Jason, a frustrated friend, who has been faithfully going to the gym and lifting weights five days a week has been building muscle, but was having difficulty trimming down.  He was also feeling tired and sluggish during the day.   He stopped by the other night to chat about his eating.

Though Jason had been following a strict meal plan, it was sabotaging his efforts in several ways.
First, Jason was following a “common knowledge” type of diet made popular by lots of advertising.  Sadly, without even realizing it, most people learn nutrition information through commercials or from false information passed around for decades.  Things like “fruit juice is good for you” or “carbohydrates are bad” or “protein drinks will make you lose weight”.

FRUIT IS GOOD FOR YOU
Jason was eating fruit with nearly every meal and he was drinking lots of fruit juice and adding fruit to his protein drinks.   Though fruit sugar is different than refined sugar, your body still reacts to it the same way.  Sugar is sugar.  If you are trying to lose weight or become more lean, then sugar (in any form) isn’t helping you as they are empty calories.  The sugar in the fruit was also spiking Jason’s energy levels, then dropping his energy, which was why Jason was feeling sluggish during the day.

CARBOHYDRATES WILL MAKE YOU FAT
Next, except for fruit, Jason wasn’t eating very many carbohydrates as he thought carbohydrates would make him gain weight… which is only partially true.  Bad carbs will hinder weight loss.  Good carbs (which contain lots of great fiber) will help.  The lack of good carbs in his diet was another reason for his sluggishness during the day.  Good carbs such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, and whole grain bread release more slowly into your system helping you feel more full and energetic throughout the day.

Some easy ways to tell good carbs from not-so-good carbs are:
1) If there’s lots of sugar in it, it’s not good.
2) Good carbs have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.
3) White carbs (sugar, bread, rolls, rice) are not good.
4) If you are hungry within 2 hours of eating, the carbs weren’t good.

PROTEIN DRINKS SHOULD REPLACE MEALS
Nothing should replace real food.  Drinking your meals may help for a brief period of time, but you need to learn how to eat to sustain long term weight loss.  Protein shakes are great in a pinch and are always better than stopping at a fast food restaurant but most of them are loaded with sugar or (even worse) with fake sugar (a.k.a. poison) such as saccharin or Splenda which cause all sorts of physical and mental ailments.

Also, when you only drink your food, rather than eat it, you are missing a major piece of nutrition – the satisfaction part.  Your brain isn’t satisfied and feels “cheated” if you are only drinking your food.  Give your meals the time they deserve and eat them.  You will feel more nourished and satisfied, which makes a big difference.

Jason went home with some adjustments to his nourishment plan.  He was going to add healthy, fiber filled carbohydrates to his meals, drop the fruit juices, and only use protein drinks sparingly.  He’s also going to increase his cardio from a 10 minute warm up to at least 30 minute workout and decrease his gym time from five to four days a week.  He’ll report back over the next couple of weeks on how these changes are working for him and we’ll make adjustments as needed based on his results.

If you are struggling with your food intake and want some suggestions on an nourishment model that works for you, shoot me an email.  I look forward to hearing from you.