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It’s Nutrition, Not Rocket Science

What’s the Secret?

What should I eat to lose weight? What should I eat to gain muscle? What do you eat daily? These are all questions that I get asked frequently. In this information saturated age, it can be almost impossible to know what to believe and what to ignore. A person can drive themselves crazy trying to interpret all the different information. There is new information almost daily. New fads come and go and everyone is looking for the next best thing. I’m going to be as blunt as I can be because I truly believe that what most people need to hear is the truth, even if they’ve heard it a million times. What has helped me in my professional and personal life regarding fitness is to keep things simple. I do this by having principles. When someone has principles that they follow it makes decision making that much easier. Something either falls under your principles and you take it in or it doesn’t fall in line and you toss it aside. I will talk about my principles regarding training in another article as this article is about how to make nutrition simple.

It’s a Lifestyle Change

First, let me begin by saying there is no magic food or recipe. There is no quick fix. Please read that first line again. Read it as many times as you need to because I know some of you may have brushed over it without fully taking it in. I am not going to give you tips in this article that will give you a six pack tomorrow, or next week, or the week after that. None of this information is groundbreaking, but it does work, with time and dedication. The mistake most people make is that they set themselves up for failure from the beginning. They expect, hope, and pray that something will work right away. They want results now. When those results don’t come as quickly as they would like, they get frustrated and give up. Most of the time, these are people looking to lose weight for a wedding or reunion coming up in a few weeks or months. From my experiences, looking at things in the short term rarely works. Instead, I try my best to guide my clients into a lifestyle change. Looking at things long term, or as lifestyle change, puts things in a much more realistic view. For most people, it is unrealistic to give up entire groups of food, or even a macronutrient like carbohydrates for example. That way of thinking is usually not sustainable and we want this to last. Instead, make things simple.

Unless you are training to compete in a competition, keeping things simple works! If you want to lose weight, eat less. Don’t go from making bad choices all day every day and try to cut everything out cold turkey. Cut back on things in small steps. Are you drinking soda or tea every day? Start by drinking it five days a week for a few weeks and then four and so on and so on. You might be able to last a few days or even weeks making extreme changes to your diet, but it likely won’t last. Thinking of it as a lifestyle change will also ease some of the stress from your life. It allows you to have that cheat meal after a long day at work, or to reward yourself after a good workout. Gaining weight is the same way. I know it is harder for some people to gain weight than others. But I hear all the time “I’m eating so much and I can’t gain weight.” My response is always the same, “well if you aren’t gaining weight you have to eat more,” and then they usually look at me like I just said the dumbest thing they’ve ever heard. No, it’s not dumb. It’s the truth. Just because something is simple and you think it should be complicated doesn’t make it wrong. I know this because I have lived it. I gained seventy pounds in college after not being able to gain weight in high school but it didn’t happen until I told myself that no matter what, I was going to gain weight. I made the lifestyle change, and then I did it.

What to Eat?

Now to the part I know most of you were waiting for. What should you eat? Well, no matter your goals, this paragraph is for you. This information should be followed by anyone looking to eat healthier, lose weight, or even gain muscle. This will help with all those goals. A great rule of thumb is to ask yourself two questions. Was what your about to eat at one time living? Did it grow either out of the ground or from a tree? If your food falls under either of these categories then we as humans, were meant to eat it for one reason or another. Remember, it was put here on Earth for a purpose. If your food doesn’t fall under these categories, then it is processed and probably not the best thing to be eating. If it was living at one time or grew, then it is what we call a whole food and whole foods are ideal. Like I said, not groundbreaking stuff.

The reason whole foods are good is because they are nutrient dense. This means they have many beneficial nutrients compared to calories. This is important because hunger is caused by the need for nutrients. So, one can infer that if you are eating food packed with a lot of nutrients you won’t be hungry as much. Someone can also infer that if their muscles need nutrients to grow then this is probably a good plan to follow. If you are trying to be careful about your weight, make sure you are eating when you are hungry and avoid eating because of boredom. Nutrient dense food will help with binge eating because of the full feeling it will give you.  Meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit sounds boring but there are many more options then might pop in your head at first. Explore new foods, fruits, and new recipes. Again, it takes time and effort but if you are truly serious about your fitness this is necessary.

There is No Magic Formula

For those of you that clicked on this article hoping for the magic formula I am sorry to disappoint. If you do find a miracle diet that works in a few hours or a few days please let me know. I’ll be waiting. Fitness is tough, to use another cliché “If it was easy everyone would do it.” If it was easy to have a six pack or to be built like the hulk, then it wouldn’t be the thing many people strive for. But that is exactly why those things are the goal of so many, because it is something most people don’t have. You must work at changing your habits with consistency being the key. Eat what you know you’re supposed to eat and do it consistently and I promise you, you will see results.

I can write about nutrition all day long so there will sure be more articles coming soon! If you liked this article, please subscribe to this site, and leave comments on what you would like more information on. Thanks!