Introduction – You’re The Expert
At gabbyandlaird.com our mission is to help you enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, so we will make suggestions, and help guide you on effective ways to determine the nutrition program that is best for you. Over the years our team has experimented with a variety of nutrition plans, and like many subject matter experts on nutrition, have found that the optimal nutrition program is something that is specific to the individual.
There are certain good starting points to proper nutrition, such as you should always try to eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, healthy-fats, and lean protein. But the exact combination of foods that help your brain and body thrive will be unique to you. Just like our brains don’t function in the same way, even though we have the same parts our bodies don’t function exactly in the same way. Our intestines are as different as our personalities, and determine the fate of our food. What makes some people feel energized makes others feel lethargic.
The right nutrition program for you is also influenced by height, weight, health, activity level and age. That’s why we believe you should experiment with your protein, carbohydrate, and clean-fat intake. Clean-fats are the healthy fats that give us improved brain power, regulate hormones, and help us thrive in stressful situations. Good fats are found in clarified butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, and nut oils.
No one knows your body better than you. You can be the expert. You just need to learn to be more in touch with how your body feels after every meal. Experiment with different amounts of protein carbohydrates and clean-fats, and pay attention to what combination serves you best. Are you lethargic after a meal or do you have good constant energy? Notice the quality of your sleep, how well are you resting?
Throughout this discovery it is important to MAKE SURE YOU ARE CONSUMING ENOUGH CLEAN FATS. If you do not do consume enough clean-fat, you will be perpetually hungry and never feel satisfied. Remember, not consuming enough of the good-fats can actually contribute to over eating.
The journey to developing proper nutrition habits does not have to be as difficult or as frustrating as some would lead you to believe. By combining the proper amount of routine physical activity with a few basic nutrition guidelines, you will immediately start to feel and see the benefits, plus enjoy a sustainable improvement in your quality of life.
You Can See Results Immediately
One common fallacy about living healthy is that developing proper eating and exercise habits takes time, so set low expectations and don’t get disappointed if you don’t see results right away. This is simply not true. Just a few small positive changes in your eating habits, combined with just a moderate level of routine physical activity can lead to immediate measurable improvements.
There are approximately 450 calories in medium order of French fries, and another 540 calories in a Big Mac. Add a large coke with another 310 calories, and you can wolf-down 1,300 calories in just a few minutes. Now instead of a burger and fries for lunch, try making yourself a healthy meal replacement shake made with banana, yogurt, maple syrup, almond milk, and protein powder. A Maple Banana Smoothie is just 284 calories, plus you’ll even save a few bucks. A healthy protein shake cost less than an average fast food lunch, it’s more convenient, and of course much better for you.
This one change alone, just giving up the daily ritual of a fast food lunch can reduce your caloric intake by over 1,000 calories a day. Since there are 3,500 calories in a pound, just replacing one fast food meal a day with a healthy protein shake could immediately have you on the road to losing 2 pounds per week. Now add-in a hour a day of vigorous exercise (which could burn-up as many as 500 calories per workout, or more), and it’s realistic to start losing up to 3 pounds per week right away. It’s that easy.
When it comes to successfully starting a fitness program, seeing immediate significant visual results is key. Once you see those first 2 or 3 pounds come-off (in just your first week), you’re hooked, because you have gotten immediate gratification. Not to mention how you will feel. Exercise stimulates your brain to produce Endorphins, and high Endorphin levels make you feel good. And of course, the highly favorable long-term impact of the combination of improved diet and regular vigorous physical activity will dramatically improve your quality of life.
So there is no better time than to make a few positive changes in your daily routine than right now. There is no benefit in waiting to start to live healthier. You don’t have to give-up the foods you love, and you don’t have to start training for a marathon. For many people, it’s just a simple matter of cutting back on unhealthy fast-food, and getting into the habit of 1 hour of exercise a day. Those two simple changes can be life alternating, and the best apart is, you will begin to feel and see the difference right away.
Your Nutrition Needs Are Moving Target
Be aware, your nutrition needs change overtime. The eating habits you develop while you are trying to lose weight will be much different than once you have achieved your ideal body weight. That doesn’t mean you go back to a daily routine of high-fat fast food. But once your body weight is where it should be for you height and bone structure, it’s time to “feed-the-machine.”
