Effective Weight Loss: Understanding Nutrition

Updated: Mar 25, 2020

There are so many diets out there - Vegan, KETO, Paleo, counting calories, counting macros, Atkins, Beach Body, Shakeology. Who knows what to do?! That being said, when you begin making dietary decisions I want you to think long term. Is this "diet" something that I am able to realistically maintain the rest of my life? Am I going to be happy not eating meat? Am I going to be happy eating only meat and fat? Am I going to be happy tracking my food the rest of my life?

Typically the answer is “no” to many of these questions. When you have found a way of eating that you enjoy and is also healthy, you have found the right eating style for you. And don't be afraid to make your own way of eating. You don’t have to follow one specific diet to lose weight. Eat what you like and cook what you enjoy cooking. The most important thing to remember is to eat whole foods. Cut out all processed foods (boxed, packaged, canned, frozen (except veggies and fruit), and so on).Cook big batches of beans, rice, quinoa, veggies, and meat (if you eat it) for an entire week.

Focus mainly on veggies; these are so important for getting all the nutrients that your body needs. But most importantly, STAY CONSISTENT in your clean eating!! We are all human and we all make mistakes, but don't let this derail your healthy lifestyle. When you genuinely enjoy healthy eating you are more than capable of maintaining this throughout your entire life.

What should I be eating?...

It’s easy for me to tell you to eat healthy, but for many of us we don’t really know what “healthy” looks like. I remember back in my pre-Custom body Fitness Days I thought that I was eating healthy. But in reality I was 30 pounds overweight. Let me tell you what I would typically be eating. Breakfast I would make protein pancakes. This consisted of banana, oatmeal, eggs, and protein powder. Then I would have an apple and a protein bar for snack.

Lunch would consist of ground turkey, quinoa pasta, and spaghetti sauce. Then I would have another afternoon snack – maybe some crackers and hummus and then dinner would be the same thing I had for lunch. Now, this was if I followed my “meal plan”. Often times there would be a doughnut, cookie, or some other tempting snack readily available at my office.

Also, I ate out for many meals a lot of times as well. If I had documented everything I was eating back then and read it today, I am sure I would be appalled. This is what you should be eating. The number one staple in your diet should be vegetables. Shoot for 50% veggies in all your meals. And by vegetables I don’t mean 50% potatoes, although they are a wonderful food, keep your plate full of veggies like kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, zucchini, squash. and carrots. Now that being said, be conscious of how you are cooking your vegetables.

Raw is always a great option in salads and other dishes. But if you prefer to cook them you should use healthy oils like coconut and avocado oil. You may also steam, bake, and dry sauté them. Another energy source for your body (because food is fuel) is carbohydrates such as fruit and other grains. Some of these carbohydrates are going to keep you fuller longer.

Fruit is a fast acting carbohydrate and is going to burn much more quickly and is going to give you instant energy. Grains are going to metabolize slower than fruits and keep your blood sugar stable for longer. Therefore, it’s important to eat both depending on the situation.

The next energy source for your body is healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, dairy, nuts and seeds. These are going to help keep you fuller longer. It takes the body longer to break down fats than it does carbohydrates. The last energy source to burn is protein. Good sources of protein include organic meat, organic dairy, nuts, and many plants have protein as well. These should be incorporated in your diet as well. As you can see many foods contain a variety of the macro nutrients (proteins, fats, and carbs) usually with one primary macronutrient.

The combination of all these energy sources, or foods, is what you should be consuming. Again, eating a variety of foods but also being conscious of which foods are higher in calories. Also, some people enjoy eating more protein and fat for energy, others enjoy less protein and fat and a higher carb diet. Some like to balance out the macronutrients a little more evenly. The point is again, watch the amount of high calorie foods you are eating and eat foods that grow on a tree or in the ground is a good rule of thumb for the majority of your diet.

Is exercise really that important?...

