This Is What Eating Healthier Will Do For You
Written by Matt Bradley
Are you the type that snacks a lot throughout the day, and then skips the healthy lunch and dinner that the people in your life prepare for you? Consider this, for the best uptake of calories, minerals and nutrients everyone should eat six small meals a day. Many of us love to skip breakfast, which is a bad idea as it delays the pace at which your metabolism gets doing its job of supplying the body with energy from the foods you’ve eaten versus burning your energy stores. Then we eat an unhealthy lunch like a burger with fries, top it off with a double sized soda that has more sugar in it than the FDA recommends in an entire day. Then mid-afternoon you go ahead and grab a sugary snack like a bag of gummy bears or a bag of chips. With just the size of that caloric undertaking alone it is no wonder that when you get home and look down dismissively at the healthy balanced meal that has been prepared including vegetables and a reasonable piece of meat, likely with a complex carb thrown in to fill you up. But low and behold when it comes time to watch 3 plus hours of TV on the couch nothing could be finer than a bag of Fritos and a couple of beers or some more sugary soda.
Does That Sound Familiar?
If you want to do it right you need to have the awareness to recognize what it is that you’re doing and the discipline to change it. Many dietitians, athletes and regular folks just like you have found through trial and error that they remain healthiest when they eat multiple smaller meals throughout the day. Start with a light breakfast that is likely richer in carbs than most of your meals. The earlier you eat your carbs the higher likelihood that you’ll burn them for that day.
When you feel the need to eat between meals try snacking on nuts and fruits. Not only will the nuts provide protein for whatever physical activity you take on daily. The other upside of the fruits and vegetables is that they provide better than 90% of your vitamin and mineral needs daily. Besides the benefit of the fiber in them being a big positive for your digestion system. Particularly if you have a craving for sweets you will find that the natural sugars in fruit does a good job of satisfying them.
Eating better doesn’t have to mean abstaining from the foods that get you excited. If you like McDonalds eat it once in awhile but make it a treat. I am not trying to turn this into a zen awareness thing but the reality is that if you are aware of your dieting behavior it is much easier to make changes to it. Practice awareness when it comes to your diet. When you know that you have eaten really well all week and feel like a treat it then may be time to go to Five Guys for that double burger w/ bacon, jalapeños, mushrooms and a double order of cajun fries with a large Coke.
You'll Feel Better
The reality of eating decent is that you end up feeling better and I don’t just mean mentally. I mean you literally feel better, less bloating, more energy. All those things end up having you feel more comfortable in your skin. What you’ll find is the better you eat the more comfortable you are stacking on the activities in both your professional life and personal physical activities. Yeah we’ve all heard it before but the reality is this it’s a cannonball effect that begins with making a few good decisions about what you’ll put into your body on the regular and then recognizing which of those things you can get away with enjoying once in awhile as a special treat.
Much like the recent discovery that coffee drinkers, 3-4 cups per day, tend to be pretty fit healthy eaters will share a similar observation. Meaning this, the jury is still out on whether or not 4 cups a coffee per day is good for you, however, there is no doubt that most of the people drinking four cups of coffee daily are in better shape than a lot of people purely because they are more active and are burning more calories throughout the day to their increased energy. In that sense being a heavy coffee drinker is a lifestyle. Well eating better can be a lifestyle too.
I am a testament to eating well with a moderate amount of physical activity in my life. I typically will eat two cups of fruits and veggies every day along with whole grains and meats. I do not exclude red meats from my diet and am passionate about them. My exercise routine is 2-4 times per week in the gym and whatever physical activity I can get in on the side, mountain biking, wakeboarding and even walking. I am certainly not the most physically active person that I know. However I have the same waist size I had in college and have added muscle mass to my body and gained weight. I did a body fat analysis at the end of last fall and was at around 14.5%. Likely better than when I was in college which I attest purely to eating with a solid awareness of what foods I put into my body, pretty good as I am into my forties now. Working to keep a balance of healthy foods with the occasional treat of Fast Foods or the routine Pizza isn’t that hard versus the satisfaction and overall health returns I see from it.