WHAT DOES GOOD NUTRITION MEAN?
Are you trying to eat healthier? Do you need good nutrition in your life? Our guests at our fitness retreat talk often about adopting a better nutrition plan or offer up “I really need to eat better when I get home” statements. Hey – we’re ALL FOR healthier eating but there are some gaps in what it means.
Fitness trainers, nutritionists, health coaches and other industry professionals love to these types of terms. So it’s no wonder there’s confusion. If experts talk like this, it has to mean something, right?
“You should fuel yourself with good nutrition” -or- “Let’s get you set up with a good nutrition program”.
Ok, great but what exactly is GOOD NUTRITION? Let’s stop with the generalizations and get clear on exactly what it means to eat well.
GOOD NUTRITION SHOULD POSSES THESE QUALITIES
I’m sure many of you have some sort of idea of what healthy eating means but you might not realize everything that good nutrition is…
Ultimately, a good nutrition program should balance out the amount of energy you take in versus the amount of energy you’re expending on a daily basis to either maintain your weight, help facilitate weight loss or weight gain. No, this does not mean counting every single calorie that goes in your mouth but it should be portion controlled.
It also means making sure that you’re getting enough energy if you’re an athlete or training for a particular event such as a marathon, half marathon, triathlon, etc. In addition, other health variables such as pregnancy may require a different energy intake.
Your food should fuel you. More than that, your good should provide you valuable nutrients including a proper balance of macronutrients on a daily basis. Macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates and fat. In addition, nutrient density means that you’re getting enough micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants) as well. Fresh fruit, vegetables, healthy fats, safe sources of beef and chicken, wild caught fish and healthy fiber rich carbohydrates are all foods that are nutrient dense. “Nutrient density is the ratio of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc) relative to the total calorie content in food.” – Precision Nutrition
Unfortunately, there are so many poor sources of food available these days. Not only are they available but they are staring us down at every counter, on every menu and in the grocery stores. Highly processed foods, refined sugars, trans fats, artificial sweeteners, colors and many other chemical ingredients will not contribute to nutrient density. In fact, they’re anti-nutrition. It’s understandable that in some cases some of these foods will be used (cost effectiveness, convenience, etc) but please try to reduce the consumption of these foods as much as possible.
Good Nutrition Helps You Achieve Goals – Optimal health, sport performance, weight loss and body composition are all goals that your nutrition plan should be able to help you reach. After all, it’s 80% nutrition/20% fitness, right? Whether that ratio is absolutely accurate or not, what you eat IS absolutely important. Your energy, performance, body composition changes and weight loss (to name just a few) are a direct result of what you eat.
Measurement Based – Good nutrition should be outcome based and measurable. This means that if your goal is to lose weight, a good nutrition plan should facilitate weight loss on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis (depending on your goals). You should see results and they should be able to measurable.
To take this one step further, you also need to implement a way to track your results so they can be measurable. This doesn’t just mean measurements or weight on the scale. Track variables such as energy, food cravings, mood and strength.
It Should Work For You – A good nutrition plan should work within your lifestyle. Moderation – not deprivation! Stop with the all or nothing “diets”. Food is food and it is inherently good for you. Yes, I know I stated above that you should eliminate highly processed food but if it’s a choice of whether you can eat or not, obviously go with the latter choice. That being said, there should be some give and take not only with the quality of the food but with what you’re willing to do to get better nutrition. Will you have to make some sacrifices to reach your goals? Probably. Will you have to put in a little more effort? Most likely. It does have to work somehow with your lifestyle though. You won’t reach your goals without some give and take, though.
This is where it gets a little more complicated. If you’re not exactly sure where to begin, a health coach is one of the greatest ways to reach your goals. A well balanced plan that fits your lifestyle and your goals in paramount.
If you already an expert of what good nutrition is and you have a handle on your eating habits, we suggest making one small change at a time. For example, add in one colorful nutrient each day for the next two weeks. Up your nutrition game by the addition of vibrant food that will provide a host of nutritional benefits. After the two weeks is up, pick another food habit to practice.
*Our one one one health + wellness coaching is a great option to figuring out what works for you. Don’t live near us? No problem! It’s offered via Skype or FaceTime as well!
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