Most of us have heard by now that we need to eat food that fuels our bodies – but what does that actually mean? Doesn’t all food fuel our bodies?!
If you’re like me, you grew up in an environment where food wasn’t used to directly energize us and support our activity.
I used it as emotional support.
When I was having a bad day, I’d eat something that tended to be sugary and processed. When I found myself to be super hungry, I would make choices that would often lead to overeating and eating the types of foods that didn’t support a healthy body.
In short, my emotions and immediate “wants” dictated the foods I was eating instead of looking at the bigger picture of nutrition and how it can HELP in our daily lives.
Mindset shift: “I’m going to eat X, in order to do Y”
Once that mind accepts that we can use food as a tool instead of a crutch or an afterthought, awesome things can happen. Here’s how we can dial it in from there:
Macros: Eating the right composition of carbs, fats, and proteins for your body type, goals and activity of choice. Examples – looking to lose weight or body fat? We need to focus on this macro balance and overall calories. CrossFitter looking to compete at a high level? We better not be taking in only 150g of carbs each day!
Timing: When do we eat? If you’re looking to fuel performance, I like to eat smaller meals throughout the day to maintain blood sugar control. Place your carbs heavily around your training. Avoid added fats around your workouts. Are you eating ENOUGH after your workout for recovery?
Quality: Ever feel like shit after eating a meal out? Yep. Processed foods, heavy sodium and fat content can leave us feeling not so great. So to FUEL yourself, focus on whole, real foods, ideally that you’ve prepared. If it’s got a long ingredient list on the label, you should think about subbing it out or at least limiting it.
Total Calories: 8 out of 10 people who come to me for nutrition coaching are not eating enough. Very simple. Total calories creates energy. We can’t drive across across town with an empty gas tank. Make sure you are eating ENOUGH food to support your activity level!
These four areas can be dialed in to the highest degree depending on what we mentioned above – your goals, time of year, training modality, and lifestyle/schedule.
But it first comes down to awareness. What are you currently doing? What do you want to do? Lay out the groundwork to make it happen.
If you’re like me and have struggled with eating to fuel your body properly, shoot me a message and let’s dial things in!