Health and Fitness: Eating for Fitness

Do you know that “the less you eat, the more fit you become”? Little wonder nutritionists and fitness instructors insist that the first step at achieving physical fitness is not by joining a gym alone but controlling what goes into the mouth. According to an article published on www.maximuscle.com, knowing what food to eat for an active life starts with eating healthy and balanced diet, and regulating it for the activity or sport that one is participating in. Consuming a balanced nutrient would help when trying to achieve the goal of better physique or improving human performance. It is important to know that when considering a balanced diet for overall fitness, there is the need to have food portion sizes in each meal.

For example, every meal should always contain a bit of protein portions such as beans or fish, complex carbohydrates like brown rice, ‘ofada’ rice, sweet or Irish potatoes, vegetables and fruits. Proteins with high saturated fat such as red meat, pork meat, processed meat among others should be avoided or used in little quantity. Eating the right food can go a long way in improving our health which in turn would enable us reach our fitness goals. According to Darla Leal in an article on www.verywellfit.com, the foods that we eat play vital role on how we look and feel. As much as regular exercise is important, good nutrition also has quite a large impact on our overall fitness and health, thereby reducing the risk of being obese and having other-related heart diseases.

When healthy eating becomes a part of lifestyle, one becomes healthier, happier and confident because healthy eating enables us reduce body fat and lose a few pounds. Therefore, including a well-balanced diet in our daily meals would help to achieve the necessary calories and nutrients needed to carry out daily activities and exercise. Below is the list of foods favoured by fitness enthusiasts for overall fitness and their advantages, as published in www.verywellfit.com:

– Oats (high in fiber, improves digestion/increases metabolism)

– Eggs (protein source, muscle building)

– Greens (antioxidants, reduces inflammation)

– Apples (antioxidants, reduces inflammation/increases metabolism)

– Lean meats/fish (amino acids, protein source, muscle building)

Tips to achieving fitness goals:

– Keeping a food diary: A food diary can help track not just what one eats, but also how much, when and where it is eaten. Spending just one day is crucial in writing down what and how much one eats and the feeling thereafter. By adding up the calorie total the next day, one can be surprised by how many calories that have been consumed.

– Calculating calories: There are many free apps and sites such as Calculator.net and MyFitnessPal that can calculate how many calories that should be eaten for good activity level, how much to eat to maintain weight and how much to eat to lose weight.

– Weighing and measuring food: Measuring is pain at first, but one could get used to it fast. This makes it possible to be keenly aware of what foods fill and what foods that are not worth the calories. Knowing this would help to make better dietary choices.

– Eating the right food: Lean protein, complex carbs and fiber are best friends, especially when trying to lose weight. This includes healthy mono-saturated fats, such as olive oil, or fats from plant-based sources rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.

– Avoid eating the wrong food: Avoid foods that come in boxes and bags, but read the label. Processed foods usually contain tons of sugar, salt and preservatives. These processed foods have been discovered to have negative impacts on human body system and most especially, the heart.

– Limiting drinking: Alcohol has a ton of calories. It is easy to add 400 or 500 calories to one’s daily total and even if one likes the liquor when combined with sugary mixes. Some nutritionists believe that the calories consumed from alcohol are particularly bad because when the body receives alcohol, it burns alcohol for fuel first, then burns other fuel. Alcohol is not worth consuming for it has more drawbacks than benefits.

– Drinking water: Water is nature’s perfect thirst quencher. It is good to drink plenty of fresh, pure water daily with meals. Drinking about 16 fluid ounces, or two cups of water, about two hours before a workout is ideal. Thirst is a sign that the body is slightly dehydrated. We should drink to stay ahead of thirst.

– Avoiding sugar: Sugar can be found in many foods naturally, such as fructose in fruits and sweeteners like maple syrup and honey. Refined white sugar provides fuel and not much else for the body needs. It causes tooth decay and can lead to obesity. It is better to get sugar from natural treats such as a piece of fruit and rather avoid adding sugar to diet.

While trying to eat right, we should remember that breakfast is a very important meal of the day and should not be skipped. Harvard University Health Letter states that eating breakfast regularly has been linked to lower risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Starting the day with healthy meal can help replenish the blood sugar, which the body needs to power the muscles and brain. Eating healthy breakfast is important especially on days when exercise is on the agenda. Skipping breakfast can make one to feel lightheaded or lethargic while working out. We can as well try to ‘colour’ the plate with a variety of fruits and vegetables to have a full range of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that would help keep the body system in check.

Filling the body with food that would provide macro nutrients protein, carbohydrates and fat would give the much-needed energy to sustain the body system by building stronger muscles and nourishing every cell in the body. Finally, according to Ann Wigmore, “The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison”. So, it is good to remember that food is our medicine and whatever we consume would go a long way to either build or mar our body systems. In an attempt to eat right or shed some weight, we should be careful not to exhaust ourselves too much so as not to fall sick. Hence, every fitness attempt should be done in moderation by remembering, in the words of Robert Urich that, “a healthy outside starts from the inside”. Always eat right.