Food and nutrition go much further than just losing body fat and going on a diet. It is what fuels your body, your mind, and can empower you to take steps that are much more simple than what you think. Here are eight ways food and nutrition transform your body, and possibly even your life. Here are 8 ways food and nutrition transform your body along with tips to make it easier.
HAVE A LIST OF YOUR EASY AND FAVORITE HEALTHY RECIPES TO MAKE
I don’t know about you, but when I see those delicious and healthy meals in magazines, I quickly realize expecting to eat like this every day is pretty unrealistic. I mean, unless you have a chef, are a chef, or have food delivered to you, it’s much easier to make realistic transformation and goals by cooking delicious yet EASY recipes. You may have time on the weekend to make something a little more fancy and time-consuming, but it’s great to have a list on your fridge of easy recipes you can cook, especially when in a pinch, or just don’t feel like cooking. Make a collection of your favorite and most simple recipes to make, that way you always have something ready. Make it easier on yourself.
MAKE MEAL PREP EASY WITH BATCH COOKING
One key to success is being prepared. If you don’t have any food in your fridge, it just makes it way too easy to jump off the wagon and burn it up by gobbling all the snacks in the pantry or making a quick run for fast food.
To make this easier on yourself to transform your body, pick one or two days a week where you can batch cook. Batch cooking is preparing healthy food that you can keep in the fridge and split into meals for you and your family for a few days in advance or even for a whole week.
If your spouse or family doesn’t like the idea of eating healthy, just cook it anyways because they’ll realize that healthy can still taste delicious. Maybe it’s not pizza, pasta, and cheesecake every night, but they get to follow your example of putting wholesome food in their bodies. (By the way, we make delicious pizza, pasta, and cheesecake all the time but healthier versions!)
Always have your choice of protein, carb, and vegetable ready in the fridge. We are meat eaters in my family, so we always have one or two choices of meat to choose from like:
- paleo stuffed peppers
- gluten-free beer roast beef
- Korean beef
- paleo tacos
- keto bacon blue cheeseburgers
- lettuce wraps
- zucchini boats
- pork chops
- zoodles with meat sauce
- grilled steak
- chicken chili
- paleo chili
That’s just to name a few. That list is literally written down on a dry erase board on my fridge because they are the easiest to make, which is awesome when I just don’t feel like coming up with something, plus they taste delicious. I don’t know about you, but I am ALL about saving time and money so I can enjoy life.
We keep some raw and cooked vegetable dishes in the fridge, but sometimes we just toss frozen broccoli in containers with a little Himalayan Sea Salt, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and heat it up later at work. It just makes life a little easier.
In our house, we have a morning ritual with food prep. While some people love prepping containers of meals for a few days or even an entire week, I’m not quite that proactive. Instead, I spend no more than 10 minutes every morning portioning out 3 or 4 meals every day, along with 1 or 2 protein shakes, and carry it all in my cooler. It really is that simple. It just takes a little practice. However, if you have all the food ready in your fridge, it’s easier to grab and go!
CHOOSE QUALITY FOOD FOR A QUALITY BODY
Our bodies are made to digest and absorb the nutrients we eat. That means, you are what your body has absorbed, so quality does matter. You want wholesome and micro-nutrient rich foods to keep you fueled and healthy going down to the cellular level. There is a thing called inflammatory foods, and they do exactly that: inflame you. There are some foods that contribute to an inflammatory response in the body, to where the body and mind cannot function it’s best, heal, or recover very quickly.
Endless studies show how sugar contributes to such inflammation, and it feeds yeast in the body that creates this Candida epidemic that has been found to be the root of many diseases and disorders. One statistic shows that one in every three people has some sort of food intolerance. The more you put something in your body that isn’t tolerable, it continues to build an inflamed environment within you.
Thriving health and vitality are almost impossible in inflamed environments, so being able to identify those stressors in your body to eliminate them can help create a better environment where your metabolism can work in your favor, vs the opposite.
You are not what you eat, but you are what you absorb! This goes for diet, as well as mentally, relationally, and spiritually as well. So FUEL YOURSELF THE GOOD STUFF!
