Fueling your body
I’ve got a lot to cover, you've been warned. My goal is to educate! This blog is broken down into 2 sections:
1. Fueling your body: Not all calories are created equal 2. Fueling your body: Fat vs Muscle
Fueling your body: Not all calories are created equal
This is going to be a real meaty post today, LOL, get it, we’re talkin’ protein today! I crack myself up! Anyways, here we go… I really thought I knew how to eat, and how to eat to lose weight. That was always the goal, what can I do to lose weight? It never occurred to me to ask myself what can I do to help BURN fat instead of store it? Keeping in mind exercise and diet go hand in hand. A couple of quotes come to mind:
Crap, that’s not it!!!!!! Shoot! Here we go…
I’ve done a couple of weight management programs, yep, roped in by their stellar advertising and I should know better! I’m going to discuss WeightWatchers because that’s the one that I stuck with the longest, 2 years strong and then off and on for the 2 years following. It worked for me at the time, I needed to get some baby weight off after baby #2 and 2 years later I was 47 pounds lighter. Little did I realize at the time is wasn’t teaching me how to eat, just strictly portion control, which is the one good thing that has stuck with me. I remember even telling a friend when I first started that I wasn’t too tickled that they told you “don’t drink your calories” (I cut out milk) but were pushing you to drink diet tea and pop (it’s not soda, it’s pop!). Me, a non pop drinker at the time became one. I thought to myself, well that’s not a healthy choice, and my friend reminded me is was first and foremost a weight loss program, not necessarily a healthy diet program. I mean, they're selling you all of these WW approved boxed meals and bars which were chocked full of artificial ingredients and sweeteners, and full of sodium. Then once you get comfortable you start down a slippery slope, you say “well I can eat 4 cookies today because I have the points!” In my mind at the time, 140 calories was 140 calories, they were all the same, a 140 cookie was the same as a 140 calorie chicken breast. I mean, they even advertise you can eat whatever you want within your points for the day…NO NO NO. I was clueless and hungry ALL THE TIME! I really thought this is what I had to do to lose weight, practically starve myself. Their “Activity Points” system is very flawed as well, but that’s a discussion for another time. Anyways, the second I stopped paying $30/mo for their app (which is outrageous BTW, I ended up finding MyFitnessPal, which is awesome and FREE), I gained all the weight back.
Remember this is just my personal experience, I don’t mean to hate on WW, it does work if your end goal is to drop the pounds and that’s it. I just felt like I needed more this time. I wanted to make a permanent change, I wanted to find something that eventually I wouldn’t need to calorie count and could just listen to my body to tell me what it needed and when. Then also find workouts that I really enjoyed doing, you will only exercise regularity if you find an exercise you have fun with.
The light bulb didn’t really flip on until I started my first Beachbody workout, got my FitBit and put the MyFitnessPal app on my phone (all 3 had to happen at the same time for me).
When I got PiYo it came with a little nutrition book which told me how many calories I should be consuming daily and what percentages of fat, carbohydrates and protein I should be incorporating and included a couple of recipes to get you started. First, the calories freaked me out a bit, it seemed high, I mean 1600-1800 calories?!?! Really??? I thought I was supposed to consume 1200 calories max in order to lose weight? You know what I found out within the first week, I was not getting nearly enough protein in my diet! Because apparently (besides drinking diet pop) the other bad habit I picked up from WW was that I would cut out meat and cheese whenever I could. Gah! And I was still “working the system” by eating cookies and junk as long as it was in my allotted calorie count for the day in MyFitnessPal. Nope, that was not going to work and wasn’t working. Your body NEEDS protein and other nutrient rich foods, if if you’re fueling your body with those types of foods you can eat more calories…kinda…ok, don’t quote me on that.
