Recently I’ve noticed that many of my clients, readers and online followers are asking a lot of the same questions surrounding health and fitness. If they're asking, perhaps you might be wondering as well?
With that in mind, I thought Spring, where everything is new and represents a fresh start, would be the perfect time to answer some of these FAQs and set the record straight.
Fruits and vegetables are not carbs... are they?
Yes! Fruits and vegetables are the highest quality carbs and are an essential component in balancing blood sugar. Carbohydrates provide the body with the necessary sugars for our bodies to produce energy. The better-quality carbs you put in, the more energy you will have, and it will last longer. Low quality carbs such as breads, muffins, bagels, cold cereals, chips, cookies, pasta, etc. will give you a quick burst of energy but is short lived and often leaves a person feeling tired an hour or so later. Because processed carbs enter the blood stream much quicker than fruits and veggies, eating them causes the classic "spike and crash".
Is eating breakfast really that important?
Absolutely! Breakfast literally means “break the fast”. By morning, blood sugar is low and it's time to refuel. Skipping breakfast causes blood sugar to plummet, forcing the body and brain to find fuel elsewhere. If you do not feed your body, your body will feed off its own muscle to provide the sugar needed for your brain to function, and it won't take it from your stored fat. Burning muscle slows down metabolism and makes it more difficult to burn off the fat when your body does release it. The bottom line is, skipping breakfast causes weight gain and/or increased body fat, low energy and a slower metabolism.
If I exercise enough, I can eat anything I want and not gain weight, right?
Your weight is determined in the kitchen, your fitness is made in the gym.
Don't get me wrong, exercise is definitely an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But relying solely on exercise to control your weight is not only not sustainable, it can be detrimental to your health. For example, a person may exercise intensely every day of the week and look to be in great shape. If that person didn't also eat healthy balanced foods and were to suffer an injury making him no longer able to continue exercising, weight gain is sure to follow. Something else to consider is what that person's body fat percentage registers at. There are many people who are at an acceptable weight and really do not need to lose any weight, but their body fat percentage is above what is considered safe. In essence, they can still look thin on the outside, but actually carry excess fat on the inside. Food is 70 to 80 percent of our results. And no workout can outwork a bad diet.
Aren't all protein shakes the same?
No! All protein shakes are not created equal. Be sure to read labels and know what the ingredients are that you will be consuming. Avoid shakes that contain fillers, soy protein, artificial sweeteners, flavours or colours, added sodium. All of these tend to cause the body to bloat, retain fluid and waste, and load the body with toxins. Look for shakes that use a whey and micellar casein protein blend for quality, performance and satiety. Some shakes are made of simply protein alone, while others vary in combination with carbohydrates and/or fat. Knowing why you're using the shake and what you want to get out of it will determine what mix you choose.
If I eat less will I lose weight?
Not necessarily. Anyone can lose weight by restricting food intake or even not eating, but the results will be temporary. Depriving the body of food not only causes the body to store fat and slow metabolism, it also deprives the brain of the nutrients it needs to function. Over time, the damage can be quite significant.
My diet worked before, why isn't it working now?
Diets fail long term because their success is based on cutting or depriving the body of certain food groups or restricting calories a person can have on any given day. Our bodies function optimally when balanced; cutting, depriving and limiting only serves to create an imbalance. It is a scientific fact that based on the physiology of the body, when we consume a protein, a fat and a carb (PFCs) together, every three to four hours, our body is in a state of homeostasis (balance). In this state, both blood sugars and hormones are balanced, metabolism is turned, and the body releases stored fat that our muscles take up and burn as energy. Consistently missing one of the PFCs, restricting calories or limiting the number of meals per day causes the body to go into starvation mode. Metabolism slows right down and the body stores fat. Exactly the opposite anyone attempting a diet wants in the first place.
If you're planning on doing a little ‘spring cleaning’ for your body and your health, ditch the diets and simply begin making some healthy changes that you can stick to.
When choosing a program, ask yourself these four things;
Is it backed by science?
Does it make sense to me?
Can I do this for life?
Would I let a child do this?
If you can answer ‘yes’ to all of these, you've got a program for health and are setting yourself up for success.