Your body thrives when in combination with daily exercise you give it exactly the right amount of calories, in the proper balance of protein, carbohydrates and clean good-fat, combined with the correct amount of vitamins and minerals. If you eat two servings a day of fruits and vegetables, combined with lean-protein, and a moderate amount of fat, on a regular basis throughout the day, your metabolism will adjust to this predictable high-nutrient diet, and you will become a calorie burning machine.
Then add-in some extra protein before or after your workouts or both (protein shakes are easy for that), and you will start to build additional muscle. Then your metabolism will increase even further. Now you are eating what you want, and when you want to (again staying away from “junk food” most the time), and the idea of dieting (or calorie restriction) has become a thing of the past. Pay attention to the eating behaviors of the fittest people you know, they feed themselves all the time (men and woman alike), because their body’s burn the calories, and they need extra nutrition to perform their best.
So remember, calorie reduction in order to achieve a daily caloric deficit is just a temporary phase. Eventually, you want to eat exactly the same amount of calories as what you burn off each day. You don’t need to weigh your food, or even keep a food journal. Your body will tell how much to eat, if you learn to listen it. The basic rule is to eat healthily throughout the day, and only when you’re hungry. Lots of fruits, vegetables and lean protein, and don’t keep eating once you are full. Use basic common sense. Everyone knows eating fast-food every day is simply just a bad idea. So just stop doing it.
Get In Touch With What Works For You
The problem with other people’s diets (South Beach Diet, Atkins Diet, Zone Diet), is that it’s another person’s diet. Sure, these diet plans work for some people, there are a lot of people in this world. But these diets don’t and won’t work for everyone. For example, what if you were raised eating fantastic tasting pasta everyday your whole life since you were a child. Is a low carbohydrate diet (like Atkins) ever going to be right for you? Never, because you will always crave that great tasting pasta you love, and associate it with your childhood. So you need to develop the right diet plan that is right just for you.
There is absolutely no reason you can’t eat the foods you love. Just eat them in moderation. It is simply a matter of calories in and calories out. If you love high-fat French food, made with lots of sauces rich in butter, can you eat that and still lose weight? Of course you can, just eat those high-fat rich saucy meals in moderation. If you were raised eating French food, there is no reason to change. Just control how much you eat. Now of course, you still need to get plenty of fruits and vegetables, and you also need lean-protein. But don’t try to totally give up the foods you love, it just doesn’t work for most people.
Experiment with food, and eat a wide variety of meals. Learn to listen to your body, and get to know what foods help you perform and make you feel your best. Of course, you need to eat throughout the day, and try not to over eat (at least don’t over eat regularly). Everyone over eats once in a while, so just cut back a little the next day, or ramp-up your workout.
Bottom line, your diet is your diet, and the foods you love are the foods you love. Just learn to control the quantity, in combination with regular exercise, and include a supplement program if you don’t have the discipline to eat the exact right amount of protein, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs to thrive.
When it comes to eating healthy, there is no such thing as a perfect person. We all have cravings for foods that are not so good for us. Everyone has at least one thing we love to eat that we would be better off without. But life is for living, so why not enjoy those foods you love, at least once in a while. Especially since there is no reason you have to stop eating something you enjoy, in order to live a healthy life.
The general rule is that if you eat healthfully 80% of the time, you can offset the other 20%. The problem is many people have this rule backwards. They eat anything they want and in any portion size they feel like most of the time, and rarely get themselves under control. Then repeat this destructive behavior year after year, and with little or no exercise, no wonder why there is an obesity epidemic.
Living healthy requires some consistent level of self-control. You need to embrace healthy behaviors at least 80% of the time, and reduce potential destructive eating habits to just periodic indulgencies or celebrations. It’s easier than you might think. Try to using your favorite treats (that are on the unhealthy side of the spectrum) as rewards for positive behaviors. If you like a big, thick, cheeseburger with fries (and millions of people do), establish this high-fat fix as your reward for not missing a single workout in a full week. Think about it, you eat 21 meals a week, or close to it (not counting snacks), you can easily afford to have a cheeseburger and fries at the end of the week (if that’s something you crave), especially if you have exercised at least an hour a day all week.
