Today I decide to come up with some healthy eating tips.We often wonder among us personal trainers how come eating is (made) so complicated nowadays. Why is it people are so puzzled when it comes to healthy eating?
When I was growing up during the 70’s we didn’t have hamburger joints. Me and my brother had the pleasure of eating candy once a week and we seldom had any soda in the fridge. It was considered a treat for special occasions. We drank milk! If I remember correctly I had my first pizza when I already was a teenager and a microwave oven came to us when I was in high school. Grocery stores were not filled with dozens of different microwave meals and unhealthy choices. And no, Finland is not a developing country ;O) It was just the way the world was back then.
I learned to appreciate home- made meals as my mom even with a very busy life always had the time to cook us healthy food! Healthy eating started with breakfast. Fat free, low fat, protein-rich, sugar free, added fiber, terms like this were unheard of when I was growing up. We had a very active childhood doing a lot of sports and spending time with friends playing games. Mobile phones and computers were unheard of. Except for Summer Olympics and other exciting games on our Commodore 64 .
Well. I came up with a few reasons why people make bad choices. And feel like crap. Nowadays people live extremely busy lives. And the food industry has realized this. A supermarket is filled with easy choices for busy people. Soooo many choices! There are fast food joints all over the place, it is easy just to drive in and order. Simple and quick, but is that really healthy eating? Maybe not.
Secondly people don’t seem to know how to cook at home or they don’t know what is healthy. Or they claim they are far too busy to cook. So they go and buy what is quickly available for them in order to fill their tummies. Food is flushed down with soda. Come on people!
Third thing I can think of is that people do not understand how much they should eat. They might have been very active when they were younger but haven’t adjusted their eating according to their current activity levels. People sit a lot. On couches, by their laptops, in the car. Inactivity is more common in our modern world with 2/3 of adults being inactive!!!
Fourth reason. Sleeping habits. Yes. Why do I bring sleeping into this? Well. Sleeping well is the cheapest way to a stress-free body and a boost for your metabolism, and key to fat loss. A stressed body gathers excess weight and when stressed and tired people tend to make worse eating decisions.
But even if there is a lot for the food industry to blame it is still YOU who makes the choices. It is YOU who puts the food in your mouth. And you can change with a few healthy eating tips I put together. It is simple. It only takes one person to change your life: YOU!
10 Essential Healthy Eating Tips.
Tip No.1 – Eat breakfast.
Always start your day with a breakfast. Your body is recovering during the night and it is hungry for more energy when you wake up. Unless you feed your body it will slow down your metabolism, a protection mechanism will kick in as your body thinks it is starving and is saving the energy for keeping your body functions going.
If you don’t feel hunger first thing you wake up wait an hour or so and then eat. As long as you eat. Consider breakfast as your most important meal of the day and it can be as big as your lunch in terms of calories! But read more to find out how much and what you should be eating.
Tip No.2 – Know your body type.
Your metabolism is very much determined by your body type. And now you should think of the body type you had when you were young. Knowing your body type is important, as it is the basis for figuring out the best nutrient proposition for you. Number 3 is an important read too.
An ectomorph can be described as thin, often tall, delicately built and lightly muscled. An ectomorph has trouble gaining weight and building muscle. Metabolism is usually fast and he tolerates carbohydrates really well. If an ectomorph starts gathering fat due to bad habits it usually is visible around abdomen. An ectomorph should eat 55% carbs, 30% proteins and 15% fats.
Mesomorphs have an athletic, muscular, rectangular/hour glass shaped body. A mesomorph grows muscle quickly and gains or loses weight easily. When a mesomorph gathers fat it will be stored all over the body. Best fit is 40% carbs, 30% proteins and 30% fats.
An endomorph has a soft, round shaped body with more body fat, bigger bones and is heavier in structure. Generally an endomorph gains both muscle and weight easy but might have trouble losing weight. Excess fat is usuapslly distributed everywhere but especially in the midsection and hips (women). Best diet for an endomorph consists of 25% carbs, 35% protein and 40% fat.
You might be a mix of two different types so then pick the one that is more dominant. And if you have trouble figuring out this yourself then turn to a nutrition specialist for help.
