In our past discussions to starting a fitness journey, we touched upon 6 important concepts to consider; planning to succeed, getting a buddy, eating to feed the body, dressing for success, staying focused and being realistic.
Today, let’s discuss our third fitness concept on the importance of food. So, let’s grab some plates!
FOOD IS ENERGY
Food is our friend. It’s obvious we can’t live without it. When starting your fitness journey, deciding to focus on nutrition versus food wants is going to be what will make you rejoice or cry. Our tummies rumble and we head to the cabinets in search of something amazing to eat. Our instinct is to grab the first thing that pleases our eyes and tastes buds. But, food is necessary first and foremost to keep us alive. Deciding what to put into our bodies becomes a constant battle for survival. It’s a battle between our desire to feed our mind or our body. Both are important and are obviously connected.
If we look at food from a detached perspective and not a personal one, it becomes clear that food is needed for many avenues in our bodies
If we look at food from a detached perspective and not a personal one, it becomes clear that food is needed for many avenues in our bodies. Without food, we will have no energy. Absolutely nothing will get done; physically or mentally.
FOOD MAKES US STRONG
Without energy, we will not be able to have the physical ability to move. The longer we go without food, the less energy we will have and the weaker we become. While on our fitness journey, deciding what kind of food to pack into our bodies will determine how strong we become and how much energy our bodies can produce. They go hand in hand. Protein is necessary to feed our muscles. Lifting weights makes our muscles stronger, but we need to feed them what they need, protein. Finding protein sources in plants or animals is necessary for our muscle growth.
FEED THE BRAIN
If we are weak, physically and mentally, we can’t make good choices. It becomes a cycle of bad eating equals bad choices which produces mental crash! Food feeds our bodies, but it also creates mental clarity. Sugars, too much caffeine, fast foods, etc. are loaded with things we want, but don’t really provide our brain with thinking power. Food that has no nutritional value equals no brain power.
DON’T JUST CHEW, SAY THANK YOU
Food is a great source of enjoyment. Food can taste amazing, yes even healthy nutritionally packed food! I’ve heard so many people say that they can’t have something because they are on a “diet”. BORING! Or the opposite, they deserve a special treat because they worked out really hard that day. Both of these thoughts are sabotaging their fitness journey and creating an unhealthy outlook on food. Food is physical fuel and brain power, don’t over complicate the process. Being thankful for our food and what it can do for our body, changes how we see food and how we appreciate it. Suddenly, we have respect for our food and can enjoy it for it’s purpose and that it can taste great and still feed our bodies in a healthy manner.
It’s in our nature to go crazy if we don’t celebrate!
TO CELEBRATE, OR NOT?
So we can’t use food for celebration on that 5 pounds we lost over the last couple of weeks or the one hour cycle class we finally survived? Not from a reward view, but, we can use food to re-feed our bodies when we have been eating well and working hard at our fitness journey. Try not to use food as a celebration for making it to the end of your workout session. Use food to create energy and feed your body to live a healthy life. With that said, it’s also important to rejoice in our successes! It’s in our nature to go crazy if we don’t celebrate! I’ve been taught in my fitness journey by many wise people, to pick one meal during the week to re-feed my body and to celebrate life. To celebrate my successes, my set-backs and my blessings. It gives us something to look forward to during the week and allows us to reflect on how far we’ve come on our journey and some possible u-turns we might need to make. This celebration is not to be a day long festivity, but a meal. Yes, one meal. You can do it.
HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?
Food is our physical life source. We need food for energy, to think, and to have physical strength to move. Most people don’t have any idea of how much food they are eating or how much they need. Obviously, someone who is very active and is using their body to lift heavy things or move a lot during the day, needs more food than someone who sits behind a desk and commutes daily. My favorite nutrition calculator is https://www.freedieting.com/nutrient-calculator.
There are many out there, but this is my favorite and is most accurate at giving me my daily calorie needs and macro ratios. Once you determine your calorie and macro needs, I find using a food tracker can stop the guess work and show you exactly how much food you are consuming on a daily basis, including macros (protein, carbs, fats). I personally use https://www.myfitnesspal.com/ , but again, there are many options out there, so check them out and find one that works best for you.
Planning your meals weekly and creating a grocery list helps keep us on track and the food on hand that we need for the week. Meal prep as many meals as possible so they are ready to go when you are hungry. Include snacks to… they are equally important and keep us from getting too hungry and making bad eating decisions.
One final note we need to touch upon and this is probably the most sensitive topic of food… it’s emotional.
LOVE YOUR FELLOW FOODIE
They need our love and encouragement to know they are beautiful and deserve to fight the fight with food.
One final note we need to touch upon and this is probably the most sensitive topic of food… it’s emotional. Literally. Many people use food as an emotional friend. It’s an addiction and very powerful. Food becomes a disciplinary tool for many people, if they are good, they get food. If they are bad, they eat to feel better. It becomes a life long struggle of punishment and very real for them. Eating disorders are created and feelings of self hate and abuse result. They need our love and encouragement to know they are beautiful and deserve to fight the fight with food. This article is not intended to overlook or down play the reality of those struggles. It is to encourage those who are on a fitness journey. So, when we are on our path of working out and eating clean, let’s remember to look out for our fellow travelers and be good samaritans and help them on their journey too.