We’ve all heard that famous saying “you are what you eat,” and if you know what that REALLY means, you won’t make the mistake of counting calories for your New Year’s Resolution.
The month of January marks the end of the holiday season and that dreaded reality check for us all, when we survey the damage we did to our bodies over the past few months and decide it’s time to crack down and get serious with our health and fitness. January is the official “the party’s over” month, however most people don’t realize their good intentions won’t lead them to their goals.
Counting calories to some point is helpful, but not for the average person. Body builders or extreme athletes will carefully eat a certain amount of calories to bulk up with mass, or gain more muscle, or maybe lean out, all of which require very different meals and types of exercises. For the average person though, it’s not about the quantity of calories, it’s about the QUALITY.
This doesn’t mean that just because certain foods are good for you that you have the freedom to eat endless amounts of it. Portion control plays an enormous part in staying fit, not only because eating the excess nutrients will cause your body to store what’s extra, but because smaller portions and more variety will allow you to consume more key nutrients.
Unfortunately, so many people make the mistake of not eating all day, then filling up on one high calorie meal. When you don’t eat throughout the day, your body shuts down and goes into survival mode, which means your body holds onto fat and begins breaking down muscle. People that don’t eat enough run into the issue of losing muscle and having a higher body fat percentage, which also means a slower metabolism, as well as less energy, less stamina, and a higher risk of life threatening diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Muscle weighs more than fat, so eating the correct foods in appropriate portions, along with exercise, will have you looking fit and toned with lean muscle, and sporting an average or athletic amount of body fat. So what’s the main difference between 500 calories and 500 calories? They seem the same to me.
The macro nutrients. Proteins, Carbohydrates, Lipids(fats), Water, and Vitamins are the 5 main groups that foods are categorized into. If your day consists of a bagel and coffee or juice, a sandwich with deli meat, and pizza, you did nothing but consume carbohydrates, fats, and added sugar, all of which will be stored in your cells as excess fat because you don’t need that many carbs to get through your day, unless you plan on climbing Mount Everest. Even then, you would require healthier versions of carbs like whole grains, not BLEACHED white flour. Yes, ENRICHED means bleached; flour is not white in its natural state.
If you went through your day sipping water then hitting a drive through after work, chances are you may not see such a drastic increase on the scale, but you certainly will see the difference in the mirror and with regards to how you feel. Processed foods, even in small amounts, will spike your blood sugar levels and will give you basically a meal full of fat and carbs, along with a long list of toxins found in fast and packaged foods. Your body will not be toned, your skin’s complexion will be dull, hair and nails will be brittle, you will get sick easily, and you will be left feeling cranky and lethargic. Yuck, were those 500 calories worth it?
If you ate smaller meals frequently throughout your day, and focused on getting a rich variety of nutrients in each meal, these issues will be a thing of your past. While it may take a while to lose all that weight from the holidays, switching up the quality of your food will have immediate results that you will feel. Immediately, you will notice a difference in your mood and energy levels. Incorporating these healthy eating habits with consistent workouts will enhance these changes and will speed up weight loss and muscle gain, which means a faster metabolism for you, especially if you’re working out with us at Personal 1 Fitness!
In conclusion, a meal of 500 calories and a meal of 500 calories has its differences, and they are too vital to your health for you to ignore. This January, try not to make false promises to yourself (we call them resolutions) because scientifically they just don’t work. Try instead to change one habit. Analyze your meals and ask yourself “what is one unhealthy food I can trade in for something better?” Here are just some of the many habits you can swap that would make an immediate difference in your weight and for your health:
No more soda; drink water instead
Swap your bagel breakfast for whole wheat toast with avocado
No more fast food - pizza with vegetables on it is an improvement over McDonalds! (Sorry, not sorry Ronald)
Get into P1F at least 2 nights a week for 30 minutes on the treadmill
Ditch the bag of chips for something else that’s crunchy, such as a handful of almonds, an apple, or celery sticks with hummus.
Making one small change at a time will help form new habits, and once your new habits become part of your daily routine, you can go ahead and make more new changes. If you still feel stuck or unsure about how to make these changes, stop in to Personal 1 Fitness and ask our staff! We have certified Personal Trainers and Nutritionists that can answer all your questions and we are more than happy to help guide you in the right direction.
We offer FREE trial workouts and consultations so leave your credit card at home and just show up with your sneakers. You can also read the rest of our blog posts for more tips, tricks, and recipes. Happy January and choose wisely!