Fueling our bodies correctly is a vital element of any training regime, yet the more I look at clients’ food logs, the more I see the same mistakes hampering their progress.
- Drinking too many calories. Whether it be alcohol, soda, fruit juice, calorie-loaded coffee drinks and supposedly healthy smoothies from Jamba Juice, and the like, who’s primary ingredient is sugary frozen yogurt, it’s easy to consume 500 + calories per day of nutrition devoid liquids. That’s a third of many people’s daily calories!
- Cereal and instant oatmeal for breakfast. Yes, it may be a quick and easy breakfast but many cereals hide huge amounts of sugar and provide very little nutritional value. They are just empty starchy processed carbohydrate calories, as the vitamins listed on the box are merely sprayed on prior to sealing the package at the plant. Sadly, the lab-produced nutrients are less easily absorbed and utilized than naturally occurring nutrients contained in fresh veggies, fruit and proteins. To make oatmeal (or rice) instant, a manufacturer removes the oat’s outer shell or “bran,” which sadly contained the only nutrition in the grain.
- Pre-packaged meals and frozen foods. Yes, many may be low in calories and quick, but the preservation process robs food of vital nutrients. Plus, your digestive system ain’t impressed by the sodium, preservatives and bi-products added to ensure freshness for…seriously? This is gonna be on the shelves til 2013?! Lastly, Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice and other quick “healthy” meals keep calories and fat low with extremely small portions of fat-burning protein amidst seas of pasta and rice, as more processed elements fare best through the freezing & microwaving process.
- Dried fruit: Fruit is not always good for you. Dried fruit often contains preservatives and extra sugar adding needless calories. More dried fruit is being made without sugar and additives but we still end up eating a volume of dried fruit more similar to the size of a satisfying piece of fresh fruit, which makes it easy to consume several hundred sugar calories in a few handfuls! Even if you do pick a sugar free dried fruit and consume only the serving size, say a small ¼ cup of raisins for 130 calories, you alternatively could have had 60 grapes or about 2 cups of fresh fruit!
- Too few calories. Clients with a little or a lot to lose limit often come to us with the “less is more” theory. They think the less they eat the more they’ll lose quickly, thus try limiting themselves to fewer than 1000 calories per day. While they experience quite drastic weight loss initially, they predictably plateau and usually gain weight back. Why? Extreme calorie restriction over a week or more trips the survival mode switch. Your primitive body equates low cals with an oncoming famine. In effort to conserve energy, it drastically decreases metabolism. Returning to a more typical adult caloric level of even 2000 calories a day inevitably results in weight gain.
The good news, these mistakes are all avoidable! Knowledge is power, right?
We found more mishaps to avoid from Men’s Health Eat This Not That. Read on!
7 Habits That Make You Fat
7 Habits of Highly Obese People