Body For Life: Part Two {Diet}

Friday, February 18, 2011

"I wish I could go into every fitness center in North America and tell every single person who's exercising -- whether they're walking or running, swimming or spinning, lifting weights or whatever -- that without optimal levels of the nutrients your body needs, you are not going to get the results you're looking for. If you're anything like me, you exercise to create a positive result, not because you've got nothing else to do. In fact, you may be doing more harm than good because when you exercise a nutrient-deficient body, you're not making it healthier: you're actually creating a worse nutrient deficiency."

My good friend Bill {Philips} is big on the fact that you can't just work out without changing your diet and expect to change your body. If I could pick between exercising and not dieting or dieting and not exercising, I would easily choose the former. Hands down. I want to eat what I want to eat, and what I want is generally not healthy. {Would now be an appropriate time to confess that french fries are my favorite food?}

Below is a long quote, but it really caught my attention, as I feel like I'm the person he's describing!

"If you don't have the nutrients in your system to recover, much less improve, following intense exercise," Bill says, "it's like you're flicking a lighter with no butane -- you might get a spark but no flame. You have to have both -- the fuel and the spark. You have to have the material for that fire to burn, and you have to have the spark to create the flame. Essentially, there are a bunch of people out there with blistered thumbs just slapping away at a lighter and burning out the flint because there's no fuel in their bodies to create combustion. The result, naturally, is frustration. Imagine if you were holding a lighter and you sat there going flick, flick, flick -- and nothing happened. Eventually you'd say, 'Screw this. This lighter doesn't work.' And you'd throw the thing away. Well, this is what too many people do with the idea of exercise. They give it a go, without feeding themselves properly, and then they quit in despair."

Basically, he encourages everyone to accept the fact that "optimal nutrition is just as important as exercise."

The Body for Life diet program is comprised of eating six meals per day, not three. By allowing only two hours to pass between meals, you're keeping your metabolism up and not allowing yourself to get hungry. You're also allowing your body to more efficiently absorb the food you do eat (which, on the BFL plan, should be good for you!). Even though I don't always like not being able to eat my favorite {read: fatty!} foods, I do like eating every two hours. I truly never feel hungry. The meals are supposed to a balance of protein & carbs and should be "fist sized." Here's an example of a typical day for me:

Breakfast: Apple-Cinnamon oatmeal (you have to watch sugar in instant oatmeal, though)
Snack: Special K Protein Bar (chocolate & peanut butter - really good, actually!)
Lunch: Turkey sandwich (1 piece of bread cut in two, half a piece of cheese, two pieces of turkey, very light mayo & mustard)
Snack: Apple
Snack: Triscuits (8) and Laughing Cow cheese (they have a new sun-dried tomato and basil kind... it's really good!)
Dinner: Chicken & green beans (Wes is a fabulous chicken maker. :) He's great with seasonings!)

Meg is always challenging me to eat less carbs. One night I got mad about her daily carb lecture, so I decided to total my nutritional information for the day. I was shocked to find out that I had eaten only a little over 1,000 calories that day, and I hadn't felt hungry at ALL. BUT I also found out that I had eaten almost 90 grams of sugar, and you're supposed to have 35 or less in a day. Whoops! I've really been astonished to learn how much sugar is in almost every food we eat. It's crazy.

Finally, Bill says that you should have 10 cups of water per day. This is what I thought would be the hardest part. Before starting BFL, I almost never drank any water. Truth be told, I have a ridiculously small bladder, and I have to go to the bathroom WAY more than the average person. So I rarely drank any liquid, truthfully. I'd have a 12-oz can of diet coke in a day and it wouldn't be crazy if that's all I drank. So I wasn't looking forward to drinking water, and certainly not that much of it! But this is the embarrassing thing -- I think my body was dehydrated before! Not shocking, I know, but still -- it was quite a realization for me. Now that I've started drinking water consistently (I average around 50 oz of water a day), I find that I no longer crave diet soda like I used to. I still like it, and I still drink it, but I don't "need" it like I used to. I'm sure my body was just craving any liquid at all, and since Diet Coke was all I gave it, that's what it wanted. Kind of sad. But I'm encouraged to know that I'm giving my body what it really needs now, even if I do spend half my day walking back and forth to the bathroom. {Maybe I can count it as extra exercise?!}

So anyway. That's the diet scoop. It's not so bad... but I'm probably more willing to say that tonight because tomorrow's my FREE day, and I'm going to Cinnabon for breakfast...! :)

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