In today’s hectic, fast-paced world, the saying ‘You are what you eat’ is more meaningful than ever. After all, we’re constantly surrounded by junk food and foods that masquerade as healthy foods. At the same time, having a positive body image is more difficult than ever. We are constantly bombarded by advertisements promoting magical solutions for weight loss and social media posts setting unrealistic expectations and leaving us frustrated if we don’t fit the bill.
The healthiest way to cope with and overcome both these challenges is to focus your energy on fitness. But there are obstacles on that journey you need to dodge. Improper eating habits, from making poor food choices to binge-eating and skipping meals to having an insufficient daily water intake, could derail your fitness goals.
Becoming fit requires you to lead an active lifestyle and take a proactive approach and deliberate, mindful action that will lead to lasting results. Healthy eating which incorporates foods with high nutrient density is a big part of that as it promotes fitness and helps boost your performance in the gym by providing nutrients to all the muscles you engage during gym sessions. Click here to find more about how a personalized workout and a personalized diet plan go hand in hand.
You cannot out-exercise a bad diet
However intense your workout may be, it will not be as effective and as productive if you have poor eating habits. Depending on how bad your diet really is, it is possible you will still shed fat, but you can definitely expect your weight loss and muscle building journey to be much more difficult. To make things worse, unhealthy eating can easily spiral out of control. When it comes to what we eat, there is no room for quick fixes. Lasting results require ongoing effort.
There is a thin line between what may be perceived as blatant fat-shaming and telling it like it is, but here’s the thing: you only live once, and you need to make it count. A healthy lifestyle that involves a balanced diet, regular workouts and plenty of sleep should be your long-term goal, not something that you do just because you have your bestie’s wedding coming up and want to look your best for the occasion.
If you reach your imminent goals and then just go back to business as usual, it will be all the more challenging to go back to square one and repeat the whole process the next time around. To take proper care of your health and wellbeing in the long run, you need to incorporate healthy changes into your daily routine. And if that’s what you truly want, a bad diet followed by a fad diet is not the way to go.
Boost your willpower & determination
Now that you are painfully aware of the fact that all those midnight pizzas, bags of chips, boxes of cookies and tubs of ice cream do come back to bite us, you need to take decisive action. Set short-term goals that will inspire you and give you a sense of accomplishment. For instance, make a promise to yourself to buy something pretty as a reward for giving up on processed foods.
Since old habits die hard, the trick is to adopt healthy habits to take their place. And if your newly-adopted healthy habits make your fitness regime more effective and help you reach your fitness goals faster, you will never feel the urge to go back to the old ones.
Restrictive diets are a big fitness no-no
Unless you have an underlying health condition which requires a restrictive diet plan such as the trendy keto-diet, such diets are not healthy. They may promise quick weight loss, but they are ill-advised as an ongoing solution to keep your weight under control because they could have a lasting damaging effect on your overall health.
Fad diets are never the answer, as they usually restrict your intake of certain nutrients, usually carbs. But carbs are a necessary fuel that your body needs. Instead of opting out of carbs altogether, choose your meal options wisely.
A balanced diet helps you combat fatigue
Does your body make you look like you’re 10 years older than you actually are? Are you constantly disappointed by the reflection in the mirror? Do you feel chronically fatigued or hopelessly lethargic? Are you gasping for air after a 30-second jog?
If so, you need to find and stick to a fitness program that will help you shed fat and build lean muscle, making you stronger, more fit, more energized and more confident in yourself. But a program of that scale is a nearly impossible feat if unhealthy foods are usurping the dominant position on the menu. To enhance your endurance during your workouts and outside of the gym, make mindful choices.
For instance, you may be tempted to grab a chocolate bar when you’re down on energy. This will indeed supply you with a quick source of energy, but after that spike, you will be overwhelmed by a rapid drop in blood sugar level which causes fatigue. You end up in a vicious cycle that’s getting you nowhere near your goal. To avoid these and similar pitfalls, make smart choices such as complex carbohydrates which take longer to digest and help you maintain a higher level of energy throughout the day.
Limit portion size, increase meal frequency
Your body needs proper nutrition throughout the day, especially if you’re working out, as any professional personal trainer will tell you. Think of it as fuel that can affect the quality of your fitness sessions and how fast you can reach your fitness goals.
You need nutrients before and after your workout, as well as in between workouts, when your body is recovering. Focus on the diversity of what you eat and control how much you eat in one sitting, but increase meal frequency and try to have between 5 and 6 meals a day.
The secret is in variety
Whether you’re doing cardio, resistance training or flexibility workouts, your muscles need proper nutrition which should combine all food categories:
- Protein helps build and strengthen your muscles
- Carbohydrates help increase your energy levels
- Vitamins and minerals help boost your metabolism
- Water keeps you hydrated and is required for most processes in your body.