Happy New Year, Double G Sports faithful! You know what that means? Not only does everybody have a cousin in Miami, but they all have the same resolutions for 2014, too. (Please tell me you understood the Jimmy Buffett reference.)
Before you go crazy starving yourself on a binge diet that’ll only last for three weeks before you go back to your old ways, take a few minutes to understand some basic do’s and don’ts of creating a healthier lifestyle by starting with what you put inside of your body. You need to think of food as fuel, and your body is a direct reflection of what you eat. You know what they say – “Abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym.” (I don’t know who said it, but they’ve got a point.)
1) DON’T crash diet. DO watch your intake of fat, calories, and sugar.
I’ve been there, tried that. Eating nothing but cottage cheese and whole grain toast for three weeks might’ve helped me drop a quick five pounds once, but I gained back twice that amount when I realized my body couldn’t function being deprived of the basic nutritional needs that a healthy, complete diet can deliver.
It’s all about understanding what happens to the food you put in your mouth once you’re done chewing it. For example, having a pasta feast the night before running a 5K is a great idea because the carbs can yield enough energy for the body to exercise for 10-12 hours after consumption. But do you know what happens when you don’t work that pasta off? The carbs turn into sugar, settle on your hips, and eventually turn into fat.
Don’t suffer like millions of confused Italians who can’t understand why their pants are so tight. Think about everything you eat and its short-term and long-term consequences.
2) DON’T overeat. DO split a big meal with somebody.
Do you ever think about how fattening and unhealthy those big plates are when you go out to eat? Probably not, because it tastes so good, and there’s so much of it. What I want you to think about now on is how badly your stomach is going to hurt after you’re done inhaling so many carbs and calories, and how much time you’re going to spend on the toilet following your meal. If you’re feeling the urge to eat something on the bad side, at least don’t eat all of it. Don’t let it go to waste, either!
3) DON’T eat before bed. DO eat before you go out.
If you’re like me, the hardest thing to resist after a long day is something sweet before bed. And if I cave, then I lay awake for hours wondering why I can’t fall asleep and why I have so much gas. Instead, I’ll drink a cup of tea to fill me up and hold me over until morning. Sometimes, hunger pains can just be signaling thirst alone.
It is a good idea to eat before you go out on the town, for example. That way, you won’t be tempted to eat something unhealthy if you’re not hungry to begin with. And if you stay out until bed time, all you’ll want to do when you get home is collapse into your mattress instead of expending the energy to cook something. Breakfast will be there before you know it.
4) DON’T keep junk food in the house. DO choose fresh, healthy foods.
Do I really have to explain the difference between junk food and healthy foods? I sure hope not, but I will anyway, because America is starting to worry me.
Junk food refers to anything processed that won’t go bad within a week or two, a.k.a. chips, soda, frozen pizza, candy… you get the picture. Healthy foods consist of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins (like egg whites and turkey), and water.
5) DON’T eat when you’re bored. DO eat meals of smaller portions three to five times per day.
You MUST learn the difference between true hunger and true boredom if you are to be truly successful with your 2014 diet resolution. That’s why you should eat smaller portioned meals, three to five times per day. That way, you’ll never be hungry enough to snack, and in reality, two of those should consist of a “pre-workout” and “post-workout” meal. So instead of eating when you’re bored, have a protein bar, go work out, then eat something clean after!
6) DON’T take more than you can eat. DO make a shopping list before you go to the store.
We have all heard the saying “my eyes were bigger than my stomach” when somebody has more food on their plate than they can handle. Instead of taking the mentality of loading up your plate to maximum capacity, start with a small, balanced selection; take your time eating it.
7) DON’T eat on the run. DO combine fruit, veggies, or whole grains with protein for an energy snack.
When you’re on the run, you’re most likely a little stressed out and would rather eat anything convenient instead of something healthy. Keep healthy snacks or small, prepared meals at work or in your fridge at home for when you’re having a busy day. You’ll thank me later.
8) DON’T snack between meals. DO take your time when you eat.
Snacking between meals will ruin your appetite and not leave room for a real meal that can provide you with a lot more benefits. Eat slowly and chew your food completely. The slower you eat, the faster your stomach feels full. It’s also good to get in the habit of taking a sip of water between each bite to help you feel fuller faster. It’s all about portion control, baby!
9) DON’T kill yourself at the gym. DO use the energy your healthy diet gives you to work out.
As I said before, food should be viewed as fuel for your body to use throughout the day. While it’s true that in order to see results, you have to put in your time at the gym or working out elsewhere, you also have to allow your body to repair, heal, and rest after working so hard. The best way to create a healthy routine is by listening to your body. It will tell you when it needs to rest or when you can run the extra mile.
10) DON’T skip breakfast. DO read food labels.
The most important meal of the day, but I wouldn’t recommend serving it up Gary’s way. Can’t go wrong with some fruit in your cereal or eggs and whole grain toast in my book!
AND DON’T YOU DARE THINK ABOUT GIVING UP!
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