino acids on its own, there are many essential amino acids that can only come from food and supplements. While meat, fish, and eggs are good sources of protein, you can also get protein from plant sources like beans, soy, nuts, and some grains.
I know carbs are considered something that people want to stay away from these days to lose more weight, but I’m here to tell you that carbs are necessary for a healthy body and the type of carb you eat matters. Carbs fuel your body, especially your central nervous system and brain, and protect against diseases. Focus on incorporating healthy carb sources like whole grains, beans, and fiber-rich vegetables instead of refined grains and products with added sugar and definitely try to stay away from the white bread and pasta.
Fats also get a bad rap as well as carbs but fats are just as necessary. Fat is high in calories, but those calories are an important energy source for your body. Unsaturated fats are important for your body because they provide essential fatty acids that your body doesn’t produce. Some of the healthy fats that I eat are nuts, fish, avocado, and the oils that I use to cook like avocado and grape-seed oil. Try to avoid trans fats and limit your intake of saturated animal-based fats like red meat, butter, and cheese.
Vitamins and Minerals:
These two often get overlooked as something needed to stay healthy. There are 13 essential vitamins that the body needs to function properly, including vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and B vitamins. They all have different benefits like helping you boost your immune system, helps with energy, and helping you resist infections. Some of the most common minerals are calcium and iron. Eating a variety of vegetables and fruits, and having an overall well balanced diet will be beneficial. Incorporating supplements can also help as well. I currently take Vitamin C, D, and B7.
You can go for weeks without food, but you can’t last more than a few days without water. Water is absolutely crucial for every system in your body. I know it may be hard for most to drink water so try adding zero calories sweetener, fruits, or even bcaa to your jug of water. That definitely helps me on the days that I don’t feel like drinking only water. Fruits and vegetables can also be a great source of water intake.
Now let’s talk about one of the most difficult things to do when trying to figure out how much we should eat in order to lose weight or gain healthy weight and that’s calculating how much you should eat. When trying to lose weight, a general rule of thumb is to reduce your calorie intake to 500 fewer calories than your body needs to maintain your current weight. This will help you lose about 1 pound of body weight per week.
In order to know the exact amount of calories that you should eat and the amount of proteins, fats, and carbs that you should eat, you will have to calculate your food intake. I want to break down how to calculate your macros but it may become confusing so instead I will share some apps that I used before to track my calorie intake and determine my macro according to my current goal. ‘Macro tracker’ is by far the best app to me. You can enter your height, weight, and age. Activity levels play a huge part because you will need to calculate how much calories you’re burning.
Lastly, your weight goal will have to be entered. It will break down how much protein, fat, and carbs you will need to consume and how much you have consumed for the day by logging your food intake. Two other popular apps that I have tried are ‘myfitnesspal’ and ‘life sum’. Good luck with you journey. You got this! And if you need help getting there, be sure to check out my fitness guides here.