Nutrition is paramount if you’re trying to improve your body’s lean muscle mass to fat ratio. The old saying, “the change doesn’t happen at the gym, it happens in the kitchen” is true. If you’re trying to be healthier, you have to be healthier. What I mean is- you’ve got to start figuring out what works for you.
Everybody has a different body, a different metabolism, a different mental habit, and essentially different tendencies. No one recipe works for everyone. Just look on the internet, do your research. It seems like each month there’s something new coming out about what works better; paleo or ketogenic, grains or no grains, juice cleanses or shakes. Know this: YOU HAVE TO BE THE SCIENTIST. Your body is your experiment.
Not only that, but look at your lifestyle versus somebody else’s. Someone who sits for 6+ hours a day doesn’t need the same amount of caloric input as somebody on their feet for 6+ hours a day. This is just the way it is. If you have a higher body at than me today then you probably need less fat intake than I do. If you workout 3 days a week with high-intensity and I only workout 1 day a week of high-intensity, eating lifestyles have got to be different. So first off- take control of your unique anatomy and your unique needs.
Secondly- forget your old habits. They will only weigh you down and not make room for change. If you refuse to try new things you will not see progress or experience anything new. Plain and simple.
Alright, so here are my main tips for anybody looking to change their body composition. It all starts in the kitchen and at home.
1- Incorporate more vegetables into your eating. I don’t care if you have to cook them in a little oil, steam them, or douse them with spices. Figure out a way to eat more greens. Try to get them into every meal. When you grocery shop, buy foods that aren’t packaged. So basically, hangout in the produce section. Try to buy some fruit, veggies, and some starches.
2- Cut down your processed foods and sugar intake. This is a big issue- snacking and sugar consumption. Look at the sauces you use, they’re typically loaded with added sugars. Look at the processed snacks you eat- loaded with wheat, flour, sugars, additives, a bunch of chemically produced compounds. Replace snacks with nuts, fruit, and learn to put down the cookie!
3- See food as fuel. Food is gasoline for the day, not a guilty pleasure or treat to reward yourself with. Obviously it can be a treat, but if you look at it as fuel chances are you’ll start understanding that food is there for satiation and nutrition, not as a celebration. You need to make the connection in your mind that food is here to help your internal organ system, perastalic movement system, and brain neurology function better.
4- Don’t sweat if you break the rules a bit. Listen- sometimes all this food changing behavior causes more stress than its worth. If you’re making small changes to your lifestyle, be happy you’re doing it and don’t stress when you want to cheat a bit. We are only human, we cannot expect ourselves to be perfect. If you avoid everything you love, your body will resent you for it, so cheat a bit! Enjoy life! Food has a deep psychological tie to our past, childhood, and family gatherings. Don’t stop loving food, I’m merely suggesting to widen your palette and expand your mind.
5- Alcohol. Beer, wine, and lousy mixed drinks will ruin your diet. They’re as harmful as juice in my opinion. If you’re going to drink, drink sensibly first off- secondly, stop drinking crappy alcohol. Cheap beers, sweet drinks, too much wine, it all goes against low-sugar and low-carb intake. Take up tequila, learn to make drinks with natural ingredients, enjoy a little good wine and a little good beer. But to be honest, alcohol makes us weak. It numbs out the deeper issues we are unhappy with in life (that’s a whole other story).
6- Eat local meats whenever possible. Support grass-fed beef, pasture raised animals, and eat only a palms worth of meat at meals. Meat is eaten in an abundance in the western world, and I think you’ll feel incredible benefits if you instead try to eat more veggies and less meat. And again, do your best to eat wild caught fish, and avoid factory farmed meat whenever possible. “You are what you eat” no longer applies, “you are whatever the thing you’re eating ate” is the circumstance now. So if you ate chicken and that chicken ate a bunch of processed soy, corn, and chunks of other animal byproducts, that’s what you’re eating.
7- Avoid soy, corn, and too much white flour. I’m not against grains when eaten in moderation, but I don’t like soy, corn, and wheat. It all contributes to gut inflammation in my opinion. When I see people cut these things out I see huge progress in their ability to perform certain tasks, as well as improved circulation and metabolic response. Again- who am I to know if this matters? But if you do your research I think you’ll find that these items have very few- if any benefits at all.
8- Fat, eat it. If you’re cutting anything out cut out processed foods and grains. Fat is fine when eaten moderately. That reminds me- dairy, take it or leave it. I go through phases, but let the science speak for itself. DO THE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT IN YOUR OWN BODY.
9- Eat a big breakfast, a medium sized lunch, and smaller dinner. Studies are showing that this helps individuals burn fat and store nutrients for the entire day more effectively. Eat according to the sun, when its up you eat, when its down you stop. Late night snacking doesn’t do most people any good…
10- I think the most important change is to grow your taste buds. Learn to like what you disliked and dislike what you once liked. It will take time, let me repeat IT WILL TAKE TIME. But do it now, not tomorrow- learn to cook, prepare, and eat foods you never ate before. Changing your being starts with being the change.