Nutrition in three words :
With all the information out there regarding diet and nutrition, it can be overloading and confusing, and sometimes, even contradicting. But what it all comes down to is - what’s the healthiest and most realistic eating lifestyle for you. Depending where you are in your nutrition journey will make a significant difference, but at the end of the day these are the three words you need to remember:
Balance – Variety – Moderation
Balance: A healthy lifestyle is much like a balancing act, in which we need to match the amount of energy we put into our bodies (food) with the amount of energy we disburse each day (exercise and activity). Don’t forget about hydration as well! Balance also means focusing on the vital food groups: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Eating from these groups – and knowing how much from eat group – allows your body to receive all the nutrients it needs to function properly, as well as staying healthy.
Variety: Eating a variety of food from each group is just as essential as maintaining a balanced diet. For an example, to receive x-amount of protein a day doesn’t mean you should stick with eating chicken for all your high protein intake. It’s also important to remember eggs, fish, protein sources like nuts and fish, and even adding protein powder to foods such as Greek yogurt or oatmeal for the extra protein. The same thing can be said about carbohydrates – when many people think of carbs, they think of bread and pasta, when really you can find carbs in a lot more. But what is key is knowing the difference between complex (good) carbs and simple (bad) carbs. Complex carbohydrates are grains, fruits, vegetables, potatoes, oatmeal, etc. whereas simple carbohydrates are sweets (candy, cookies, cake), white bread, cereal, pop, etc. Chances are, the more variety you give yourself with any diet, the more likely you’ll continue a healthy eating lifestyle.
Moderation: Portion control is usually the most important part when looking at your current and/or future eating habits. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say, “I eat super healthy and clean, but I can’t keep the weight off.” Sure, they may be eating oatmeal for breakfast, grilled chicken and broccoli for lunch, and fish and rice for dinner, but how much? What about little snacks throughout the day, or creamer in the coffee? Every little bit adds up and at the end of the day, if you’re consuming more calories that you are burning, it won’t matter all that much just how healthy you are eating (and drinking). It’s great to eat healthy - that’s always the start - but once you know what your body needs and what it doesn’t, you need to start practicing portion control.
Weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight is not dependent on exercise alone, but more reliant on the right diet. Here are eight weight-loss rules to help guide you to your ideal weight!
Fun Fact: Overeating has a lot to do with your environment. No more candy jars, cookies, or a pantry full of sugary snacks. Look around your kitchen, whatever stands out as a temptation, get rid of it!
Low-calorie comfort foods for those cravings
We’ve all been there, and if you haven’t yet, just wait. Cravings come and go for many reasons - in times of stress, boredom and hormonal changes. Sometimes, just because. And it could be a craving for sweet or salty. Regardless of the reason, its important that you cut yourself some slack and allow a little indulgent here and there. To make those times count, and without making yourself feel horrible afterwards, there are some great low-calorie ideas to curve those craving.
First, the most important; calorie deficit diet – when you eat fewer calories than you burn.
Second, protein intake. Ideally you want to consume on .7g-1g per pound of bodyweight. The biggest problem I see is that most women are hardly meeting this goal. The average “lady meal” consists of salad (all veggies and basically no meat/protein), (unhealthy) protein/meal bars, smoothies from those “healthy” juice bars, lots of coffee (probably with cream), occasional healthy choices from fast food joints. Having good days are great, and you have to start somewhere, but consistency is key to see reap the benefits. As a rule of thumb, make sure you have at least one high-protein serving in every meal. (Lean beef, pork, and lamb are all good options, as are fish, chicken, turkey, and eggs. In a 3 ounce (85 gram) single-serving portion, lean beef burger contains 21 grams of protein, chicken contains 14-28 grams, cooked salmon, trout, or mackerel contains 15-21 grams, and pork chop contains 15-21 grams.)
Third, lifting weights – 2-5x per week, 30-60min sessions. Now this is where I see a lot of insecurity being the cause of women not weight training. Whether it’s due to not having any history in this department, or not feeling confident or “allowed” to do so, I continue to hear the same reoccurring excuses. In some (very small) cases, there are some medical conditions that may prevent any type of weight lifting for a period of time, but generally speaking, if you are going to exercise… this is your best choice! The beauty of strength training is that it is a form of physical activity that can be modified. As your body changes, you can take any strength training exercise and adjust as needed to be more appropriate for your body and what you are capable of doing. Having multiple alternatives for an exercise makes it more likely to continue working out, and as long as you are lifting some form of weight, that’s all that matters – you are building muscle and getting stronger.
Fourth, sleep – 7-9 hours a night. Sleeping keeps your hunger levels in check and allows you to properly recover and recharge.
Lastly, cardio. Cardio is great for mental health, but not always necessary. Any type of exercise is better than nothing, and if cardio fits your lifestyle best and it’s what you enjoy most… then do it! As a mom, mental health is huge. You need time to yourself – to regroup, reenergize, and maybe just think about absolutely nothing. But remember, building stronger muscles and burning those calories will be the result of lifting weights.
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