In the homestretch of our April healthy living challenge. BIG thanks to those of you who have contributed so much to our group. Keep the wonderful comments and collaboration coming. It’s the network of support and friends who make the blog successful. Having a supportive network of people cheering you on in your own goals is a big help.
Fueling your body with the good stuff will help keep you energized and able to dance past whatever brick walls life throws your way each day.
You are your body’s own best advocate. Listen to your body. Foods are going to feel different to different people. Basic guidelines can help you stay on track with your goals, but it’s the individual food selection that’s going to take a lot of trial & error to fine tune what works best for YOUR body. Experiment, try new recipes, try new timings of various types of foods in your day, listen to how your body feels and don’t ignore the cravings but rather interpret them for what healthy food your body is really in need of.
Basic Nutrition Guidelines:
- Eat small portions or mini-meals all day long to keep metabolism churning along. This keeps your body from “starvation mode” where calories consumed are stored instead of burned and metabolism slows to the speed of quicksand.
- Eat lots of colorful, fresh produce. This provides your body with essential vitamins and nutrients it needs to operate smoothly. This should comprise a large portion of your daily diet. Upping your produce intake can increase your energy level. Avocados have the added bonus of healthy fats to help you feel full longer, while berries are loaded with antioxidants to prevent cell damage inside your body.
- Eat lean proteins. Examples are chicken breasts, lean beef, turkey, pork, tofu, black beans, lentils, tofu, fish, egg whites, nuts, etc. Whatever proteins you choose for your lifestyle, these essential building blocks will help your muscles repair and rebuild. Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc. have the added bonus of special oils within them to help with overall heart and joint health.
- Avoid high-sodium foods. Watch your labels. Generally the more “processed” something is, the more sodium there is. A diet high in sodium will cause you to retain a lot of water weight and can put you at risk for other health conditions.
- Eat a small mixture of proteins & carbs within 30 minutes of finishing your workout. A lot of people like a protein shake, but you can be more mobile/inexpensive by trying a low-fat chocolate milk chug or a yogurt cup or cottage cheese or a glass of almond milk, etc. This small window of time is when your muscles will soak up what you give them and help shorten your recovery time.
- Eat enough. If you don’t eat your daily calorie goal PLUS what you burn during your workouts, you run the risk of entering “starvation mode” where you won’t see the results you want, your body will store what you eat instead of using it, and you’ll feel sluggish.
- Drink lots of water. Water aides so much in our digestion, energy level, and sleep cycles. Eating fiber for instance, without substantial water drinking, will have the opposite effect desired- it will clog you up instead of move things along. Inadequate water intake will also bring on headaches and overall fatigue.