CHOOSE YOUR DIET FOR YOU AND YOUR LIFE…NOT THEIRS
Whether you line up with vegan, keto, paleo, high carb, low carb, high fat, low fat, carnivore….. the best thing you can do is choose what you believe is healthy for you and your life. There are many healthy people groups around the world that eat very differently. It doesn’t mean one group is right and the other is wrong between vegan or paleo. Can’t we all just get along and respect each other?
I am part of a professional nutritionist group, and even the freaking professionals are at each others throats and blue in the face trying to prove their way is the best and only way. Quite embarrassing. That’s a sign of immaturity, no matter the alphabet soup behind their name.
Something in common with all the different diets is that it asks you to be more mindful of your food. Mindful is always a good thing. Mindful in eating, training, relationships, and even your breathing opens the door to success on many levels. What matters is you doing what you believe is healthy and making steps in that direction. Choose what is best for you, your needs, your health, and your family.
Not to mention, nutrition has barely broken the iceberg. There is so much more for us to yet discover and expect what the latest fads and ‘science’ to show will change and evolve. So be easier on yourself and do what you (and your doctor) believe is the best.
COUNTING MACROS CAN HELP BUT NOT NECESSARY
Macros are macronutrients, such as your protein, carbs, and fats. By using myfitnesspal.com, you can track everything you put into your body to have a better visual of what you are actually eating throughout the day. The majority of people don’t eat what they believed and perceived what they were eating until after they calculated it all and saw for themselves. If you would like to start tracking:
- Start a free account on myfitnesspal.com
- Enter your current height, weight, sex, and goals
- Enter if you want to lose weight, maintain, or bulk because you’ll have different calories you’ll need to aim for.
- After that, the first thing I do is make sure my protein is at least 1 gram per pound of lean body weight, or keep it about 40% of all my macros.
- From there, I decide if I prefer to have more carbs or more fats, I never have equal fats and carbs.
- A macronutrient breakdown example could be 40% protein, 38% carbs, and 22% fat
If you don’t like the idea of eating that much meat, you can still calculate vegan or vegetarian sources of protein and lots of protein shakes. And if you just don’t want to eat that much protein in general, you don’t have to if you aren’t an athlete. The daily minimum recommended by the National Institutes of Health is 0.36 grams per pound for a sedentary person, and athletes are usually 1 gram per pound. So the amount of protein depends on your weight, goals, and lifestyle.
Working with Olympians and Professional Athletes, the only way they can be in elite condition is either with high protein macro’s that I’ve explained above, or they follow the keto diet which is much lower protein, but they thrive on eating a super high-fat diet, and hardly any carbs. There are so many different routes to go, and no one way is the only way. I’ve worked with coaches in the past that believed their way was the best and only way, and immediately respect is lost for them. There are many ways, and it’s a journey of finding what works best for you. It can be confusing, but what I’ve found to be the most balanced, easiest to plan for, while still making progress on my own goals, is to use the method below.
HOW TO PORTION CONTROL WITHOUT COUNTING CALORIES
I got started into bodybuilding competitions and had very strict diets following very strict meal plans. While meal plans and strict plans are great for competitors and professional athletes, it’s not something realistic or sustainable for the rest of the world. I eventually tried flexible dieting where you can eat anything you want as long as it fits into your macros for the day. I hated that more than anything else. Some absolutely love it and swear by it, but I just hated it.
It was time-consuming and annoying to sit there and calculate every ounce to eat that day. I’m a wife, a mother, a business owner, and an author. I don’t know about you, but we all need LESS reasons to have our heads buried in our phones distracted from the greater things in life. (Don’t wait til your marriage fades away or your kids grow up before you learn this!)
What I found that worked better than anything else, was following the golden standards of Precision Nutrition’s portion guide by simply using your hand to measure portions. Cover Model Jamie Eason uses the same Precision Nutrition approach from Oxygen Magazine Challenges.
HOW TO PORTION CONTROL WITHOUT COUNTING CALORIES
Portion Control for Men: Choose a leaner protein the size of your palm, and double it. Have two fist-sized portions of vegetables, two small cupped hands of a carb, and two thumb sizes of fats. Eating 3 -4 meals like this is about 2,300 to 3,000 calories, so there is a lot of wiggle room to make adjustments to see how your body is best responding.
