As early as the 1920’s, the American Academy of Nutrition began to speak about the changes you made in the foods that you ate, as your “diet.” That is; any change that you made to improve health or for the better was a good diet. Today, in a more popular way, we can often be seen discussing new and different diets and how they can help us achieve our personal goals, quickly. Some are healthy, some are not so healthy. It is possible that the only thing that makes the word diet seem negative, is how we treat a normally sound principle, like eating right. So, what are some of the things we do that will make diet a difficult process? After all, we are just trying to eat healthy and lose some weight, right? For example,
Many people feel they would like to fast for a day? That cleansing in this way with only liquids is a good plan. I have never worried about this too much because people do end up hungry. And, it may help to reduce body stores of calories, if you do not overeat the day after.
Some feel that waiting all day until they eat a meal will help them avoid kicking off some response to overwhelming hunger. As, “the longer I wait, the better it is.” You run a risk of becoming very hungry and overeating by the end of the day. After all, you did not eat ALL day.
Yet others feel that perhaps, they can avoid eating entire groups of foods; like carbohydrates or fats, to keep their unwanted pounds away. Science works fine on these concepts until we completely eliminate whole food groups. It does not work well and you may miss important nutrients.
Lastly, many feel that if they really bare down during the week, they can have a little extra on the weekend. Sorry to say, but it does not take much added food on the weekends to cause a plateau.
What is wrong here is the manipulation of the schedules, the timing, the food choices or lack thereof, that can make you feel tired and worn out as a result of doing any of these choices.
Your body wants to cooperate with anything you do! It “records” what you did yesterday, and tries to repeat it. But along the way, your metabolic rate is going to need to readjust downward to what you are doing, and what you thought you were trying to do, just became worse. Eat responsibly throughout the day, give your body fuel to work on, don’t store too much for another day, and feel proud that you have eaten what your body needs to go another mile!
Many exercisers know that they should stay hydrated when exercising, but three questions often asked are how much, when, and what? This article is meant to inform the reader of the current recommendations that address these very questions. In answer to the first two questions, here are some general guidelines to follow about fluid replacement from The American College of Sports Medicine and other such societies:
Consume about 15-20 fl. oz. of water, 2 to 3 hours before exercise (to allow for absorption)
Drink 8-10 fl. oz. of water 10-15 minutes before exercise (to ensure that you begin exercise in fluid balance)
Consume between 8 and 10 fl. oz. every 10 to 15 minutes during exercise
If exercising longer than 60 minutes, drink 8-10 fl. oz. of a sports drink (with 6-8% carbohydrate) every 15 – 30 minutes.
Weigh yourself before and after exercise.
For every 1lb lost, replace with 20-24 fl. oz. of water.
In answer to the third question, it can be both a sports drink and water. And this, of course, depends on the situation. If you are an athlete or individual who works out intensely for 60 minutes or more, then a sports drink with at least 6-8% carbohydrate, like Gatorade, can be beneficial to replenish lost fluid, electrolytes, and carbohydrates. It also can help improve performance during these longer bouts of intense exercise. For the average population however, a sports drink is not necessary because the stores of fluid, electrolytes and carbohydrates in one’s body are usually not completely spent during a standard workout. Therefore, consuming water before, during, and after exercise is all the average person needs to keep their body hydrated. For the athlete or avid exerciser, a sports drink to stay hydrated would be beneficial for intense exercise events lasting longer than an hour, as stated previously, but up to that point is not really necessary.
For years, I have had many opportunities to discuss the tremendous overall benefits of the food you eat and how it works in harmony with your fitness! In fact, it is a ratio of 20% fitness experience and 80% dietary input, according to the experts. Your food intake can be a powerful force in providing you with good fluids, special electrolytes, and super energy sources following a workout.
After a workout of course you are going to be tired and maybe a little hungry! (But fortunately, it also comes with a sense of well-being as the endorphins begin to release in your brain.) Many record that they need some salt, some fluids, and maybe a quick punch of sugar. I personally like to suggest the “Eat-Clean Principles” authored by Tosca Reno, in which she suggests:
Consuming 15g carbs before and >20g protein after your workout.
I like these thoughts and cannot stress enough that you choose the simplest of carbohydrates and the simplest of proteins in this case. Here are some homemade pre- and post-workout snack ideas:
You can certainly bring your own supply of fruit or vegetable juices to drink before the workout, or maybe a banana.
Some protein, such as nuts and cheese, make a good protein afterwards, and store well in your bag.
You may also want an instant container of soup and just add hot water. This is a much better re-supply for sodium or salt, than any package of saltines or chips.
Or you may want to try some of these choices, for carbohydrates and proteins now available at Elite Sports Clubs‘ E-Cafés! My favorites are:
Creamy, rich smoothies made in a variety of flavors, with really good fruit purees, as a base, plus you can add vitamin boosts, extra protein such as whey, and you can even choose a low calorie variety. They are a big hit!
Another source of good protein is the Organic Chocolate Milk. These drinks are 8oz and 150 calories. Or you can try the No Milk-just casein, Muscle Milk for 140 calories, 20g protein.
Otherwise, we have good fruit juices, and teas.
Fresh, hydrating beverages are also available, such as Sparkling Ice, no calories, a little carbonation, and no calories.
Another new arrival is Susie’s Nature Bars. The calories are just over 265; and they are good sources of protein and fiber, about 6g each or more. But their fiber is extremely high quality nuts and seeds, with a variety of fruit binders. They are delicious and fresh!
Just remember, a good protein snack such as an energy bar should be about 6-20g of protein; whereas a good source of protein for a meal should be 3oz meat or 30g protein as a “full meal bar.” Don’t forget, your good food choices will make it or break it for you on your personal program!
Many people will be confused in the thought that there is only one way to approach a new eating plan. If they do not follow it, they are sure to be a failure. Truthfully, diet and related eating plans will work in your favor almost every time as long as you have created enough change. This change will come through a number of situations, such as exercise, a new eating plan, or an alteration in the eating schedule. Let’s examine this idea a little further.
Experts suggest that any time there is a desire to change the quantity or quality of the foods we are eating for the ultimate “body transformation” it is possible to do with minimal changes to your current program. For example:
Weight loss occurs with the reduction of 500 calories at the most for a day. It does not need to be any more than that. If this is true, find the food in the least important spot; as a snack in the afternoon of a bag of chips or a candy, and eliminate it. It could be all that you need to do!
Next, plan to regroup the foods that you are eating into a new “schedule”. Eating earlier in the day works the best! If you cannot do this, then divide the foods evenly throughout the day so that it will make sense for your schedule. Never too much at any one time is a good guide!
Part of the reason that we, at Elite, take the time to work with each individual through exercise and diet is because each person is completely different than the next person. In other words, what works for one person, may not work for the next person. You are an individual and need to choose what is going to work best for you! It is in some ways, an awesome responsibility. Many people can get sidetracked with lots of other family & work responsibilities, and never take the time to care for themselves; through fitness and a good diet/nutrition program. As a result, they never really know “what is best for ME?” So, take some time to explore what your very “best” is. Type of exercise, days of the week, indoors or outdoors, a stable eating plan or one that is flexible (but very healthy). There are lots of choices for you!
With lots of choices to explore during your health & fitness journey, trying new programs and so on, you may just be able to LOCK IN your own personal fitness and nutrition plan that will last a LIFETIME. So, my task for you is: from now on, don’t just think about today and tomorrow; think about a lifetime of good health and wellness!
I look forward to sharing my knowledge with you. And please come visit me during my open office hours “Ask the Dietitian” at our Brookfield, Mequon, and North Shore locations. Otherwise I’m always available by appointment!