I had an epiphany the other day: There are two kinds of people seeking healthier lifestyles: The maintainers and the ones who want change. Maybe some of you out there have already come to this conclusion, or maybe this is in a text book somewhere. As a method to understand gym rats and mall walkers (both terms of endearment :-), I’ve distinguished the two.
The maintainers want to do just enough to be healthy, such as making healthier food choices and spending minimal amounts of time working out. These people don’t want to start lifting weights or running marathons. Maybe they are on doctors’ orders due to injury or illness. Maybe time and the level of activity over the years has taken a toll on their bodies. They just do enough to keep their heart healthy and their body nutritionally fueled.
The ones who seek change are either looking to lose weight or are in training. This could be weight-training, bodybuilding, training for a marathon or a triathlon, to name a few. Regardless of the reasoning, it is ultimately a life-changing decision with higher goals.
I am a changer. I want more out of my body than what I have right now. A lot of people who know me would ask me “Why” and say “You’re skinny as it is.” To me, skinny is not strong. Being thin is not always flattering. A friend recently said to me, “…thin is not an accurate reflection of what’s on the inside.” I have been self-conscious about my stick-thin figure since I was a teenager, trying to gain weight to offset the negative view I had of my body (with no luck). This has been an issue that just keeps aging with me. So this year I set a goal for myself to take steps towards healthy change. I decided that I would start weight-training with the help of my husband.
Weight-training sounds simple enough. But it’s not. Not for me anyway. I have an ectomorphic body type, which means I have a thin frame and high metabolism and I have a hard time gaining any weight. (Find out your body type here) What I have to do is increase my carb and protein intake, which sounds simple enough. It’s just eating, right? No, it’s about eating right.
This leads me to the purpose of this post. I attended a nutrition workshop a couple of days ago and found it quite interesting. Much of what I had heard but was unsure of was confirmed for me, and then some. Reading nutrition labels beyond the sugar and calorie content is no longer a foreign language!
Since sharing is caring, I will share my notes. My only disclaimer is that I am merely regurgitating what the instructors said. I’m nowhere near qualified to re-teach, so read on with that in mind. Do your research. And find a nutrition workshop or class near you! My thoughts will be added using brackets.
Here we go:
- This should be 50-60% of your total calories
- Go for complex carbs (not enriched/processed) which are your whole wheats and whole grains
- Fiber helps remove negative cholesterol and it’s better for your heart
- This should be 15-20% of your total calories
- For someone who is inactive, 0.5-0.8 grams of protein/body weight in pounds
- To calculate, you change pounds to kilograms: body weight 180/2.2 = 82kg. Then 82kg x 0.8 = 65 grams of protein needed
- [Of course if you are active, you’re going to need much more protein and carbohydrates, so the calculations will depend on your basal metabolic rate, and weight I believe, among a few other factors. [Someone correct me here.]
- This should be 25-30% of total calories
- These are helpful in absorbing fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E & K
- [This is really tricky, to me, because I see the word “fat” and think “no this is unhealthy.” For the next numbers I will break down what type of fats you should have]
- You want unsaturated fats.
- You should limit saturated fats.
- Avoid trans fats.
- These help to regulate processes in the body.
- [You won’t get any energy from vitamins or minerals because they have no calories]
- [The body has a certain threshold for storing vitamins and minerals, so anything beyond that threshold will be flushed out]
- To calculate, you take your body weight and divide by two (180/2 = 90 ounces)
- For a workout, here’s a guide to how much water you should be drinking:
2 hours prior
10 min prior
- The only thing to keep in mind about alcohol in regards to your intake is that for every gram, you are consuming 7 calories
I have some random notes for you too:
*Remember this for calorie counting:
|4 calories||per 1 gram of protein|
|4 calories||per 1 gram of carbohydrates|
|7 calories||per 1 gram of alcohol|
|9 calories||per 1 gram of fat|
*Your body burns 1200-1500 calories a day at rest.
*When you do not get enough sleep your cortisol levels rise, and as a reaction to the stress, your body will store more fat.
*Lunch should be your biggest meal [though my hubby says to eat like a king for breakfast, a queen for lunch, and a jack for dinner]
*Wait 20 minutes before getting a second plate
*One pound = 3,500 calories
*Popcorn is a great snack. It has good carbs and fiber. [I made note of this because I don’t really like popcorn haha!]
*A leaner body mass increases calorie burn
*You should never diet. Only a doctor can tell you to diet. What you should do is modify your nutrition intake. [Eat colorfully and eat routinely.]
I went to this class with one question in mind: What and how can I eat to benefit my goals with weight-training? You may have other goals in mind with nutrition. If you’re looking to lose weight, there is no secret diet; No secret food or drink to help you lose weight and keep it off. Do you want to know what will help?
MODERATION. HEALTHY CHOICES. STAYING ACTIVE.
No matter what your goals, eating healthy and staying active should be your major concerns. Just remember that what you put in your body is what you get out of it.