Are You Stuck On The Healthy-Unhealthy Teeter-Totter of Life?
Does on the scale-off the scale-on the scale-off the scale, ring a bell? “I don’t know why my weight keeps going up and down every day”. Do you feel like no matter how hard you exercise, the time you put in isn’t balancing out your self-sabotaging diet choices? “I followed my nutrition all week, how can one bad weekend do this to my body?”. Are you living a life controlled by food and restriction, uncertain about what will or won’t work anymore? “I’ve given up dairy, gluten, animal-based protein sources, why won’t this bloating and extra weight go away?”.
I know what it’s like to search up and down, all over, for the answers that don’t exist. I know how it feels to feel very lost and very confused about the what’s, hows, whys, and whens. Nothing ever made sense to me with my body and eating until I finally let go of everything I thought I knew and starting to follow the one answer that made logical sense.
THAT ANSWER WAS EDUCATION.
Findings answers to your questions about exercise, nutrition, and wellness can be confusing and hard to narrow down. We live in a world that is shaped by opinions, manipulated results, and marketing tactics. With so many fast fix, short term options that focus on investing in a dozen supplements, eliminating entire food groups, or isolating others, it makes being realistic about what we understand as fact or fiction very challenging. A fine blurry line that we are given the choice to beleive or disregard. It’s time to finally get off the unhealthy-healthy teeter-totter and start taking steps with your best foot forward toward sustainable success. It’s time to learn and get some education!
MOVIN & GROOVIN: THE TRUTH ABOUT EXERCISE AND THE BRAIN
There is no denying that when we exercise a number of strange, bodily things happen that are extremely important to both internal and external change in our overall health…
- The brain produces feel-good endorphins, along with a number of other hormones that trigger feelings of happiness and pleasure. You will also notice a decrease in feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression
- Blood flow to the brain increases = feelings of alertness, sharper memory and thinking (overall cognition improves)
- The hormone dopamine is released (the body’s reward chemical)
- The hormone epinephrine is released = feelings of motivation
- Mitochondria (cell energy factories) begin to increase = energy production increases and is more efficient
- The nervous system becomes more efficient in muscular contraction = improvement in strength with noticeable physical changes
- By six months, the heart will increase in size as a result of the change in cardiovascular output and by one year, your bone health will significantly improve with a measurable change in the skeleton
Hard to imagine that this only briefly touches on what’s going on inside of our bodies as a result of exercise, but it isn’t hard to see why being active is so important to improving our mental, emotional, and physical health.
THE DIET-EXERCISE RELATIONSHIP
No amount of exercise can change your body if you eat a consistently unhealthy diet.
A poor diet results in a poor attitude.
A poor attitude results in poor motivation.
Poor motivation results in poor discipline.
Poor discipline results in poor results.
YOU CAN’T PREVENT YOUR BIRTHDAY FROM COMING…
It’s inevitable – your metabolism will slow down as you age. You will experience muscle loss and fat mass will be harder to get rid of. This combination means you’re going to burn fewer calories which means you will need to put more effort into your nutrition and dietary habits. That midsection belly fat didn’t just appear overnight, its been transpiring over time as your hormones and metabolic capacity change and slow down, as your diet gets a little lazier, and as you spend more time relaxing or socializing, and less time and effort strength training at the gym.
But, the good news is that remaining physically active, following a balanced diet, and staying proactive in maintaining your health will support a stronger, more efficient metabolism no matter how many birthdays you celebrate!
LEARN WHAT TO EAT TO SUPPORT YOUR BODY & GOALS
Nutrition, eating, and food isn’t meant to control your life. It’s meant to support it and your body is the ultimate learning tool for figuring out what works best for you. Consuming the wrong food types for your body, lifestyle, and goals can dramatically influence your health and results. Whether you are exercising regularly or working on a better food-life balance, your diet and your goals should be as unique as you are.
