We are building a pyramid. The base must be strong. And at that base is Nutrition. Look, I know it sucks. Eating well is not easy. It can be a real pain in the ass. Especially if it is not something you grew up with.
Let me throw out some caveats since this is on the internet and we all know how things go when out there. I am not a doctor, I am not a licensed nutritionist, this information I am giving is based on my own observations and experience.
You CANNOT out train a bad diet. At a certain point, it’s just not possible. You can stay ahead of a bad diet until you are around your mid 20’s, then forget it. It’s over. Not happening.
“But I only eat bad on the weekends!” As a coach, I think I have heard this one the most often. Eating bad on the weekends is 25% of the month. That’s quite a bit. Say it with me, “I can’t out train a bad diet.”
I hate the word diet, anything with that word in it, usually leads to failure. Atkins Diet, Mediterranean Diet, Keto Diet, even Paleo Diet. Most often the word diet is used as a description for what someone is going to do for a period of time. I am going on an all juice diet. Its short, its fleeting, it has an end. We have to make a change FOREVER, well at least that is the goal we are moving towards. Losing weight is easy, it’s a simple math problem. Less calories in, more calories out, lose weight. But we are after soo much more than weight loss. We are looking to build are bodies into racing machines.
Let’s talk about some popular “diets”.
Right now, Keto is huge. It’s all the rage. The short version is, you basically stop eating all carbs and replace them with protein and fat. You eat meat, nuts and oil. For most people they will drop a TON of weight in a relatively short period of time. During this process, you will feel sick. Sometimes called the Keto flu. Your body freaks out a little bit. The bad part of this diet is its difficulty to maintain. Also, to truly know you are in ketosis you have to pee on little strips every day. Pain in the ass factor high.
The Paleo diet is another really popular diet. Of any and all diets, it is the one I recommend the most, but it is still a “diet” unless you can sustain it. And sustaining Paleo is HARD. You have to meal prep all the time; you have to have so many staples in your kitchen that making something last minute is tough. Paleo eating is sometimes called Caveman eating. Basically, only stuff the cavemen ate, hence the name Paleo. As far as food quality goes, nothing can touch Paleo. It’s all about organic, clean eating, no sugars etc. Now I love grass fed beef as much as the next person, but it gets expensive fast and I don’t have time to make my own ketchup.
I can go on forever about all the different diet types, but we are going to move on a bit. I am going to give you a phrase I learned during my first CrossFit Seminar. I know, I know CrossFit Kool Aid, but this one is legit. “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.”
Whenever you are making a meal decision keep that in mind. Am I eating meat or vegetables? A nut or seed? Or maybe a little starch? If you really think about this prescription it works really well with Paleo style food quality. It is also very low in carbs, so it is ketoish. As far as the keep intake to level that will support exercise but not body fat. Don’t worry about that part yet. Step 1 is to cleanup what you eat. We will worry about quantity of food later. BTW, this whole process of changing that way you eat, losing weight, gaining muscle etc, will NOT happen overnight. This will take months if not years to master. Trust the process.
Quick Tip: When at the grocery store, try and buy stuff that is on the perimeter of the stores. That is where you will find the meats and veggies and other things that need to be refrigerated. If it’s coming from a box, you probably should not be eating it.
Our next step is to get a tracking app. I personally like My Fitness Pal. Use the free version, don’t let them talk you into the pay version. You don’t need it. Start tracking everything you eat and drink. I mean everything. Do that for 7-14 days. The longer the better. We need a baseline of what you eat, how much you eat of it and how often. Now this is where it gets hard since we are not meeting face to face to discuss the hows and whys of what is going to happen next.
You need to make small changes from this dataset. Moving towards eating meat and vegetable, nuts and seeds, some fruit and little starch. The easiest and quickest is to identify where your sugar is coming from. Candy, alcohol or wherever an eliminate it as quickly as possible based on your personality. If you can go cold turkey on the sugar and maintain it do it. If you have to wean yourself over some time, go that route. Next get rid of the easy carbs, bread, tortillas, chips, crackers, croutons, etc.
With just those two changes you will some positive results in 6-8 weeks. Nutrition is the hardest. That is why it’s at the base of the pyramid. Everyone is different in terms of how their body works, their economic situation, thier cultural situation. There is not a one size fits all solution to nutrition but keep the mantra in your head when making food decisions and it should keep you oriented in the right general direction. “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.”