Considering all of the marketing and food industry giants that have dug their claws into the institution that is proper nutrition, it is no surprise that its image has suffered. The effects of these misinformation campaigns, false claims, fad diets and fad workouts have already manifested in climbing obesity rates and heart disease. It used to be that people would just compare car insurance quotes and money related things, now they have to compare supplements!
With one in four children suffering from type II diabetes, one in three Americans obese, and over 160 million dollars in hospital costs for obesity, it is time to mount the movement to restore proper nutrition. Individually, by establishing a diet regiment, managing toxicity, supplementing with workout routines, and keeping a positive mindset, everyone can play their part in this much needed paradigm shift.
1. Establishing a Solid Diet Regiment
In establishing a diet regiment, instead of joining the argument over what the correct percentages of macronutrients are in the diet in relation to each other, adhering to a more general framework and then narrowing specificity as the body reacts will ensure that individual needs are met. A journal or website that demands a diet composed of 35% carbohydrates, 45% protein, and 20% vitamins and minerals, for example, may serve as a decent archetype for the “average human” but fails to address individual differences and goals.
For active people, a diet of roughly 2500 calories is ideal, with protein and carbohydrates being the main staple macronutrients. Adjusting the relative amounts of these macronutrients is a matter of listening to the body and monitoring digestive and metabolic efficiency.
The best practice for someone beginning a new diet regiment is to picture the desired results and then work backwards to get achieve them. Weight loss diets, while effectively supplemented by exercise, should incorporate naturally fibrous and low-calorie fruits, lean protein, and “good” or complex carbohydrates for energy. Muscle mass diets should be composed of large amounts of both carbohydrates and lean protein, while integrating fat as well to total 3000 or more calories a day. An online personal trainer could also be a great option to help you get on on track.
2. Managing Toxicity
Frankly, because of pesticide and fast food industries fraught with skewed incentives, everyone on the planet is being subjected to an increasing amount of toxicity in their diets. Poorly maintained FDA standards in both of these industries has resulted in the contamination of food with high amounts of cadmium, mercury, lead, and even the pesticide DDT.
Managing these toxicity levels is a much harder endeavor than it used to be, as the integrity of the word “organic” is being destroyed by multi-million dollar marketing campaigns. Essentially, the only way to avoid contamination is to greatly reduce processed food in the diet. As it concerns the issue of pesticides and produce, foods like onions, sweet potatoes, watermelon, and pineapple require fewer pesticides and are healthier to eat. Learning the rest of this taxonomy will prove very useful for anyone trying to avoid toxicity in the diet.
3. Effective Supplementation
For either nutrition or exercise to be successful, they must be mutually inclusive. Especially for people who enjoy eating copious amounts of food, exercise is the single most effective tool for deterring the weight gain that will inevitably result. Working out just for the sake of combating binge eating, however, is addressing a problem with another problem.
Exercise allows for more calorie consumption, including fats, within the diet while improving metabolism, energy levels, and appearance. A body under strain needs fuel in the form of protein and carbohydrates to rebuild torn muscle fibers and re-energize. Timing is critical when refueling the body; the “glycemic window” as many refer to it is the first 30 minutes following exercise. This is when the body will most effeciently metabolize protein and use it to repair and strengthen torn muscle fibers. In this limited window of time, a 20 to 45 gram serving of a protein supplement is ideal for muscle recovery and growth.
4. Staying Disciplined, Creating Incentives and Defying Stereotypes
Self-forgiveness is a must, not just in practicing effective nutrition but in any pursuit. This is because of the frailty of the human psyche when it is strained by effort: it will use any slip-up as an excuse to regress to the unhealthy habits of the past. When dieting and exercise are taken seriously, the occasional donut or cheeseburger is fine, so long as it remains a passing pleasure as opposed to a consistent habit.
Another powerful tool in practicing strong nutrition is creating incentives. For every workout, for example, one should allow himself or herself a small reward, whether it be a favorite snack or activity. If this reward system is practiced consistently enough, the mind will become positively conditioned and encourage the body to exercise so that the reward may be realized.
Finally, in assembling the proper mental approach to nutrition and exercise, it is key to avoid the stigmas against carbohydrates and calories. Without either of these, life would not exist. Complex carbohydrates are an excellent, healthy fuel source that can be increased in the diet relative to exercise. Furthermore, they are foods that most people like to eat: pasta, bread, potatoes, and so on. Calories are nothing more than energy, as vital to life as water. The only time these two entities are a problem is when they build up residually as a result of poor or no exercise.
The best thing about working towards proper nutrition is that it is a “downward spiral” without the negative connotation; it gets easier and more enjoyable as more progress is made. Aside from increasing metabolism, digestion, energy levels, disease prevention, mood, stamina, strength, and longevity, proper nutrition guarantees visible improvements in appearance and confidence. It is the idealization of what proponents of positive change have been saying since the beginning: change begins from within, and spreads.
Author Bio: Lisa is a freelance writer for a fitness website full of weight training tips. She is always on the lookout for new ways to promote healthy living. When she isn’t outside doing her daily exercises, you can find her inside catching up on the newest television shows.