Here are the top three things you can do, to take control of your nutrition.
Number one: Be aware of liquid calories. Calories in your beverages may not be a bad thing, but they are most certainly something to pay attention to. Did you know that an original style large Iced Capp has 470 calorie? Ouch! That’s more than most meals should be for the average person. If you are like me and love the things, then try getting one made with milk instead of cream, that drops it to 290 calories, and if you get a medium with milk, it drops to 220. Still not great, but better.
Often I see folks go to a certain booster drink place and then head next door to a wrap place. The juice can have over 700 calories depending on the choice made and when you add it to the wrap – it’s easy to have a lunch that is over 1,500 calories. Remember that those quick digesting, not filling drinks are loaded with sugar and calories. Read the nutrition books in the restaurant or go online and be informed. For calories’ sake it’s best to avoid all sweetened sodas, sweetened or flavoured coffee drinks, sweetened tea and smoothies. Replace these high-calorie drinks with water, skim milk and unsweetened herbal tea. Because while they taste great liquids generally don’t satisfy hunger,and most are just empty calories.
Number two: Be prepared. This is the killer of all of the best intentions. It doesn’t matter how dedicated you are environment is stronger than willpower. If you go to work with no food packed you will almost certainly either miss your morning snack or have the junk food that is in the break room, gas station or drive through. Lunch will inevitably be a compromise at a restaurant where the portion size is too big, the calories too high and the sodium more than your daily recommendation.
The best way to take charge of your nutrition is to have a cooking day at home, usually a Sunday, and make large amounts of healthy food, then store it in the fridge or freezer in meal sized containers or handy larger containers for daily distribution. Before work in the morning, or before bed the night before, make your pre-planned meals and snacks and have them ready to go. That way when you are at work or even at home you have what you need and not what is tempting in front of you and way off your plan.
Even worse is that when you don’t bring food with you it is way too easy to just keep working, have another coffee and skip a meal, then another meal, and then it is late afternoon, you are starving, your body has been consuming muscle for energy, and reducing your metabolism to compensate for the lack of calories. Then you have to eat so badly, that you finally do, and you go overboard, eating way too many calories, which are stored as fat. This can all be avoided by bringing your snacks and meals with you in the proper amounts for your goals.
Number three: Avoid going too far. Another extreme is trying to be ‘perfect’ all the time, cut out all ‘fun’ food and try to control every calorie and every moment. This too can be flawed because life doesn’t often fit into this plan. There are birthdays, weddings, reunions, special functions and many opportunities in life to indulge. In my experience, people that try to stop all indulgences often fail because they feel like they are being deprived, punished, tortured, etc. Their ‘diet’ becomes a temporary thing, something to be tolerated and survived for a period of time. This is a recipe for disaster. Life is about balance and a nutrition plan should support a healthy lifestyle, not control your every moment to the point of misery.
Yes, we need to be aware of our calories and make treats just that — treats to be enjoyed once in a while. Another issue is this — if you cut off everything ‘fun’, the tendency is to then over indulge when you finally do cave in and then you go overboard and eat the entire dessert section at the buffet line.
Set aside a day or two a month, maybe even a day a week when you can enjoy a meal of whatever you like, including dessert. Remember, it is not what you occasionally eat that determines the state of your health. Rather, it is what you consistently and constantly feed your body that will create your health or lack of it.
Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake. He can be reached at 403-887-7667 or check out www.personaltrainersylvanlake.com for more information.