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Eating 101

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

If there were a class on eating,  this would be it. Not really, but in less than 1300 of my own words I will attempt to explain eating. Eating? Wtf? Yes, eating. I know it seems elementary and unnecessary but your eating habits are more important than your level of activity. Hopefully, by the end of this you'll have a different view of eating. A long, long time ago people had to hunt and gather their food for survival. They were nomads so they did a lot of trudging through tough winters and harsh summers. I’m sure they had to be strong and lean due to all of the traveling, hunting, and chopping they did. As nomads, they didn’t really have storage space available for their catch. So as long as food was in that area they would remain and feast up knowing time without food was coming. Seasonal changes had a major impact on the availability of food. When they would return with their catch, the preparers would do their thing in their little makeshift nomad kitchens. When the food dwindled down to nothing they would move on, going long periods of time without eating much of anything until they found a surplus of food. And the cycle continued. So what foods did they eat? Idk, I wasn’t really there to keep record but I do know that they ate because, well obviously we’re here today. I’m sure some had red meat, fish, grains, and some vegetation while others ate plant based. To sum them up, they worked to eat. Then they ate. And if they didn’t have food to eat, they worked until they could eat again. Fast forward. Now, instead of hunting and gathering food people have access to it pretty much 24/7. We no longer need to find food in order to survive because there is a surplus. On top of that, there are far more food choices and advancements in science, that makes our food last longer. It’s everywhere. If you’re driving down the street you’ll find several restaurants, fast food joints, and grocery stores. You can stop at a gas station and get a quick bite, hit up a vending machine while at work, or if you’re flying you can get a meal in the airport and even ON the plane. We keep food in our fridges, deep freezers, and pantries so that we won’t “go hungry,” and for those days we want to indulge. You get my point? We have so much access to food. We eat. Live. Repeat. With the ample amount of options for eating, it became easy to not have to think about what we’re eating. The main request is that it tastes good. We go over all the details (sometimes several times) before we make major purchases, but we put little to no thought into why we’re eating (if we’re even hungry), what we’re eating, and when we’re eating (think about those late night munchies).

Somewhere in history we went from eating solely for survival to eating for pleasure. We eat to celebrate, to ignore tears, and to cure boredom. I know I’ll eat food just because it’s there. Instead, we should be eating for energy.

In order for our bodies to work, we need calories. Calories are to the body as gasoline is to a vehicle. It’s energy. Everybody knows food has calories. Food is our fuel. It’s our source of energy. The body has a certain amount of calories needed to function. Here is a link to calculate the number of calories your body automatically burns daily and the daily caloric intake you’d need for losing or gaining weight. When the body has more fuel than needed to function, we use what we need and store the rest in our bodies to potentially use later. If we’re consistent with having more fuel than we’re burning, that storage begins to show on our bodies. Hello muffin top, pot belly, bat wings, and hanging hips! This is where weight gain comes from. Years of eating a lot of whatever with little to no activity shows. So, you’ve been storing excessive amounts of fuel all of these years and want to get it off? I’ve found counting calories is probably the simplest way to begin paying attention to what you’re eating. Subsequently, you end up learning to make better food choices and eating what you need. The MyFitnessPal app is a great tool. Just as we choose certain gasoline for its quality,  it should be the same with calories. This is where the thinking begins. Everything we eat (and drink) has fuel. We want to make sure our bodies run properly so it’s important to choose quality calories. Our fuel is comprised of carbs, proteins, fats, and alcohol. Collectively these are macronutrients, macros for short. Macros matter in choosing quality fuel for your body because all calories aren’t equal. I mean, two different foods or beverages can have around the same amount of calories/energy per serving.

However, because of macros, one may not be as nutrient dense and filling, making it a poor choice. A Snickers bar has about 250 calories. A meal consisting of a 3-ounce serving of skinless chicken breast, a 1/2 cup of brown rice, and a 1/2 cup of broccoli is 290.5 calories. Let’s break the two different “meals” down for their macro content. A Snickers bar contains 12g of fat, 33g of carbs, and 4g of protein. Meanwhile, the actual meal has 4g of fat, 28g of carbs, and 34g of protein. The meal with chicken will be more filling and you won’t be hungry 30 minutes or so afterwards. Remember, sugar (in the carb family) is notorious for keeping you hungry. Fiber is also a part of the carb family and is the total opposite of its cousin, sugar. Fiber keeps you full. So if you’re simply counting calories, eating that Snickers bar would either cause you to have to skip or cut down on your nutritious meals, cause you to go over your daily intake, or cause you to have to work extra harder to burn off that fuel so it isn’t stored. What’s easier? Probably not eating it, lol. When checking carb content under the nutritional facts be sure to determine what’s comprised of that total content. Is it mostly sugar or fiber? You also want to make sure there’s an adequate amount of protein, as well as that you’re choosing healthy fats. Tracking macros isn’t THAT important but it is good to know about macros for deciding what to eat. As I said earlier consuming more fuel than needed for daily activity will cause you to store the unused fuel. Thankfully though, we aren’t totally like cars! When you drive and run out of gas your car is done until you feed it again. When you learn how much fuel your body needs for survival and decrease your fuel intake (while making good carb choices), your body will be in a fuel deficit and will begin to use the energy that was originally stored for later use. Goodbye, fat! Add activity to this and you put your body in a greater fuel deficit. Knowing this information before diving into different meal plans, diets, or lifestyle changes is very helpful and important. It’s pretty much the basis for all of them. With this information, you’ll know how to plan your meals and adjust your diet based on your goals. I was able to lose weight by fasting intermittently, watching the quality of foods I ate, and occasionally I would eliminate carbs or lower my carb intake along with the fasting for maximum fat burning. I plan to do a post explaining Intermittent Fasting soon, no worries. Fasting is more than a weight loss tool. In the meantime, here’s a link to YouTube channel with Intermittent Fasting info I found useful.

It actually took 1317 words, but how’s your view now?

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