Similarly, tell yourself, if I eat ideally for the next three days, the following day I’ll treat myself to my favorite lunch or dinner with a friend. That’s 9 good meals to 1 not so good. This self-imposed reward system is highly effective, and helps keep the more negative elements of your diet under control, without giving up anything you love to eat. So go ahead and give into your cravings once in a while, it’s important that you do. Just make sure to live within the 80/20 rule. It’s something you can easily learn to do.
Eliminate What’s Worst
Not many people can change everything about themselves that is counterproductive to healthy living, but we all can change one or two things about ourselves. Take a moment to conduct a reality check, look at the way you live your life, and honestly consider what are the one or two things you do that are most contrary to a healthier you, and eliminate them.
For most of us, just changing that one worst behavior will be life transforming. For example, take the individual who habitually drinks large amounts of coffee throughout the day, every day, all day long, instead of giving themselves the proper nutrition that their body is really craving (millions of people do this). This person is going to chronically suffer from fatigue, lack of endurance, loss of muscle tissue, and potentially begin to suffer from significant health issues. Just cutting coffee back to one or two cups of coffee a day would transform their life.
Similarly, the chronic late night “snacker” is consistently feeding their fat stores, and turning their body into the perfect fat storage machine. The impact of a dose of unneeded extra calories, every night, night after night, perfectly conditions your body to store fat. You never give yourself a chance to normalize your body weight, because you’re consistently giving it calories it doesn’t need. When you combine this behavior with a sedentary lifestyle, you have a health disaster in the making. For many people, eliminating late night snacks can take away that one negative daily behavior that is offsetting all the positive work done during the rest of the day (remember the 80/20 rule).
Portions Size Matters
The simplest, most effective, single tactic to avoid over eating is to simply only put the proper quantity of food you need to eat on your plate. If you have cooked more than you need at that moment, immediately put the rest in the fridge or freezer for another day (even try to do that first, before you eat). Once the extra portions are stored away, it’s a lot less tempting, plus more work, to get that extra serving. This is particularly important if you are a good cook, or have one in your family. If it tastes great, you are going to want more. That’s just natural human behavior. So don’t make it easy on yourself to overeat.
Many restaurants pride themselves on being a great value. That means you get large portions for a low price. That is what’s necessary to compete effectively. So when you go out to eat, a good habit is to share a meal with a friend. Or alternatively, ask your server to put half of the food in a to-go container prior to bringing your food to the table. This behavior of saving half of your meal for another time, eliminates temptation, reduces your food cost, increase’s convenience, and most importantly helps controls calories while still eating what you enjoy.
While losing weight is simply a matter of calories in vs. calories out, when you eat is still important. The primary philosophy with respect to proper nutrition timing is to provide your body the right fuel when it needs it. You simply don’t need a huge high-calorie dinner right before you go to bed. You are most sedentary while you’re sleeping, so that is the time you need the least amount of fuel. Now you could eat a huge meal before you go to sleep, allow those extra calories to be store as fat, and then get up early the next day and workout on an empty stomach in an effort to try and burn off yesterday’s dinner. But why do that?
The better plan is to “eat early and often”, providing your body the healthy fuel it needs to perform the best throughout the day. Start your day with a healthy nutrient-rich breakfast every morning, and then refuel throughout the day. While this may be totally contrary to the normal routine of most people, proper nutrition in the morning is another positive behavior that can help transform your life.
Unfortunately, many people start their day with a cup of coffee, and a bowl of high-processed cereal. Which is practically the worst why to prepare yourself for the physical and mental demands of the day. For those people who don’t have the discipline or the time to cook a healthy breakfast, a nutrient-rich, high-protein, low fat meal replacement shake formulated with essential vitamins and minerals is a highly effective way to give your body the fuel it needs to perform its best. Bottom-line, proper nutrition in the morning is highly beneficial, and a far better alternative that trying to burn-off a late night dinner from the night before.
