Healthy eating and nutrition for beginners
I thought I'd create a forum for us beginners who are starting to get hang of the working out part but realizing we can't keep eating like we did before if we want to see results.
You can google your eyes out gathering loads of information, but nothing goes up to discussing with others. Here we can share what we've learned, give tips to help others and ask those questions that we don't dare asking the big boys and girls because we're afraid to look stupid.
A couple of guidelines: we discuss healthy eating for gaining or losing weight and/or building muscle. Please scroll through the forum first to see if your question might be answered in another post. To create a new post, use the Reply-button in the upper right corner or underneath an existing post. To reply to a specific post, use the Comment-button underneath the post.
I recommend checking out Scotty K's posts about body types ("morphs") and losing/gaining weight, you find them among the active topics. They're good reading.
A little story about how silly it can be when you don't have knowledge about nutrition. My grandmother (dad's mom) who was morbidly obese one day asked my mom how to lose weight. My mom responded that eating rice cakes is good. Some time later my grandmother asked mom when is she gonna start losing weight. Turns out she had just added rice cakes to her normal diet and thought they'd make her miraculously lose weight.
Anna do you know if its possible to gain a pound or 2 by lifting weights. I added weights to a lot of my exercises to push myself harder. I work out everyday but i seem to stay in the 165lbs-168lbs range now.
Also if possible im 5'9 and 32 in july what would be a healthy weight range be for me ?? Thanks in advanced YOUR Awesome!!
I've realized my main problem is I don't get enough calories and I don't get enough protein. I was surprised to realize I don't eat more than around 1500 calories a day and my protein intake merely reaches 20%. Today for instance, I've been up for seven hours and so far eaten 335 calories (!!).
Meal prep, people say. Eat six times a day, they say. How am I gonna eat six times a day when I don't even remember to eat three times? And meal prep, right now I can't even muster the energy to write a weekly menu.
After reading this you'd think I'm thin, right? Well I'm not. Apparently it's possible to be overweight even on 1500 calories a day and working out. I feel like my body is working against me. It doesn't want to eat enough to let me work out as hard as I'd like to, but still it doesn't eat little enough to make me lose weight. And I can't seem to take control over it, it kinda lives it's own life.
Having a really bad day today and needed to get that out of my system.
Oh wow, I really have the same problem. I'm quite slim though, but I definitely have these stubborn areas that just don't seem to wanna change. I think it comes down to not eating enough for years and my body has just gotten used to it. It all makes sense. When I hear about people eating 6-8 meals a day I'm still like "whaaat" but often half of those meals are healthy snacks/shakes etc... Still, it's almost impossible for me to do right now and I think if you're like that too, it's better to set your goal to 3 meals a day, that's what I'm doing from now on.
*walks to the kitchen for some really late lunch*
I've read up a lot on the 6 meals a day 'thing' and it's not actually that important to do it. Most fitness people do it anyway so they don't feel hungry and keep their energy levels up. Eating 3 meals a day is fine, it'll not turn you into a blimp overnight. All that's important is to get the correct amount of calories and, whenever possible, a decent ratio of carbs/protein/fats. Over the last few years I fell into the trap of thinking I needed to eat less, consume nothing but cabbage soup, eat zero carbs, slurp down meal replacement shakes, pills, fast, juice, the list goes on and on over a period of about 10 years. It was only after finally getting my act together and going back to the fundamental aspects of training I used to have 20 years ago that I got back to the basics.... Eat enough of the good stuff, train hard, sweat, drink water, sleep well, that I really began to get healthy again. I only eat every few hours now because I'm used to it, I've also eaten 3 meals a day.
I NEVER used to have breakfast, I used to have 3 or 4 cups of coffee and eat nothing until 6pm. It was only when I started training hard at the gym that I realized I had zero energy and needed to force myself to change. It took me a while though, and the only way I managed to do it in the end was to have the breakfast ready, heat it up and sit there until it was gone. Now I couldn't imagine not having breakfast! I'd be starving!!
