Sorry to bust your bubble but you absolutely, unequivocally cannot out-exercise bad eating. Period. I can’t tell you how many people have come to me over the years wanting to get fit, sporting Instagram pictures of the people they want to look like (this is a whole other subject!), claiming they are ready to do anything the get the body that they dream of having. Sadly, very few of these people have actually been willing to commit themselves to the whole equation of fitness. True some of them were willing to workout hard, be consistent with their training programs, but not many have been willing to systematically change the way that they eat.
Let’s put it this way: Do you know how long it takes for the average woman to work off 500 calories through exercise? It might surprise you to know that it takes her approximately one full hour of fairly intense exercise. Do you know how long it might take the same woman to consume 500 calories in food? Well, it could easily take her about 10 minutes—depending on what she is eating. Shocking, huh? Having said that, if her 500 calories is a part of a healthy eating plan—great. But if it is the fast food fix, the quick muffin from the coffee shop, the giant plate of pasta and desert, not so great. To give a solid example, that fast food burger that you ate on the go yesterday while you were driving had a minimum of 540 calories—not to mention the unhealthy fat and massive amount of sodium! That oversized muffin that you picked up from the coffee shop? Up to about 400 not-so-healthy calories.
The true equation to health, fitness and all of the positive side effects that come with it is a combination of exercise and good diet. In fact, I would say—and I stand by this statement fully—that 70% of losing body fat is through healthy eating. And, no, there is no quick fix on this one. No detox, no fasting, no juice cleanse will give you lifelong change.
Am I going to bore you with how to eat healthier…you bet I am! When I am working with a client, I calculate their specific macro-nutrient needs based on their height, body fat, intensity of exercise and specific goals. From there we put together a detailed eating plan that can work for them. If you don’t have that option, there are a few easy steps that you can take that will gradually improve the way you are eating. I want to stress gradually here. The incremental, healthy changes that you make will be changes that will last a lifetime—not just the two weeks that you might follow a juice cleanse
- Cut back on your refined sugar intake. Try to work down to only 20-30 grams per day. You will be surprised how much sugar is in the foods that you assume are healthy. Try reading the labels the next to you go to the grocery store. I guarantee you it will be an eye-opener. The more whole, fresh foods you can begin to incorporate into your diet the easier this will become
- Watch your portions. We are a country of over-sized everything. Here me on this, a portion of pasta should be no larger than the size of your palm—not overflowing the entire plate. That old guideline of no more protein than the palm of your hand, healthy carbs than a palm and a half, and healthy fats the size of your thumb is true. If you follow this easy guideline, you will be implementing portion control.
- Put down the juice. Yes, you heard me right. Juice is loaded with sugar. While it may be natural sugar, it is sugar. Arguably, the most beneficial part of the fruit is found in the fiber, which is missing when you only drink juice. If you are about to reach for a juice, reach for a piece of fruit instead, and try to focus your fruit eating on berries whenever possible.
- Eat healthy fats. I’m always surprised how many people are still afraid of fat. Olive oil, nuts, avocados (1/3 is a serving!), coconut oil are all healthy choices. This does not mean eat three pieces of avocado toast. Everything in moderation.
Start with one of these steps and focus on it. Don’t try to do everything at once—set yourself up for success. If you tell yourself that you will never eat another piece of pizza again, then next week you will eat a whole pizza! Incremental changes become life changers.
Think before you eat—are you really hungry? Is your plate balanced with a majority of veggies? Can you do without that fast food fix just this one time? Get your mind behind your eating—your body will thank you!