Tip No.3 – Eat according to your goal.
You know your body type. Then next step is to consider what your goal and activity level is. Whether you want to gain or lose weight, build muscle or lose some of that excess fat, or maintain what you have. This has an effect on your meal sizes and nutrient proportion.
Simply put. If you want to lose weight you need to use up more than you put down your mouth. But note that starving yourself is not the answer. You still need to eat to maintain your metabolism and to lose weight! If you want to gain weight you need to eat more than you consume.
One easy tool for figuring out how much one should eat is to calculate (or have it measured with InBody or alike) your basal = rest metabolism rate. This is then multiplied with your activity level. http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthtool-metabolism-calculator. However I would not start counting calories unless you are a fitness star in making. Would you like to count calories for the rest of your life? I thought so.
Tip No.4 – Eat regularly.
Regular and healthy eating keeps your metabolism going and your blood sugar high through out the day. It will be easier to control those urges for something sugary (or savory) and portion sizes will stay in control too when you eat more often. It is advised to eat every 2-4 hours depending on your goal and need.
Basic rule is to have carbs, protein and fat on your plate at every meal. Amount and proportion depends on your starting point and your goals.
Tip No.5 – Plan your meals.
To avoid going for the quick fixes plan your meals before hand. Make a shopping list and buy all ingredients at one go for a week’s worth to ensure you have all you need for making those delicious meals. Pack snacks along when going to work. With planning you will never starve or have it harder forgetting to eat as you always have your meals at hand. No longer going hungry to the grocery store!
Tip No.6 – Avoid processed foods.
Best food for your body is clean, unprocessed food. Period. Except maybe for those dairy products, an excellent source of protein. Go organic whenever you can. Cook your food and eat fresh, tasty food. Enjoy seasonal variations.
Tip No.7 - Mix them up!
Vary the food you eat. Have color on your plate to make sure you get all those important vitamins and minerals your body needs for keeping you healthy. Pick poultry, fish or meat on your plate. Spice it up with spices. Take healthy fats from avocado, nuts and seeds, olive or coconut oils. Cook with butter or coconut oil.
Your body and especially your brain needs carbs so do remember to eat them too. Choose whole grain, brown rice, couscous or my new favorite quinoa, rich in both good carbs, fibers and protein! Veggies and fruits come in several mouth-watering colors and are also rich in fiber that you need for a healthy tummy and intestines. If you need to control your carb intake, reserve starchy carbs for fueling after workout.
The internet is full of recipes. Browse, find, cook and enjoy!
Tip No.8 - The 80/20 rule.
Eating should not cause stress. Healthy eating should be fun and enjoyable. So if you stick to your healthy habits for 80% of the time you can take it easy for the rest of the time. This does not mean that when taking it easy you go and destroy everything by eating anything and everything. It means there is room for some extra calories and you do not have to feel guilty about splurging every now and then.
We only live once. Live to eat not vice versa.
Tip No.9 – Keep yourself hydrated.
Drinking fluids is essential to stay alive. A man can go without eating for days but only a few without drinking. Hydration is important because the body is comprised mostly of water, and the proper balance between water and electrolytes in our bodies really determines how most of our systems function, including nerves and muscles. Drinking fluids serves a range of purposes in our bodies, such as removing waste through urine, controlling body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, and maintaining a healthy metabolism.
To avoid dehydration and any unwanted symptoms like headaches, faintness or problems in metabolism it is very important to remember to drink water throughout the day. Total amount of water in a man should be around 50-60%. Obesity decreases the percentage of water in the body so regular fluid intake is even more important for overweight people.
Stay away from soda, fruit juices and energy drinks. Drink water, tea and coffee are good for you too.
Tip No.10 – Be active.
This goes without saying. Being active has a lot of health benefits. Activity has an impact on your metabolism. It has an impact on your brain. With exercise you keep your heart in better shape and your muscles and joints functional. And the most enjoyable thing is that when you are active you don’t have to worry about eating that much!
+ Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need advice. With nutrition or exercise. There are educated people who are willing to help you.
Stay tuned for my upcoming posts on tasty and healthy eating tips!
Motivade Head Coach