Since I decided to change my lifestyle to be more healthy and active, there is one topic that gives me the hardest time. That topic is nutrition. People often think that all you have to do is go to the gym or run to be healthy but nutrition is important than the physical activity you may be doing. This is not just for those who are looking to lose weight, but even those who are looking to maintain the weight they are at.
The best way to get started is to realize what, why and when you are eating. In order to change bad habits you need to recognize what could be leading to them. For the what, think about what you are eating. Are you eating processed foods or are you cooking your meals from fresh ingredients. Start a food log and keep it for a week, it will allow you to see what all you eat and will set you up to see how you can change.
For the why, realize if you are eating because you want food or you need food. When I am stressed, I crave sugar. I knew I was not hungry but I would eat anyway to get the satisfaction. After reading my food log, I would ask myself why I craved the items I did. It allowed me to uncover some of my food triggers and gave me the knowledge I needed to change the behavior.
For the when, you need to think about what may be causing you to eat outside of standard meals and snacks. Time of day makes a difference in how it can affect the body. If I eat after 9pm, I usually do not get a good night’s rest and then I am tired the next day. When I am tired, I eat more junk, high sugar and high calorie foods. I learned to change my eating to better suit my schedule and give me the energy I needed to fuel my workouts.
Notice that I did not tell you what to eat, how many calories or how to plan meals. Why? Because everyone is different and how many calories to eat or what to plan is something you should work out it a doctor or nutritionist. Nutrition can take a while to figure out and can change as your body changes so do not be afraid to try something new or get professional help. The Wellness Director at your local YMCA would be happy to give you tips to succeed!