March is a Nutrition Month – Part 1

DISCLAIMER:  If you weight train with high intensity and don’t have weight issues you can stop reading now or continue and get a discussion going perhaps in the comment section. If you are overweight and have been struggling with weight you might want to read on. In any case, be forewarned because what I am about to say might surprise you. 

I hear people complain about not being able to lose the extra weight they are carrying even though they exercise regularly. What happens very often in these cases is this: after a while of giving it a try they quit due to a lack of progress. They will often times say that exercise doesn’t work for them and they will forever be doomed in their predicament. And I don’t believe this to be true. Let me explain.

In my humble opinion, which is based on my own experience with losing weight, you should shift your focus from the gym to the plate. I know this is not a study of any sort and my experience might not be the golden rule, but I dare you to give this a try and change it up a bit. After all, the exercise alone does not seem to be working, so why not try something else? 

What I mean by shifting your focus from the gym to the plate is this: “In your battle against the scale the food you consume plays a far more important role than how much you work out in the gym.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for physical activity! After all, I go to the gym quite regularly myself, but not to lose weight. By no means am I saying that you should abandon physical activity! What I am saying, though, is that unless you change your eating habits, the gym is not going to turn you into a skinny person. Period. Chances are you are working out quite vigorously, spending hours on the treadmill and maybe even lifting some weights. You come home famished after all this work and you compensate by eating the same foods (probably even more of it) that put you in your predicament in the first place. After all, you have earned it, haven’t you? Well, not so fast. If you do want to lose the weight and reshape your body you need to burn the fuel that has already been accumulated in the form of body weight. So if you do decide to continue with working out, you have no room to reward yourself in the form of food. And by REWARD I mean eat extra and eat the wrong kinds of food. Not at this stage of the game. When you shed the weightrun to eat, you can certainly reintroduce a treat meal to fire up your metabolism, but when the weight is still there you need to concentrate on cleaning up your kitchen cupboards by swapping MacDonalds  for lean meets, veggies and plenty of water.

When I first decided to do something about the state I was in it never even crossed my mind to sign up for the gym. Eventually I did, because my goals had changed, but to lose weight I didn’t automatically think GYM was the solution. I started from my food choices. I read a couple of books and I quickly understood that what was shaping me (or rather misshaping me) was the food choices and not necessarily lack of exercise. So, I’ve eliminated white sugar, white flour, all grains and all takeout – instead I concentrated on fuelling my body with lean meats, fish, legumes and leafy and fibrous vegetables along with controlling my portion sizes. I remember I had the attitude of all or nothing that was fuelled by my anger and disappointment with myself for letting it get that bad. To say that I was mad with myself is an understatement. Sometimes it takes falling down real hard and low to be able to have the guts to pick yourself up with increased intensity, determination and purpose. 

So, I dare you to swap your gym routine of treadmill for lighter exercise like Yoga or Pilates. Instead concentrate on eliminating all starches from your diet and that includes potatoes and derivatives, pasta, rice and sugar and skip the take out.  See what that does to your body, your well-being and your mood. 

To be continued….

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