“We are what we eat”
I am unsure who coined that phrase. But as I get older, I see the truth in those words. When I have a day of eating “junk,” I generally feel, well, pretty darn “junky.” I feel “jiggly” and have low energy. If I eat relatively clean, I feel lean and on top of the world. Achy body at night – not enough water during the day. Low on fuel; low on brain power. I am what I eat!
Good nutrition and regular exercise are keys to being strong and healthy!
Contact Pam to get started! 630-653-8152; email@example.com
Nutrition’s role in our lives changes as we get older
Nutrition gets tricky as we get older. Our nutritional habits are strongly entrenched by the time we reach our middle years. And the habits are hard to break. We are pretty clear of what we won’t give up, yet we know or at least have a sense of what is working or not working with our eating habits. Throw in the physical changes that occur with age, and we have a potential train wreck if we are not observant and mindful on what we are putting into our bodies.
Certainly nutrition plays a role in what the scale says. And that is an important factor. But it is not the only factor. We also must consider how our choices affect our energy, our mental efficiency, how our body feels and moves, and our health. Want to be strong and healthy as you age? Nutrition is key.
“Good” nutrition defined
We all can be well served by following the healthy guidelines of lean proteins, plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats. But the actual composition of our “good” nutrition should be tailored to our individual needs and preferences. There are, however, specific criteria that can help us define “good” nutrition. Balancing these five factors creates healthy nutrition. (Note: These criteria are based upon Precision Nutrition’s definition of good nutrition.)
- Energy Balance
- Nutrient Density
- Health, Body Composition, and Performance
- Outcome based
- Sustainable (for us and even the planet)
Calories in versus Calories out
We all know this “formula” for weight management. Consume fewer calories than you burn, and you will lose weight. Eating more than you burn results in weight gain. Balance the equation, and you have stable weight levels.
Many of our personal training clients work with us to keep the weight off as they age. Regular exercise helps make that happen. But we also need to adjust calorie levels as our metabolism changes.
Nutrient and Calorie Density
Nutrients such as protein, vitamins, and minerals are key to every physiology process in our bodies. They are high quality fuel for our bodies. Getting a healthy dose of nutrients each day keeps our aging bodies strong and healthy. Getting the most out of the calories we consume is also part of a successful nutritional strategy.
What to feel good, be strong, and be healthy? Eat higher nutrient-dense and lower calorie-dense foods.
Nutrient density is the ratio of nutrients relative to the total calorie content in food. Fresh fruits and vegetables are examples of foods with higher nutrient density. Lean protein too!Calorie density is the ratio of calories to the weight of the food. Food like potato chips and cookies are examples of higher calorie dense foods. Low calorie-dense foods? Fresh vegetables, broth-based soups, and chicken breast.
Health, Body Composition, and Performance
Eating to only lose weight or keep it off can push us towards a diet that does not give our bodies what we need to be healthy, active, and productive. Paying attention to how your diet affects medical factors like cholesterol and blood pressure is essential as we get older. To stay lean, you may need to switch up the foods you consume – e.g. less sugar and processed foods and more vegetables and other whole foods. If certain foods cause spikes and dips in your energy, achy joints, or digestive discomfort, consider eliminating those foods from your diet.
Strand Fitness can help you be accountable and disciplined with your nutrition and exercise.
Contact Pam to schedule your complimentary fitness consultation. (630-653-8152; firstname.lastname@example.org)
Gaining weight? It is likely you are eating more than your body needs. Feel like”crap” after eating certain foods? Then that food is probably not the best for you. If your body composition, energy levels, and health factors are not what you want, then it is likely your nutrition plan is not working or you are not working your plan. (Of course, be sure to check in with your doctor for unexplained changes in your weight and energy levels and if you have health concerns.)
Being objective and honest with your nutrition is key to success. Accepting the consequences of your choices is the first step to making positive changes in your nutrition and to accomplish your goals.
The best nutrition strategy is one that helps you reach your goals and is one that you can sustain! Best approach – start with small changes that you are committed to, know that you can keep, and are able to make a permanent part of your life (or until your life changes). Otherwise your strategy may just be a pipedream!
Please note: Be sure to consult a medical professional for any concerns related to your health and nutrition. This article is not intended as medical advice.