Have you ever experienced a workout where a burst of energy came over you and it felt like you could keep pushing forever? A combination of rest, nutrition, and exercise, contributed to this ‘Aha’ breakthrough. Experiencing trial and error with our body’s individual response to exercises, macronutrient levels, and environmental factors, is crucial. Our bodies are an outward reflection of our daily consumption of nutrients and of our overall mental state. If the path were the same for everyone, everyone would be breathtakingly toned.
The fact that burning fat and losing weight is not one in the same becomes a gleaming reality when our mindset shifts from losing weight and being skinny to being healthy and strong. Calorie counting can work for losing weight, however, an isolated calorie count cannot represent your entire health. The energy provided from the food we consume impacts our workouts, our daily activity, and our overall body composition. Simply speaking, a glazed donut (comprised of negligent nutritional value) is roughly 250 calories. Let’s say I was adhering to a daily count of 2000 calories and I allotted that towards 8 donuts, would that suggest I was staying within my diet? Of course the amount of energy derived from donuts, in comparison to numerous well-rounded meals of protein, fats, and carbs, would not suffice.
Macronutrients play a critical role in our overall ability to perform even the most minimal daily tasks; therefore, it is important to include all elements within a diet. Fats contribute by protecting organs, storing excess energy, hormone and brain development. Proteins assist with muscle hypertrophy and boosting metabolism. Complex carbohydrates provide a strong energy source, which is extremely desirable while exercising. Calories equate to energy, which is your physical body’s fuel to succeed.
As monotonous and mundane as it may seem, the simplest way to get a better grasp of what is going on in our bodies is to track our consumption. When tracking food in this way, we are more aware of what we are putting into our bodies and the choices of what to consume when we are hungry, bored, or a multitude of other habitual behaviors. Once you have an idea of how quickly your body is burning energy, how much you need to eat, and develop a steady pace with your macronutrient goals, you can eliminate this aspect. Adopting the food tracking should serve as a guideline to gauge yourself and what you consume and not become overly cumbersome and deter you from your overall goal. Take care of your body, so it can take care of you.
Before embarking on any specific diet or nutrition plan, it is important to do your research, however, if you get so hung up in the research that you never get started or take that first step, you will continue aspiring to live a healthy life. Consult with a trusted physician, trainer, and/or nutritionist to determine what your macronutrient goals should be and take that first step. Listen to your body and think of what it is doing to digest everything you consume.
No one likes the feeling of their heart pounding from walking up the stairs. What if I told you that regulating your food and exercise would lower your resting heart rate, reduce your stress levels, and make taking those stairs less of a challenge in your daily life. One great thing about nutrition is the only person that controls what goes into your body, is you. A calorie is more than just a calorie. Body weight is more than just a number on a scale. And remember, when your body is hungry it wants nutrients, not calories.