Eat Smarter + Exercise Smarter + Think Smarter
Let’s define good nutrition.
Many people have different answers when such a question is posed. Some say good nutrition means eating fewer sugary desserts. Others think it means eating more fruits and vegetables, less meat, and or fewer carbohydrates. And then, you have others answer as “Balanced diet.”
According to Dr. John Bernadi, the Founder of Precision Nutrition, there are four important criteria that all good nutrition plans must meet:
1) Good nutrition properly controls energy balance.
2) Good nutrition provides nutrient density.
3) Good nutrition achieves health, body composition, and performance goals.
4) Good nutrition is honest and outcome-based.
Whether you want to gain muscle, lose fat, pursue a healthy lifestyle, or even compete at the highest levels of sport, the most important limiting factor is almost always nutrition. Poor nutrition is what holds people back. Good nutrition is what propels people forward. Good nutrition feeds muscle and helps shed fat. It drastically improves recovery and mood. Good nutrition will give you the body you never thought you could have hence it is the most significant factor determining your outcome.
So now that we understand good nutrition, let’s incorporate it….
The MOST common bad habit among many individuals is skipping meals. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.
When you skip a meal, your body recognizes that it does not have food to convert into energy. At that point your body goes into “survival” mode, slowing your metabolism and storing excess food or glucose as FAT. If your body is routinely fed, it will increase your metabolism, breaking down the fat since it thinks it does not need it anymore.
- Drink water. Water is essential to achieving a healthy diet. Avoid soda and sweetened drinks.
- Eat lean protein. Aside from water, protein is the most prevalent material in your body. Research also indicates that increased dietary protein (not necessarily a “high protein diet”) may reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing “bad” LDL Cholesterol and raising “good” HDL cholesterol. Protein helps keep muscles strong, and contains the building blocks for most of the enzymes in the body. These enzymes drive the metabolic rate of our bodies. Good sources of lean protein include dairy products, lean meat, fish, and poultry.
- Choose more whole grains. Most people eat less than half the amount of fiber needed each day. Choosing whole grains, such as whole wheat breads and high-fiber cereals will help you achieve your fiber needs. By increasing the intake of fiber, you reduce your risk of diseases such as colon cancer and heart disease. Fiber also makes you feel full while helping to control your blood cholesterol and blood sugar.
- Eat more vegetables and fruits. A healthy diet should contain at least five servings of vegetables and fruits each day. Fruits and vegetables are naturally high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and they are low in calories. Fruit and vegetables are critical to proper nutrition. Make sure they are part of your daily menu. Fruit is also an excellent choice for in-between meal snacks too.
- Exercise. 20 minutes a day with HIIT (High Intensive Interval Training), 3 days a week is the standard recommendation. Consistent exercise will decrease your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and prolong your life. Walking, swimming, jogging, weight lifting, bike riding, and aerobics are all good examples of exercises that will improve your overall health.
- Sleep Earlier. Set a regular bedtime. Choose a time when you normally feel tired so that you do not toss and turn. Try not to break this routine on the weekends when it may be tempting to stay up late. Wake up at the same time every day. If you are getting enough sleep, you will wake up naturally without an alarm. Nap to make up for loss sleep but be smart about it. Overdoes it could cause insomnia. If you have to nap, the best time is to take a power nap in the afternoon and limit to only fifteen minutes. If you find yourself drowsy after your lunch (which means that you had too much simple carbohydrates for lunch), find an empty meeting room in your office to do some exercises. For example, walking lunges, jumping jacks and box shuffles. No need to work up to a sweat. The objective is to wake you up.
- Smoking. A touchy topic but it definitely makes up a big part of your healthy lifestyle if you chose to have one. Tobacco is a killer.Smokers and other tobacco users are more likely to develop disease and die earlier than are people who don’t use tobacco. If you smoke, you may worry about what it’s doing to your health. You probably worry, too, about how hard it might be to quit smoking. Nicotine is highly addictive, and to quit smoking — especially without help — can be difficult. In fact, most people do not succeed the first time they try to quit smoking. It may take more than one try, but you can stop smoking.Take that first step: Decide to quit smoking. Set a stop date. And then take advantage of the multitude of resources available to help you successfully quit smoking.
- Alcohol Consumption. Another touchy topic. Is it better to drink or not to drink? There is no one answer as answers vary according to individuals. Research shows that alcohol effects on health suggests both harm and benefits. Alcohol is linked to breast and liver cancers as well as to other cancers. If you reduce alcohol intake you can reduce the incidence of head and neck cancer and colorectal cancer. Having said that, it boosts benefits too. For a 60 year old man, who has quit smoking, no dependency problem with alcohol, less-than-ideal cholesterol level and a family history of heart attacks is better off having a glass of wine with dinner if he wants to. But a 25-year-old-health conscious woman with no risk factors for heart disease who drinks very little should not boost her wine intake just for heart.
For men 40 and older and women 50 and older “there are benefits [from alcohol] for heart health,” according to Havard Medical. 1 drink a day for a woman and no more than 2 drinks a day for a man. A drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits. Even moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a modestly higher risk for breast and colorectal cancer.
In low or moderate amounts, alcohol causes euphoria [and] reduction of stress. Stress reduction is good for the heart, he says, but it’s not a reason to take up drinking if you’re a nondrinker.
You also need to take the setting into account. Drinking alone at home could lead to 3 or 4 glasses of wine and it is more of an escape. But if you are out with your friends having a glass or 2, they may offer invaluable relaxation. They key word is “MAY.” The situation may overturn by all decided to get drunk for the night (just saying :0)