I've don't the meal replacement shakes and protein drinks 'thing' Anna, and I can see your point there. my advice would be to prep a few days meals so that when you open the fridge door you're only doing it to take a box of food out rather than see what to have. Make the meal small if you need to. After a few days your body will start to program itself to eat and you'll begin to find it easier. Again, I was the same. I just couldn't be bothered to eat and as a result I only ate around 1500-2000 calories a day. As a result of this I just could not lose weight!! Now that I really understand what I need to eat, and the calories I need to consume I can control my weight quite comfortably to the point that I know how long it will take me to get to a certain point.
Everyone can lose or gain weight once they understand how much they need to eat each day and it bugs the living shit outta me that people still believe the best way to lose weight is to just eat less. How much is less?!?!
Do people honestly believe that they will lose weight by only consuming 200 calories a day?!?! That's like filling a car with a cup of fuel and expecting it to carry you for miles... Before too long you'll be left stranded, unable to move and wishing you'd used performance fuel!!
(You can always tell when I'm hungry on the topics pages!!!!)
Zucchini noodles??? What are these wondrous things? I have heard of spinach pasta which left me reeling but never zucchini.
I am such a pasta fan that I'm too scared to make it as I cannot control my portions at all. I always cook too much and eat it like a person that has been starving for days.
Pasta to me is like milk to a baby. It's my crack. Specifically lasagna. I'm a human version of Garfield the cat.
Although Garfield would think he was possessed due to my recent and enthusiastic exercise regime and would call for an exorcism.
To be honest I don't snack but since exercising I'm not really as hungry as I used to be. Most at lunch or dinner I have to remind myself or force myself to eat for energy and fuel sake.
This is new to me. I was also an extreme Nutella fan. So you can imagine how my friends are possibly wondering if this will last.
I know some people are wondering or even being skeptical as to why I put down so much time and effort in helping other people, so here's my story.
In 2008 when I had been in therapy for several years I felt now I knew my mind and what it could do, now I wanted to get to know my body. I didn't know where to start, so I put an ad in the local paper asking if someone could help me out. A woman, a complete stranger, answered that she would be glad to help me. From that on and for over a year, she was my free of charge PT and workout buddy and she taught me so much. She even came and picked me up by car after work and gave me a ride to the gym. She did this because she had just come out of a relationship and she felt she needed something to help her work through that. I'm so grateful for this wonderful woman putting down time and effort teaching a stranger for free. She by the way became a trained PT later on. :)
And it's not just that. I have so many wonderful friends that have helped me so much, through depressions and struggling with mental illness. People who have been there for me through thick and thin, taking care of me, being observant on how I feel and helping me out when they see that I'm down. I've never had to ask for help, it has come to me.
Every chance I get to pay it forward, I take. I guess it's just a question of karma and what goes around, comes around. I also think that people in general are not acknowledging the hard work other people put down enough, and that people deserve praise for putting in that effort. It just kind of motivates me to motivate others, and what I give I also get back, tenfold.
I think my biggest problem with this healthy lifestyle is how confusing it all is. And ive read so many conflicting things by renowned personal trainers and nutritionists. Ive read things like to effectively loose weight you need to have your goal calorie intake, some say 1200 and other say 1500+ ive heard things about the calories your burning but i cant figure out how many i should bet burning. Does anyone know how to work out how many calories to burn for your calorie intake? Is there a percentage or something that i can work with untill i get my intake where i need it. Cause im seriously struggling to get past 1300 cals a day. And the more i eat the less im motivated to workout. I literally feel so full constantly between the 1300 cals and 1.5L water. someone please help me lol! :)
I'm bumping up this thread again, Scotty has given such great advice in it.
