Inside Out Nutrition
This is a topic very near and dear to my heart. Whenever I talk about nutrition I try to focus on the health benefits as opposed to aesthetic benefits. Yes, eating a well-balanced diet does play a huge role in changing your body composition, but food is fuel and has great effects on our internal health. It's important to focus on how eating REAL, WHOLE foods affects our overall health and not just our external looks.
In light of recent events, I wanted to write a post to focus on the importance of proper nutrition and its affect on our overall health. As I mentioned above, I feel like social media is absolutely swarmed with the "aesthetic side" of eating "clean" when the focus should be on what it's doing to our organs, our digestive system, and other processes. Sure, some people look like they're healthy on the outside, but abs don't equate to internal health.
When I'm working with athletes with their nutrition, I like to ask questions like ... how are you feeling? How have you been sleeping? Do you notice a difference in energy levels? Your skin? By asking these questions, I'm having them focus on processes that are inside out, meaning something is changing for them on the inside even if the scale isn't budging. Obviously there is nothing wrong with having a goal of weight loss, or gaining muscle, it's just important that do it in a way that compliments our internal health. Because what fun is it to have abs if we don't sleep well, have no energy, and feeling sluggish and unmotivated?
Here are my top 3 recommendations on how to shift your nutrition inside out ...
(1) Eat REAL, WHOLE foods
Eat the rainbow is something you probably see a lot on my Instagram feed, and for good reason! The more colourful the fruits and vegetables we eat, the more nutrients we get. The more nutrients we get, the less work our body's have to do to absorb, use and process things efficiently. Focus on eating lots of fresh and colourful produce, lean meats, fish, beans, whole grains, and healthy fats. By getting nutrients from eating a variety of whole foods, our body's are better able to absorb the macronutrients (protein, carbs, fats) and use them properly.
Protein Sources: lean meats (poultry), fish (tuna, salmon, tilapia, cod), eggs, black beans, chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, nuts, etc.
Carbohydrate Sources: oats, potatoes (sweet, white, purple), quinoa, whole grains, fully-sprouted grain bread (Ezekiel), rice (brown, jasmine), bananas, apples, etc.
Fat Sources: avocado, coconut, olives, nuts, egg yolks, chia seeds, flax seeds, etc.
(2) CHANGE YOUR MENTAL GAME
Do you see food as fuel? Do you eat to live? Or live to eat? The mental game, just like sports, is just as important as the physical. If you're constantly stressing over what you're eating, how much, and when you lose the enjoyment factor completely. Stress on our minds (and bodies) actually affect the hormones in our bodies that can be super counterproductive. A lesson I learned from my late father is the enjoyment of eating and the people you surround yourself with - eating what YOU enjoy and what makes YOU feel good. If that's a slice a pizza, go for it, if it's chicken and veggies, by all means eat away!
(3) RECOVER AS WELL AS YOU EAT
This includes sleep, rest days, active recovery, and self care. What we put in our bodies is one thing, but we need to make sure we give it time to do the work it needs to do. This means aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep each night, taking rest days in a training cycle, and doing things to take care of yourself both physically and mentally (taking a bath, taking a trip, watching Netflix, whatever makes you relax). A good sleep pattern in itself gives our bodies structure and allow it time to do its thing.
There's obviously a lot that goes into different nutritional approaches and different individuals. Like I've mentioned before, you need to find a style of eating and a mindset that works for you, but always remember that nutrition should be inside out - take care of your body (it's a temple, remember?) and the outside aesthetic portion will follow.
One thing to also make note of is thinking of your nutrition like a latter. You need to take one step at a time and not skip to the top. For example, if eating real food is the first step on the latter, you need to master that before taking your next step up. Jumping up to the top isn't going to automatically make you a superhero.
Finally, if you need some guidance, direction and/or coaching on how to change your approach to nutrition or specific meal ideas - I'm always happy to help! Nutrition coaching programming is available in the Programs section of the site, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.