Protein helps turn your fat into muscle, and when you add exercise numerous times a week it also aids in helping your muscles recover, you’ve then just turned your body into a fat burning machine! What I needed to first get over was the amount of calories I was consuming and the other was working in protein where I was cutting it out. You know what the funny thing is, is if I was just eating more protein on WW I probably wouldn’t have been as hungry all the time. Eating a 140 calorie chicken breast is going to keep me full longer and more satisfied than a 140 calorie cookie, and the chicken does double duty by also turning that fat into muscle rather than just making more fat!
I now know that although meat and cheese are “extra calories” they are just as important as fruits and veggies for a well balanced and nutrient rich diet, they are not the enemy. You know what IS the enemy…sugar. Darn it, I really love my sweets!
Here is another article that touches on the importance of a balanced diet and has a similar take on those “TV weight loss plans.” She breaks down each diet plan and suggests a solution. 10 Mistakes Women Make With Diets
OK, that was dense!
Fueling your body: Fat vs Muscle
When I was frustrated that I wasn’t losing any weight, Jackie would urge me to take my measurements and a selfie. At 20 weeks into my new way of eating (not cutting out sweets completely of course but definitely limiting them) and exercising 5-6 days a week my measurements were the same as they were when I was 15 pounds LIGHTER on WW, at that point the scale had nothing on me, my fat was turning into muscle! Huh?! Yeah, I was super confused, happy, but confused.
The saying that “muscle weighs more than fat” is such a myth and is a little deceiving, a pound of muscle obviously weighs the same as a pound of fat (a pound is a pound, duh), it’s just that muscle takes up LESS SPACE than fat! It is possible to lose inches and gain weight at the same time, this happened to me for many weeks during those first couple months! Mind…blown! It was so hard for me to ignore the scale, especially when society puts so much pressure on the numbers.
I’m a visual person, and this illustration does a great job of visually representing what I just discussed above. The woman in the illustration below weighs 130 lbs, this shows how the percentage of fat directly impacts your measurements, not how much you weigh. This is the huge flaw with BMI calculations. I don’t know about you, but I totally rather lose the inches, that’s whats going to get me in those smaller sized jeans! The scale can be so deceiving, especially in those first few weeks of starting a new workout program…when your body is developing muscle faster than it can burn the fat! Way good thing!
And here is my personal example of fat vs muscle. What you eat and how you train matter.
I also do my best in the fruit and veggie area, along with trying to get enough protein, but some days are harder than others to incorporate these essentials into my diet, also CRAVINGS. This is when I decided to give Shakeology a try. Keep in mind, I tried about 4 different shakes before I invested in Shakeology and none of those other shakes kept me full, were full of artificial junk, and none of them tasted as good. I get 23 vitamins and minerals, more than a handful of nutrients, probiotics, and the protein I need for the day to fuel my body properly and get me going in the morning…hello, energy! Something I totally didn’t anticipate, it has curbed my sweet tooth! Those who know me, know I have a major addiction to sweets…I mean, MAJOR…and I can’t believe what is happening, but some days I don’t have any sweets without even thinking about it! It IS my sweet for the day!
A couple of good sources of protein to start incorporating into your diet are: greek yogurt, string cheese, almonds (and almond milk), pumpkin seeds, hard boiled eggs (a new staple!), cottage cheese, lean meats such as turkey and chicken, fish, lentils, jerky (Krave is MSG and nitrate free), tofu, edamame, tempeh, quinoa, hummus, and oats to name a few. Many of these might have higher calories than you’re comfortable with, but they are going to keep you full a lot longer than a cookie and pull double duty as mentioned above, and added bonus…protein is great for your hair and nails!
Moral of the story…LEAN protein is worth the extra calories! And if you must have a sweet, it MUST be in moderation. You know what I’m talking about, go ahead and eat that ONE Oreo, just don’t eat a whole sleeve (note to former self).
If you are having trouble getting all of your protein, fruits and veggies in, and maybe having trouble with portion control as well, then I have the bundle for you that includes nutrition, streaming fitness, and Shakeology. PLUS, you get me as your cheerleader to help you down the road to success!