What I've been thinking about this morning is using natural remedies to boost metabolism, reduce sugar cravings etc. We all know that there are no short cuts and being healthy requires hard work. But there is actually scientific proof that some minerals, spices etc can help you lose weight, be healthier and so on. One example is chili, which boosts your metabolism. Another one is chrome, which is supposed to reduce sugar cravings. A common method is drinking a glass of warm water with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in the morning. There's no scientific proof for that having any effect as far as I know, but a lot of people swear by it.
Do you take any supplements or use any spices or herbs that you think helps you on the way? I take vitamin D from September until April (winter is daaaark here) and I should take potassium, which is the most important mineral for the muscles and nervous system.
hi honey's I'm baaaaack!!
So here's a bit of science on working out and the effect it has on your immune system. I've done a fair bit of readin gon it coz I keep catching bugs (most of which because I live with 3 young kids) and I wanted to know more about the correlation...
Here ya go!
Whether professional or recreational, any strength athlete can experience an ‘immune crash’ during periods of intense, heavy, or high volume training as he or she loads the body above habitual levels in an attempt to get stronger, quicker, or more powerful. It’s accepted both through anecdotal and epidemiological evidence (the branch of medicine that studies cause of disease) that moderate, regular training can reduce the risk of infections by having a positive effect on the immune system. Therefore, you can avoid this ‘crash’ in immune health.
This is what happens when you push your body to it's upper limit, past the moderate, regular training.
Intensive exercise alters a number of immune factors including circulating leukocytes (more commonly known as white blood cells). The chief function of leukocytes is to protect the body against microorganisms causing disease. To use a team sports metaphor, this is like trying to defend with five fewer players (leukocytes) on the field than your opposition (the virus or bacteria). While you’d be able to do it, you massively increase their chances of getting the ‘W’ (ultimately you becoming ill).
Ultimately, this means that sore throats and flu like symptoms are more common in athletes than in the general population (Heath 1991), and once infected, colds may last longer, therefore detrimentally affecting training and performance (Pedersen 1995). I'm not saying I'm an athlete, but I do believe that the way I train puts my body under significant stress and makes me susceptible to bugs.
Antioxidant supplements such as vitamin C and vitamin E help.
Supplementing with carbohydrates (more precisely 30–60 grams of carbohydrate per hour during 2.5 hours of strenuous training), will improve the efficiency of the immune system while still continuing to train at a high intensity
BCAA's have been found to help by reversing the reduction in serum glutamine concentration observed after prolonged intense exercise. The prevention of the lowering of plasma glutamine concentration allows an increased response of lymphocytes as well as an increased production of IL-1 and 2, TNF-alpha, and IFN-gamma, which is possibly linked to the lower incidence of symptoms of infection.
Other than that it's just a case of accepting that you'll be more susceptible to those nasty little bugs. As for me I've begun taking a vitamin C supplement every morning, and I'm looking at foods that have a higher concentration of vitamin E to see if I can make a morning smoothie to go with my breakfast. I already strongly believe in the power of carbs and I've taken BCAA's in the past but I've no desire to start pumping my body with supplements when I much prefer the natural approach...
Hope this makes interesting reading, it's a very small snippet of the research papers I've been checking out but I didn't wanna go OTT
Hey I started thinking about something today. The body needs to be shocked and kept guessing workout wise, but what about calorie wise? Could there be an advantage to now and then eating above or under your normal intake? Or would that just cause it to not let go of it's reserves?
I've read a couple of articles on carb-cycling now and what hits me the most is that my regular diet is extremely low in carbs. I based my calculations on 1 g of protein per pound of bodyweight and calculated the percentages based on that. According to the calculations a low-carb day should give about 25% of my calories from carbs (0,5 g of carbs per pound). I very, very seldom eat that many carbs. A high-carb day would be 45% or 175 grams of carbs and from where I stand that just sounds plain crazy.