In addition to eating a clean diet it is also recommended to exercise for weight loss. But what is more important, eating or exercise? Now if you really want to lose weight and tone your body there are three things that you need to be doing. I call it the weight loss triad. You must eat healthy, lift weights, and do cardiovascular exercise. All are very important; however, it is very difficult to out exercise a bad diet.

As I mentioned before, weight loss at it’s most basic level is calories in and calories out. So, if you are eating more calories than you are burning you are not going to lose weight. It’s not that diet is more important than exercise; they both have very important health benefits, it is simply the fact that if you eat too many calories it is impossible for the average person to reach a caloric deficit by going to the gym and exercising for an hour a day. I am going to give you an example of exactly what I mean in the following example.

How much sugar are you drinking?...

For this example we are going to focus on sugar added drinks but this can also apply to processed and packaged foods as well. Make sure to read the label to find out how much sugar and how many calories you are consuming.

We have all heard that sugar-added drinks are bad for our health and lead to weight gain and even obesity. When I say sugar added drinks I am talking about soda, juice, teas, energy drinks, powdered mixers and even the so-called “healthy drinks” such as Gatorade, Powerade and Vitamin Water. So the question on my mind is “Why do we still drink these beverages that are so bad for our health in the first place?”

The answer is clear to me- addiction. That’s right, we are so addicted to the feelings we get from drinking these sugar laden beverages that we lack the willpower to ditch these dirty drinks once and for all. Or, perhaps we have heard these drinks are bad for our health but we don’t really understand the actual consequences of ingesting them on a daily or frequent basis. So what exactly are the implications of drinking so much sugar?

Well many of you are reading this because you want to lose weight. Therefore, I am going to explain to you just how your sugar consumption is affecting your weight loss or contributing to weight gain. As I mentioned before, weight loss is basically calories in and calories out. All you have to do is burn more calories than you eat and you will lose weight? Well that sounds pretty darn easy to me! I’ll just eat less and run more. Ok, great, we have a plan. Now let’s talk how many calories a typical person will burn each day.

Being a woman of 140 pounds and 5 feet 7 inches tall I will burn about 1200 calories a day without any additional movement. If I have a very active job I will probably burn more, but this is what I would burn if I were rather sedentary.

Earlier we talked about exercise being one of the key to weight loss due to the fact that it helps you burn extra calories as well as provide many other additional benefits. If I run a mile I would burn 100 to 110 calories and weight lifting burns anywhere from 400-500 calories an hour.

If I naturally burn 1,200 calories a day and I exercise for an hour or so I can burn anywhere from 1,600-1,700 calories in a day. This is the amount of calories I would need to consume to maintain my weight. If I want to lose weight then I need to consume less.

Here is what an average American’s day looks like when consuming sugar added drinks:

While at the gym they drink their 12oz Gatorade and that Gatorade is packed with 21 grams of sugar.

Then it’s time to eat breakfast. A meal replacement shake is awesome! For many that is breakfast and it has 7 grams of sugar, but a lot of people are still hungry so they have two eggs and a glass of Juicy Juice. The juice is a is a whopping 27 grams of sugar.

Then a peach tea with lunch because tea is healthy- 26 grams. Three pm crash rolls around and you need a cup of coffee in the afternoon, however, you must have creamer. But you only use a little, so it’s ok. When in reality many people don’t realize that they add around 3-5 table spoons of creamer to their cup of coffee- and this adds up to 15- 25 grams of sugar.

With dinner a nice glass or two of Chardonnay - which adds up to about 3 grams of sugar.

Now, let’s look at the amount of sugar consumed in a day. That totals up to 130 grams of sugar!! Just in what was drank!

The recommended intake of sugar for many people is 25 grams per day. Not to mention that 130 grams of sugar is 520 calories!!

This many grams of sugar would take an hour in the gym to burn off. Why not just ditch the sugary drinks and save some hours in the gym?

Use fear as your motivator...