Do you keep blaming every carb you eat for your weight gain? Consider the source. Maybe it would be a better approach to look at the carb source and what it provides the body with nutritionally and then assess how the body processes and digests it (and then determine how much you are having vs. how much you should be having).
Carbohydrate Example 1, high sugar foods spike glucose levels, resulting in the secretion of insulin. This hormone is responsible for moving sugars out of the bloodstream and acts as a storage unit – – making it very difficult to lose body fat.
Not convinced? Carbohydrate Example 2, eat spinach (instead of sugar) and different hormones will be triggered such as glucagon. This is insulin’s “sister hormone” that releases fat to burn for energy. There is always a time and place for the foods we need and the foods we enjoy, and knowing when and how to recognize this is so important! It begins with one of the most foundational nutrition components, macronutrients.
What I love most about the two examples above is how they show the effect of different food sources from the same nutrient group and how they perform different roles and functions. Understanding this will allow you to get in tune with your body’s needs during and around exercise and the way nutrition can influence your energy, performance, and mood.
BACK TO NUTRITION BASICS
C is for CARBS. Responsible for fueling the body and providing energy.
F IS FOR FATS. The macro used for long-term energy, insulation, and protection.
PIS FOR PROTEINS. The key to building new tissues, supporting hormones, and immune health.
C-F-Ps are where calories come from
1g carb = 4 calories 1g fat = 9 calories 1g protein = 4 calories
Let’s apply this to weight loss. To drop weight you have to place your body into a caloric deficit. This happens when we eat fewer calories than our daily caloric needs plus our daily caloric burn. INPUT vs. OUTPUT. So why can’t we outsmart this equation? MATH BABY! It takes approximately 3,500 calories below your maintenance calories to drop about 1lb OR approximately 3,500 calories above your needs to gain about 1lb.
IS ONE WEEKEND OFF SO BAD?
Wondering where you’re at? You’ll need to determine your maintenance calories first, then take a look at caloric totals over the course of seven days’ time. If you’re consistent all week in the gym and the kitchen, but get a little more laid back about things on the weekend…your progress is headed right out the window. The decimal lows on the scale have somehow convinced you that a little untracked indulgence is no problem. “I’ve earned this”, how bad can it be.
Maintenance Calories (total for one week) = 2,000/daily x 7 days = 14,000/week
Deficit Calories (total for one week) = 1,500/daily x 7 days = 10,500/week
End of week total deficit = 14,000 – 10,500 = -3,500
To lose an average of about 1lb fat mass the body needs to be in a total weekly deficit of -3,500 calories.
Now let’s factor in two days of unaccounted eating weekend fun…
Deficit Calories (total for five days) = 1,500/daily x 5 days = 7,500
Untracked Saturday Calories = 2,800
Untracked Sunday Calories = 2,450
End of week total deficit for 5 days + untracked total calories = 7,500 + 2,800 + 2,450 = 12,750
Difference between 5 day deficit plus 2 untracked days and 7 day deficit calorie totals = 12,750-10,500 = -2,250
This means after a weekend of fun, you have pulled your body out the goal deficit of -3,500. Instead, your total is -2,250. This is a difference of 1,250 calories.
This difference in calories can make heading into a new week of nutrition and exercise even more challenging. Mentally you might feel like giving up because you’re slowly convincing yourself that there isn’t a balance between having fun and meeting your goals. Emotionally you may feel guilty or ashamed, and physically you may feel anxious or compulsive. Is one weekend worth the tumbleweed of negativity that follows? What if you had a better understanding of why your body is or isn’t adjusting how you anticipated and could form a plan to get back on track the right way?
NEVER STOP LEARNING, YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF
Education about the different ways nutrition and diet influence one and other can help us to avoid and control situations that might otherwise create setbacks. By taking the time to understand the value in making healthy and proactive decisions for ourselves, we are paving the path toward long-term change. You CAN get off the unhealthy-healthy teeter-totter. You DESERVE it.