I’ve decided over the next while to incorporate more nutrition information into my blog as time and time again this is the missing link for many when it comes to weight-loss and general health. As a society we have over-complicated nutrition with mass amounts of information thrown at us daily regarding diet and health. Its time to get back to basics.
The majority of my personal training clients want to lose at least “some” weight. In fact, I would say around 85% come to me with that goal. I also have nutrition clients who come to me solely for nutrition plans and coaching. I often give my personal training clients nutrition suggestions and a macro-nutrient breakdown to follow. I am able to do this because I have nutrition coaching certification. Otherwise, as a personal trainer, I would be breaking my association’s code of ethics. Something to watch for if you are shopping around for a personal trainer.
The clients who follow my nutrition advice to the letter lose weight. You’ve read the statement, “abs are made in the kitchen” or “diet is 80% of the weight-loss equation”. Its true. I have nutrition clients who do not exercise or exercise very minimally (although I strongly encourage them to exercise for health reasons). These clients have more success with weight-loss than my personal training clients who train two to three times a week (plus do extra activity on their own) but do not follow my nutrition advice.
My methods are simple. No tricks, no fads. Just plain, basic, simple nutrition. Often times, I do not need to drop calorie levels, but the opposite – bring them up slowly. Much of the time, its as simple as changing the foods that are being eaten and playing around with ratios of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. This does require knowledge how to calculate ratios, which is where my certification comes in. However, over time, I have gained a lot of experience working with clients one on one to develop their “magical” formula.
Women are extremely stuck with a low-calorie, low-fat mentality. Often I will ask women to track their foods and quantities for three days and bring it back to me before developing their nutrition plan. What I find 90% of the time is that they are eating 1200 calories or below. Now, if you put that into perspective, the lowest calorie level someone should be on (or what would be considered a “low-calorie diet”) would be 10 calories per pound of body weight. Clients are often blown-away by how much MORE they should be eating. If you are exercising and strength training, there is no possible way to gain lean muscle mass on calorie levels this low.
I also FIRMLY believe that it is NOT a simple equation of calories in versus calories out. What about the woman who has been slim and trim her entire life, who then enters menopause and all of a sudden is carrying 5, 10, or 20 pounds around her mid-section? She no-doubt is feeling down, less confident, not to mention frustrated and confused. This woman has never “dieted” in her entire life and while she wants to lose this extra weight, she has no idea where to start so she does what the media has told her to do – drop calories and exercise more. Of course this may work for a while but over the long term she is now miserable because she can’t even enjoy a glass of wine, dinner out with friends, or a piece of birthday cake without worrying that she will gain her weight back. She is also exhausted all the time due to the over-exercise and under-nourishment. Sound familiar?
How about all the people on medications? Anti-depressants, anxiolytics, anti-inflammatory drugs as well as mamy others all have an effect on metabolism. This is one of the most frustrating factors of all. Very little research has been done on the effects of various medications on metabolism. Our doctors often tell us, “well, your less depressed now, so you’re appetite is back” or something of the like… but we know, we are not eating anymore than we did before but somehow, we very quickly put on 10, 20, 30 plus pounds only a few short months after starting medication. So here we are now, feeling more mentally stable – but now depressed in another way – our clothes don’t fit. So here we go again, cut calories and exercise more… but it never seems to work long-term.
The third scenario I see is simply genetics. How can anyone dispute this fact? Some families have long and lean genes where they can eat whatever they want and not gain and ounce – or they just simply don’t have an “interest” in food. They eat because they have to – the term eat to live rather than live to eat! What about the family you see where the grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents and kids are all more than a little overweight? Are you quick to judge and say, well, they are fat and lazy and eat junk food all day? If so, you definitely need a wake up call and maybe a punch in the throat. These people battle food every day of their lives. They genetically have a slower metabolism and they are likely battling food addictions. The biggest problem is that unlike drugs or alcohol, they need food to live. If you haven’t read Food Junkies by Vera Tarmen, I highly recommend it. Its great knowledge for any person to have and a very easy read.
So now here is the question I get A LOT… why do I not promote or belong to a nutrition MLM company? Many personal trainers need supplemental income to make a go of it if they don’t have nutrition certification. I chose to invest in the education rather than an MLM start-up. This part will have many throwing fire-laden arrows at me – but hey – this is my blog and I get to say what I want! I DO NOT believe in replacing meals with shakes and supplements. Oh and yes, I’ve read it all and I’ve had the pitch several times. “But the food we eat is filled with pesticides and herbicides and its not the quality that it used to be” and “blah, blah, blah”. There is definitely truth to it and I’ve read a lot of the self-funded third party studies reported by these companies that claim to cleanse and provide optimal nutrition. Here is the thing, there is a simple joy and pleasure that human beings get from eating food. It has been that way from the beginning of time. In the bible, many stories include breaking of bread and drinking wine in times of celebration. I also believe that you can save a whole lot of money and tailor your nutrition requirements to YOUR body without meal replacements. Yes, it takes more work but in the end I can guarantee it is sustainable for your entire life. You can go on vacation and know how to eat and what foods to pack with you. You can navigate pot-lucks, family dinners and summer barbecues without your shaker bottle and enjoy it too!
Now, with that being said, I do believe in supplements. But I believe in them in such a way that is based on getting to know your body intuitively and what nutrients you are lacking. This often takes some investment in being in tune with how you are feeling and learning ways to experiment with supplements that work for you. Again, there is not a one-size-fits-all pill to pop. I don’t believe that everyone needs a multi-vitamin. If that is the case, your daily nutrition needs a make-over. The exception to this is if your job or life requires you to travel a lot. Things to watch for? Perhaps you feel fatigued a lot – have you had your iron checked? Do you suffer from a lot of stress? Have you had your adrenal glands checked? B-vitamins can combat fatigue and stress as well as Vitamin C – but maybe “brand x” makes you feel nauseated but “brand y” makes you feel like you can conquer the world! Its all about doing what makes your body feel best, finding what you need and doing it in a way that doesn’t break the bank.
I also believe in supplementing with protein powders -NOTE: protein supplements NOT meal replacements. Another area where you can find what works for you and your digestive system and not a one-size fits all scoop. Most women simply do not or cannot fit enough protein into their daily diets in order to get enough protein to build lean muscle mass. This is my top discussion with my female clients. Eat the WHOLE chicken breast, eat the WHOLE can of tuna, eat an egg and add some egg whites to the omelette for extra protein. Many women are shocked at just how much protein they do need and how little they are eating. When they start replacing other foods in their diet with more proteins and healthy fats, many of those cravings for “junk-food” dissipate.
The take away that I’m trying to give is that diets don’t work. They are always temporary and they almost always leave people gaining weight back. We need to get back to basics. Basic nutrition, how to eat foods that nourish our bodies that fuel our performance and needs and that don’t create a viscous circle of crave and cave (if you haven’t watched the Hungry for Change documentary – you need to). How many thousands of dollars have you spent and wasted on dieting? Its a multi-billion dollar industry for a reason. If there were an easy answer, we would have it by now.
If your interested in a nutrition plan and coaching please contact me. I have very limited space for nutrition clients but accept clientele on an on-going basis. At this time, all of my in-studio personal training sessions are full.