Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Let's Talk About Nutrition

So, how do you eat?  Do you eat to live or do you live to eat?  There's a big difference in these two lines of thinking.  I have found that when I have successfully trained a client into the "eat to live" line of thinking, how and what they eat changes.  When we "eat to live" that means we are not focusing or centering our daily life around our mealtimes, but, that we are eating nutrient dense foods to keep our bodies running correctly and at optimum performance.  The other line of thinking, "live to eat", is just the opposite.  We are eating whatever we want whenever we want to satisfy our body's cravings.  And, usually when we are in that line of thinking, our body's cravings are not for healthy foods.  We want to eat foods that are nutrient dense, meaning foods that are filled with vitamins and minerals, good carbs, lean proteins and some fat, for the least amount of calories.  Yes, I said fat!  I am not against fat at all.  Our bodies need fat- it's one of the 6 vital nutrients.  The other five are protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water.  Fat insulates our organs, including the brain.  In fact, without enough fat our brain doesn't let our body know that we are full and satisfied.  Here's what happens:  after we eat a meal, glucose, fatty acids, and  amino acids are absorbed into the bloodstream.  This absorption causes a state of satiety and your hunger decreases.  So, after a while the concentration of these nutrients fall and our satiety level decreases and hunger signals begin to start again.  Do you remember the fat free craze that hit in the late 80's and early 90's?  What happened was this:  food companies took the fat out of items and then added in a lot of high fructose corn syrup to hold the molecules together with the thinking that it was the actual fat in the food item that made you gain weight.  But instead, you could eat a whole pan of fat free brownies without feeling satisfied at all.  And, it's the calories that get stored as fat when we don't burn them off or use them as fuel.  We need some fat to signal to our bodies that we are satisfied and our hunger then decreases.  Ideally, you want to keep your fat to about 20%-30% of your total calories.  I will be posting this week about the BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), which is how many calories your body needs to sustain itself- this will help you to determine how many fat grams you need to eat each day.

Protein is very important for our bodies because it is needed to build and repair muscles.  If you eat too much protein the excess get stored as calories in your body.  Most people, unless they are professional athletes, get more than enough protein each day. Most people need about 20-30% of their daily calorie needs in protein.  Carbohydrates are our main source of energy.  So, you probably know my opinion on carbohydrate free diets- they are not good for you!!!  You will not have enough energy without eating enough carbohydrates.  Our brain needs them to function and focus clearly.  Now, there are two types of carbs:  simple and complex.  White processed sugar and white flour are two examples of simple carbs.  This type of carb is digested very quickly and causes a spike in our blood sugar levels causing our body to start storing things as fat.  Potatoes and whole wheat are examples of complex carbs.  They are digested more slowly and keep our blood sugar more stable.  Complex carbs are the way to go!  Most people need about 40-60% of their daily calorie needs in carbs.  Remember, fruits and vegetables contain carbohydrates, also.

The caloric content of foods is determined this way:  9 calories per fat gram, 4 calories per gram of carbohydrates and 4 calories per gram of protein.  Be wise in what you eat.  I don't deny myself having a treat either.  If I did that, I would be more likely to binge and eat a whole bunch of bad stuff all at once, as opposed to allowing myself a small treat when I want one.  Try to choose whole foods- not processed foods.  Lean meats, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains are your best bets for making your body feel good.  I have had clients who started eating healthy and then have a day where they just ate a bunch of junk and their body feels terrible- sluggish and sick feeling.  Once you get all the junk out of your system you will feel better!!  Let me know if you need any help in "eating to live" instead of "living to eat"!


  1. I need help, Ginger...not doing a good job here...

  2. Josie- I would definitely recommend starting a food journal. It will really let you see where your problems are at, whether it's with snacking too much, or portion size or what you're eating. Write everything that you put into your mouth for about a week or so, and then really analyze it to see what you are doing. You could scan it into your computer also and email it to me and I could look at it, also. Hope this helps!