4 Pillars: Nutrition
At Edge Fitness we believe that #fitnesshasaGREATERpurpose. And to achieve that greater purpose, whatever YOUR greater purpose is, it takes deliberate and sustainable effort in what we call the 4 pillars. These 4 pillars are Movement, Nutrition, Recovery and Mindset.
Today we’re going to take a broad overview on Nutrition and see how we can make this often confusing, frustrating and powerful part of your health and fitness journey work for you, in your everyday life! Let’s talk nutrition!
Let's face it... nutrition is tough. It can be complicated. It can be confusing. It can be pull-your-hair-out-and-run-screaming-straight-to-the-freezer-and-eat-the-whole-pint-of-ice-cream maddening! And that can be on a good day!
And we've all been told, rightly so, that it’s especially important to have good nutrition and fitness together. So how do we do that in our everyday lives and make difficult (but not impossible) changes stick for those times when things are good and for when things are hard?! (LIFE is a 4-letter word, you know!)
We do this by developing a rock solid foundation built on doing the basics. We do them at a level that we are ready, willing and able to do, with what we have and when we have it. And we do them to the best of our ability, focusing on progress not perfection, on getting a little better each and every day. And by dialing up or dialing down, not hitting ‘pause’! (more on that later).
So what are the basics of nutrition? That may be open for debate, but here at Edge Fitness we focus on EATING WHOLE/UNPROCESSED FOODS, PORTION CONTROL, and EATING MINDFULLY.
Doesn't sound like much does it? But when you do it right, it really makes a difference. We believe that you are what you repeat. So if you can keep things at a repeatable level, you start to make some progress instead of making excuses and more trips to the fridge. Because… when you repeatedly do those simple, basic (not necessarily easy) small habits, big change can and will happen.
Small habits lead to BIG change.
Why do we focus on the basics so much? Because the basics are the building blocks of the many benefits that nutrition can give us in our daily lives. Food is fuel for our bodies, our brains, our activity. The energy and nutrients that we get from the food that we eat helps to build our bodies as we grow, repair the damage and stress of everyday living and crushing it at the gym, helps us stay focused and on task throughout the day, to sleep better, build muscle, burn fat, stay healthy and pain-free, reduce inflammation, helps fight depression and anxiety and life-ending disease… or, it can do just the opposite if we don’t watch what we eat and instead eat what we watch on the TV as you mindlessly “Netflix and chill” away another dozen cookies, another pint of ice cream or another bag of chips. Another great saying is that food is medicine. It’s either helping you, the good stuff above, or hurting/poisoning you, the bad stuff.
When nutrition can be so complicated and confusing, on top of our overstressed lives, it makes it harder to stay on the good side of nutrition and all those amazing life changing and life prolonging benefits that we get from making good nutritional choices. However, if we don’t have a good grasp on the basics...
That's why we start, and can always go back to the basics...
EATING WHOLE/UNPROCESSED FOODS
These foods give us the most nutrition, the most good for us, are the simplest and best of what nature offers. And these FOODS are, gasp!, reallly FOOD!
Strawberries, almonds, eggs, broccoli, chicken, fish, avocados don't have to try to convince you that they are good for you or tell you what they are with expensive marketing and packaging tricks. They are what they are, REAL FOOD!
They are packed full of nutrients - what our bodies need to repair, grow, function, perform properly in all situations, and calories - the energy we need to do the things we want and need to do. And eating these real foods helps us to avoid the anti-foods and anti-nutrients. These are the poisons (sorry to be so blunt!) that we put in our body in the forms of processed, refined, fortified, “naturally and artificially flavored” (what does that really mean anyways?!), has to tell you what it is and what they want you to think it is (like “all natural”, “made with”...) so you don’t think about what it really is and what else it is made with (like Pepsi, Coke and McDonald’s “made with all white meat chicken”... should CHICKEN nuggets have to tell you that they are MADE WITH chicken? What else are they made with?!).
Do you count calories or macros? What's better? What will get you “tone”, muscular, slimmed down, or whatever that you want to be in the least amount of time, with the least amount of effort? The answer... it depends. It depends on how much time you want to spend on all this and how much of your life you want, or have, to give to the process.
In the real world (because LIFE happens!) we need good nutrition but that is relative to what you are ready, willing and able to do with what you have and when you have it. The basics are something you can always fall back on when things are tough (remember 2020?!) by dialing down. And the basics are something you can build amazing results on when things are good, by dialing up. But in order for them to be there when you need them, you have to be continually working on them.
There they are. Portion control is something super simple you can always do and be mindful of. A palm for protein, a fist for veggies, a cupped hand for other carbs and a thumb for fats; 1-2 portions for each at each meal, depending on what your goals are and where you are on your journey. Typically, 1 of each for females and 2 of each for males. And, guess what... this way of portion control has your calories and macros built into it (more on that in future posts so stay tuned!)! That's why it's so important to get it right by doing it often! Remember that you are what you repeat.
The basics here may sound sim
ple, but that doesn't mean they are easy. Far from it actually. And this one is especially true for many people. Eating mindfully means being aware of what, when, where, how, why... you are eating. We boil these down to two things... Eat slowly and until 80% full.
This helps you become aware of your hunger, fullness and satiety cues. That is incredibly powerful to help you make change, to make lasting change, that you can continue to work on trying to master for the long haul.
Give it a try. Set a timer and see how long you eat. Then at another meal, try and see if you can take 15-20 minutes to eat. Notice what you feel, think, taste, smell, see, hear... how hard or easy was it to do that? If you need a more specific challenge, try taking 10 minutes to eat 10 almonds. Give a try and then let us know how it went!
These basics may not be flashy or sexy, but they work. And when you don't have as much left in the tank and it's only the start of the day or second day of another long week, and the kids and work are putting more and more pressure on you to be in 10 places all at once, you need something that you can handle. And you need something that makes sense.
So focus on the basics and get your get and keep going in the right direction! You can always do something in your pursuit of progress over perfection!
Eat well, move often, BE GRATEFUL! And do it repeatedly!
Stay healthy, stay safe!
Brian Fischer & Edge Fitness