Another critical aspect of proper timing of food consumption is having appropriate pre and post workout nutrition. Your body simply cannot perform its best, or effectively build muscle, without proper fuel. Men and women should both routinely participate in resistance training exercises to strength and build muscle. As we age our body generally loses muscle and gets weaker. This loss of muscle reduces our metabolism, which in turn contributes to a gain of fat. This propensity to lose muscle and gain fat as we get older is an unfortunate reality we all face.
Everyone should be constantly fighting to maintain their strength, plus keep or build muscle in order to stay healthy and sustain their metabolism. But no matter how hard you exercise, without the amino acid building-blocks found in protein available when you workout, you will not be able to develop muscle effectively. So unlike what you may have heard as a child, you want to eat before you workout (or at least have a high protein shake), in order to perform your best, and optimize the results from your fitness program.
Always remember strong, lean-muscle is critical to keeping your metabolism higher (which permits us to eat more of what you want), helps burn fat, allows us to perform intense or vigorous physical activity, and keeps us looking more youthful. So Men and women should both develop proper nutrition habits that help develop and maintain muscle as an important part of an overall healthy lifestyle.
Some people have a tendency to be their own worst enemy. Don’t let the biggest road block to living a healthy lifestyle be you. To avoid self-sabotage, you need to learn to forgive yourself for your imperfections, no one is perfect. The road to a healthier you is not going to be a straight one. There may be times when you fall-off your healthy eating habits, stop working out, and return to you old ways. It happens to most everyone, so never feel guilt. Even professional athletes will have weeks, even months, where they just let things go. But it’s ok, we all need a break sometimes from being disciplined. It’s hard to always maintain healthy eating behaviors year round, especially given the demands of work, travel, special events, holidays, even your own fluctuations in mood. So expect a few setbacks, accept them, and move on.
The real problem is not reverting to old behaviors for a week or two, it’s getting so depressed or mad at yourself that you don’t go back to your new behaviors. Once in a while you’re going to take a step backwards, accept it, regroup, and get started over. Giving up on living a healthly lifestyle is like giving up of having a quality life. Don’t do that. You need to visualize your dreams and make that vision a reality. Your commitment to a healthier world for you and your entire family is something you never give up on, and it’s never over. As long as you always return back to your program of proper nutrition and regular exercise, no matter how long the break, the end result will always be OK.
Its normal human behavior to try and derail a change, so don’t be surprised when you do it to yourself. The important part is not to feel guilty about it, and let your disappointment in yourself further derail you. Guilt is a wasted emotion, and doesn't change the past. Go back to looking forward to accomplishing your personal fitness goals, that’s why you got started in the first place. Keep marching forward. Don't let one incident or even several incidences keep you from improving.
Enjoy Yourself and Relax
Food is a critical part of making a house a home, and a place where a family can connect. It is important that sharing meals together is stress free, plus a chance to relax and enjoy the company of those you love. So don’t let your concerns about losing weight or getting proper nutrition take away from those important family bonding moments. It is just a matter of being mindful of what you eat, and adopting a few healthy routine healthy eating behaviors.
When children are part of the equation, it is especially important not to make food a divisive issue, but instead make healthy eating a natural behavior which simply becomes a way of life of the entire family. Kids are going to follow in the footsteps of their parents, it just the reality of the way children are. So if you demonstrate healthy eating behaviors, your kids will follow. So not only do you benefit for making a commitment to a healthier lifestyle, so will the people around you.
So if a morning shake becomes your routine, let you kids have some to, they will certainly get more nutrition form your high-potency, high-protein, low-fat meal replacement shake, than from overly processed cereal. Almost every health expert will confirm kids need a healthy meal to start the day, so make proper nutrition in the morning a routine behavior for the entire family.
Once again, don’t let food become an issue. Try to make healthy eating feel easy and the natural way of things. Generally, healthy eating is just common sense. As long as you know the basics, having a proper nutrition program that supports a healthy lifestyle for you and your entire family will simply become part of who you are. Food is the fuel that determines how that precious body of yours thrives, or the contrary. So give it the quality it deserves. Life is for Living