Proper nutrition is still the missing piece for most people and why they are not seeing great results after working out consistently every week. Whether you’re looking to just firm up, lose 50 pounds of fat, or build more lean tissue having proper supportive nutrition is a MUST. Over the next six weeks I will be focusing on the top 6 nutritional mistakes people make outside the workout.
1) Mistake: Focusing only on calories and not the ingredients
Over the last 12 years I have talked to and worked with thousands of people on their nutrition and eating habits. Even after so many years of nutrition coaching I still have people coming in asking the same questions and making the same mistakes nutritionally. There seems to be a new diet book or program out every month. Yet almost all diets focus on calories first and ingredients second or not all.
This is a problem and I will explain why:
A calorie is a unit of heat or energy. Every time you move you conduct heat and energy therefore your body actually needs calories to function and yes to burn more calories. Most people when I say the word “calorie” associate this with something negative. Many are wired to believe just by watching how many calories they eat alone is a successful weight loss plan. This is flawed because one would assume and are taught a calorie is a calorie. This is not true. Maybe, a calorie is a calorie outside the body but as soon as it’s put in your mouth and swallowed/digested it changes.
For example a 270 calorie Snickers candy bar compared to a 270 calorie 7 ounce grilled skinless chicken breast are equal in calories but do you think they are digested the same? Do you think they affect your metabolism and blood sugar levels the same? NO!
A candy bar will have a big ingredient list (many unnatural) and it will most likely contain a lot of fat (some trans fat –hydrogenated oils -the number one cause for heart disease) and lots of sugar, this sugar will spike your blood sugar levels and then it will crash it leaving you feeling like you want to take a nap about 15-30 minutes after eating it. After your blood sugar crashes you will eventually crave more sugar or fat to bring blood sugar back to normal…unfortunately blood sugar will never stabilize from this food. The candy bar contains fat and sugar and comes with very little natural ingredients so this will have little or no effect on your metabolism. (0-.5% increase on metabolism during digestion)
Snickers ingredients are: milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, skimmed milk, lactose, milkfat, soy lecithin, artificial flavor), peanuts, corn syrup, sugar, skimmed milk, butter, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, lactose (a milk product), salt, egg whites and artificial flavor.
So let’s now take a look at that 270 calorie 7 ounce grilled chicken breast. The chicken breast will contain mostly lean protein; it has only one ingredient CHICKEN. It has little fat and contains almost all protein (the most thermic macro nutrient)so this would literally have a very positive leveling effect on your blood sugar give you stable energy and increase your metabolism by up to 20-40% during digestion. The chicken breast will also fill up you longer than any candy bar would.
Still think a calorie is just a calorie? If your goal is long term fat loss the ingredients are much more important than the just calories. Most fail to realize how many calories they actually need to burn fat it’s probably a lot more than your 800-1200 calorie diet plan, and if this all you are all eating good luck losing fat and keeping it off for the rest of your life.
If you’re buying 100 snack packs of cookies thinking this is a good way to lose fat (not just weight) and keep it off you are severely misinformed. One hundred calorie pack of cookies or a 200 calories serving of natural hummus and carrots which is better for weight loss? The hummus of course! Look at the ingredients first not just the calories!
Avoid anything with a long list of unnatural ingredients no matter what the calories are and what it says about being healthy on the front of the package. You should be looking for and eating real whole natural foods and ingredients.
Look for Mistake #2 next week!
Your Fitness and Nutrition Coach,