I'm thinking I might develop my own variation of this, but first off: is 1 gram protein per pound a good starting point? I see different numbers everywhere. I'm guessing I weigh somewhere around 175 pounds.
so... If you happy skimblers remember, I've been doing some research on the impact heavy duty training has on the immune system. As a result I found I needed to increase my vitamin C & E consumption to help me stop getting bugs.
I've been searching for smoothies that would help jack up my vitamin numbers, but the stuff I would've needed to drink would have messed with my calories. For the last week and a bit I've been taken vitamin C & E tablets (I don't like multi-vitamins) and so far so good I suppose. One of the girls had a cold and i didn't catch it! So yay!!
It's too early to tell obviously, but I'm hoping it will help me stop catching every damn bug that flies around. I was growing tired of continuously training under 100%
I was thinking about writing a guide on nutrition, having read many books I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on the subject. But then I changed my mind, and the reason for that is simply because i feel like scientific knowledge of nutrition isn't giving us any helpful guidance for living a healthy life. Theres two reason why i feel this way:
1: Even though scientists are figuring out more and more about how different nutrients affect the body, the subject is just still too complex that we don't have the full, comprehansive understanding of it, so alot of the data is subject to interpretation. Even experts who have studied nutrition for several decades can't agree, and give very subjective opinion about what they think is a healhy diet.
2: I've also come to realise that there is no 'bad' nutrient, that if you eliminate it you will live a healthy life. Take macronutrients for instance, I'm sure you've all heard so much about good fats, bad fats, good carbs vs bad carbs, essential proteins. If you eliminate one of those, you will live a very unhealthy life. Sure, you might loose weight, but this is because your body is left struggling.
What I find to be far more helpful, are studies and theories about the corrolation between certain foods and health problems. For instance, looking into diets and eating habbits of different cultures and comparing those to their overall health. Then comparing that information to other regions where diets are similar and checking if their results are consistant. "The China Study" is a good example of this, where they found over 8000 99,9% corrolations! But this is a somewhat dry read.
For starters, I would recommend a book called "Food rules: An Eater's Manual" written by Michael Pollan. This is a handbook consisiting of 64 simple to follow rules for a healthy lifestyle. The reason why i recommend this book is because it's very consistant with the such findings without going too much into the details.
Watch this 20 min presentation in which he talks about - which i find to be the most important - step towards a healthy diet.
I've been trying carb-cycling now for a couple of weeks and despite of my efforts it hasn't gone that well. Low carb days are no problem to me but the high carb days have been rough. I've managed to eat a bit more carbs but the problem is they end up taken out of my proteins, not my fats. On my low carb days my protein intake is at an acceptable 30% level, so that's good!
The real problem that this has brought with it is that as soon as I moved to a more "advanced" level and started keeping track of macros, planning my workouts etc, working out and eating became chores instead of fun and games. Instead of being rewarding in itself it's about results. Instead of being about feeling good it's about progress. And I'm a feelgood person. If something isn't fun, I don't bother. I haven't gotten any better results either, so there hasn't really been any positive side to it.
So what do I do now? Well, I'm gonna try going back to basics. Take a few steps back and see what happens. Make working out fun again and let food be, you know, food instead of molecules. I'm gonna try not tracking my food intake for a week or two, but of course I'll stick to my healthy eating habits and my calorie goal, which I know well by now.
Let's see what happens!
Unfortunately, I see my need to cut down on fast food somewhere down the line for me which I will find extremely difficult because 1. Its delicious, and 2. It is much-needed calories for me whenever i dont take food for work. Also, although somewhat related to this post. I have noticed I get hungry more often now that I am working out. Is that my body telling me that it does need more calories that I am currently taking? I was already eating a lot before I began working out because I have a high metabolism..
I've been weighing myself daily for the past week to find my "perfect" calorie intake. It's been really interesting and I'll continue doing it at least next week as well since I feel I'm learning a lot about my body. And I'm happy to say I haven't gotten discouraged by weighing myself at all!