All tagged approach

Bunless Burgers v Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter: A Lesson

Our mindset when it comes to nutrition is vital to our success.

If we think of eating well as a chore- as many of us do, because “diet” is the worst four-letter word I know- we’re unlikely to experience success. You know the drill (so do I): we think of “getting back on the wagon,” we cut out the foods we love and opt only for the boring stuff we sorta hate, we crave sugar so jazz up a rice cake with some peanut butter and pretend to be happy, we see success for 4-10 days, then we’re face-first in ice cream, because rice cakes and peanut butter after dry chicken and loads of steamed broccoli aren’t cutting it.

What if, instead of examining this as a chore, we explored ways to serve ourselves?

What if we looked at our nutrition from the perspective of athletes who want to nourish our bodies, our minds, and our performance?

How would our attitudes change?

Imagine: we’re out to eat, and, while we know that no situation will be perfect, we’re aware of what “ideal” looks like for us. We know we need to prioritize protein for muscles, a few starchy carbs for energy, and a lot of fibrous, watery veggies to feel full and get our vitamins. We don’t have to skip a meal with our friends, because we know that the FOMO will lead to a regret-fueled, “I deserve this, because I sacrificed my social time” potato chip binge, so we navigate the middle, go out, have a glass of wine, a salad, a bunless burger, and maybe a French fry or two. We come home and feel satisfied, neither bloated nor deprived, we take the dogs for a short walk, and go to bed to wake up feeling rested and refreshed.

Carbs are not the Devil, and Other Things Lifters Should Know About Nutrition

: I’m not big on calorie counting, mostly because it leads to being obsessed, and that’s what we’re trying to avoid. I do, however, support calorie counting for a week or so if you’ve never done it, just to get an idea of what a certain amount of calories actually looks like. From there, we can gauge how full we feel on a certain (approximate) number of calories, manipulate/redistribute where those calories are coming from to support our fullness and energy, and not have to actually count much in the future. How can we know where to go if we don’t know where we are?

Anyway, back to the carb point: cutting calories at random, especially from one particular molecule (especially carbs, because our brains run on glucose, the building block of carbs), can actually lead to the exact thing we’re trying to avoid: fat storage and a slower metabolism. Carbs are necessary not just for our brains to work properly, but they also give us energy, so if you’re about to head into the gym to lift something heavy and you don’t want to pass out, maybe include something with carbs in it earlier in the day (or the night before, if you’re an early morning exerciser and completely worthless after 2p like me). 

In the context of lifting (and life, but more so if we’re lifting most days of the week), we also need a fair amount of protein and fat. Protein is the building block of muscle, and that’s the goal here, isn’t it? To lift stuff, increase the amount of stuff we can lift, and also look like we do that? Studies on how much protein, exactly, vary, but a safe place to start is 0.8-1.2g protein per 1kg of body weight. That usually keeps us in a range that will support our activity but not have us going hog-wild and way over our calorie targets.

Fat is also key…mostly for satiety (our perception of fullness between meals). And for the delicious factor. Limiting fat is a good idea – mostly because it has 9 calories per gram, where carbs and protein have 4 – but eliminating (or close to it) fat isn’t, because it does serve quite a few purposes in our bodies, as a source of energy, a support for certain essential vitamins to be absorbed (A, D, E, and K), and a structural component of our cell membranes. In an effort to not go waaaay over my ideal amount of food for the day, I’d rather put half an avocado on a salad than be hungry an hour after said salad and eat M&Ms. Priorities.

A self-worth manifesto (in which food is JUST EFFING FOOD).

Most of us want to engage in our lives from a place of worthiness. When we realize that no matter what choices we make – pizza, salad, lifting, walking, having that tough conversation with our boss or partner, avoiding it for another day, etc. – no matter what gets done or what gets left undone, we are still enough, our perspective on our choices changes.

Getting to that point requires us to show up and let ourselves be seen. Which can be terrifying, especially if we are used to putting up a shield (which manifests in various forms, but, for me, perfectionism is my go-to…more on that soon :) ). Cultivating a sense of worth – remembering that it is our birthright – changes everything about our approach to food, exercise, work, and relationships: it has the power to set us free.

Taking the leap to become a stronger, more resilient version of you is worth the courage it takes to get there EVERY TIME.