Portion Control for Women: Use one palm-size for a protein, one fist size for vegetables, one small cupped hand for carbs, and one thumb-size for fats. Eating 3 -4 meals like this would be between 1,200 and 1,500 calories per day. It’s a great way to start, and you can tweak changes if you are needing more or less food to get to your goals. Your hand is always with you which makes for a perfect tool to measure your meals.. without obsessing about every morsel.
I’ve used this same approach to dial in my body fat even lower by carb cycling. We’ll talk more about that in the future, but the point is, is that unless you are about to step on a stage, mastering this will help you with all the muscle gains or fat loss you want to make! This method has been the easiest for me when maintaining in the offseason without counting calories.
I accomplished this before and after in only three months by using 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, and using my hand to measure my carbs, fats, and vegetables. I’m living proof and many others are, too.
The earth and soil aren’t what it used to be, so the fruits and vegetables don’t contain a fraction of the vitamins and minerals they once did. To keep our bodies not only functioning, but thriving, happy, and well, we add in supplements to what we can’t eat enough of naturally.
One study showed a man ate almost $700 worth of fruits and vegetables every month to save himself from heart surgery. One of the leading heart doctors in the world didn’t believe his patient could save himself from such a surgery, but alas, he did. That doctor was so amazed, that he studied in great depth how exactly his patient did this and began his own supplement line to pretty much cram that $700 worth of fruits and vegetables into a supplement to be more affordable, and seeing people’s lives changed left and right.
Spending that much money or gosh… thinking about how much time it would take to eat that much fruit and vegetables make me tired ha! My most favorite supplements that are foundations for me are a great fish oil, probiotics, and multi-vitamins.
Studies have shown that the health of your gut is directly related to your brain health…. so take good care of your gut!
I am also a big believer in Granite Supplements for my Athletic Performance and Recovery. They have joint care, pre-workouts, fat burners, and many other options in their store. More specifically, their Recovery Stack is my favorite because it contains Recovery Blend, my favorite Essential Amnio’s that I drink every time I lift weights, and their Joint Care. Use my code BaileyD10 for a discount and get it here.
SMALL DIET CHANGES
If all of this is too overwhelming, please stop and take a deep breath and remind yourself that you really can do this. Most of us were raised on poor diets, making it challenging to learn new and healthy habits, but it is not impossible to teach old dogs new tricks. While some learn better by jumping in 100% for a lifestyle change, some prefer to stick their toe in. If you need to stick your toe in to transform your body, it is still a START! Don’t get discouraged. It’s ok to take small steps. Take those small steps and practice and practice it every day, and then you can add that second step. Before you know it, you can turn around and see the steps you’ve taken, but you have to take that first step…. or toe.
Transform Your Meals in Stages
- Starting at stage 1, for example, would be running to McDonald’s for lunch every day. You’ll probably get a value meal and eat it quickly to rush back to work. This is our starting point, and it’s ok.
- Let’s transform it to stage 2…. to where you opt to maybe go to a real burger place where you are pretty sure they use at least real meat. If they use grass-fed burgers, then you hit the jackpot! Instead of fries, maybe get a side salad with it, and maybe just a few potato chips. Order a diet instead of regular soda. Maybe you even eat it sitting down, and not in your car. This is all good… it’s all still progress!
- You are eventually ready for stage 3, where you prep your own burgers at home and bring them with you. You may even buy a whole grain bun from the market, and all your own fixin’s so you can sit and relax.
- By the time you are at stage 4, you are a pro. You are eating your grass-fed burger you made at home, with a salad you prepped at home too. Instead of soda, you brought a jug of water because you are trying to drink a gallon a day. And then since you don’t have to rush back to work, you can sit outside and relax or go for a walk.
You can be at stage one, but ask yourself what you need to do to get to stage 2? (See the nutrition infographic below.)
Or maybe somewhere in between? Where are you today, and where do you want to be? It takes small habits and small changes. It gives you an opportunity to be mindful in your own health creating transformation not only in your body but in your habits and health as well. By putting these into practice, you will learn a more balanced approach to transforming your body without fad diets and gimmicks. By following the portion control guidelines by measuring food with your hand, using supplements, and having the easiest recipes on hand, you will see the transformation in your body plus make this whole healthy lifestyle thing so much easier!