When it Comes to Nutrition, Should You Count Calories?

There are so many different ideas on nutrition and counting calories. In addition, there are hundreds of different “diets” out there. Many experts will suggest that we count calories in order to lose weight or to maintain a healthy weight.  In some cases, this may be true.  But after research and study, here are my thoughts on the subject:

While eating a good, healthy, balanced diet, focusing on the number of calories we are consuming may not be nearly as important as some may tell us that it is, as long as we are not over-eating. When we feed our bodies with proper nutrition, our bodies are able to use that food to make fuel so that our bodies can function efficiently. When we eat a lot of processed junk food, our bodies don’t know what to do with that, and therefore has a much harder time making the needed fuel. Therefore, that “junk” ends up being stored as fat, because our bodies don’t know what else to do with it.

Listen to your body.  What food does it seem to be asking for?  Are you full?  Stop eating.  Are you feeling dizzy?  You may need protein.  Are you feeling depressed?  You may need to be eating more healthy fat, or you may need to cut out extra sugar.  Are you feeling low on energy?  You may need a healthy carbohydrate.  And always, always focus on eating lots of fruits and vegetables.

My experience has been that since I’ve started focusing on good nutrition and exercise instead of calorie counting, I’ve seen many changes in how I feel.  When I listen to my body and eat a well balanced diet of real foods, I find that I feel great, and have the energy I need to work out.  I also notice how I feel when I don’t eat healthy!

While focusing on a real foods, well balanced diet, you may find that you are able to drop a few pounds without counting a single calorie.

Looking to begin an exercise program, tailor made for you, while you work to eat a healthy diet?  I’d be happy to help you get into great shape!  Read more about the services I offer here.

 

Shakeology – The Healthiest Meal of the Day!

Would you like a meal replacement shake that tastes great, can help you lose weight, feel energized, improve digestion, and lower your cholesterol? Well then you might want to consider Shakeology.

I started drinking Shakeology a little over a year ago, and I can definitely say that it has helped in all the ways it claimed that it would. I personally love to mix the chocolate variety with some milk and a little bit of natural peanut butter. There are also other great recipes out there for you to try and I will share those at a later date.

Here is why Shakeology is the healthiest meal of the day:

  • It is packed with over 70 ingredients
  • It is full of protein and essential amino acids that your body needs to build muscle and reduce food cravings
  • It contains prebiotics and digestive enzymes that help improve digestion
  • It is full of antioxidants and phytonutrients
  • Contains 23 vitamins and minerals
  • Certified low glycemic index

So why not give the healthiest meal of the day a try? What an easy way to start your journey to healthier eating by replacing one meal a day or using it for a healthy snack.

Are You Drinking Enough Water?

Are you drinking enough water throughout the day? I know I wasn’t a few years ago – and even today have to be intentional about drinking water.

Why is this so important? There are many reasons that drinking water is important for you. For starters, our bodies are made up of roughly 60-70% water. The brain itself is almost 85% water! Those are huge numbers, and in order for us to continue to function, we have to maintain those numbers by drinking plenty of water.

Our bodies are constantly losing water, and we must replace that water if we want our bodies to function at the highest level possible.  It is recommended that you drink about two liters of water each day.

Dehydration is one of the biggest problems people tend to think about when it comes to not drinking enough water. Dehydration can and will affect brain function and kidney function. You may also find yourself to be more tired when you are dehydrated. This  reason alone should be enough to encourage you to make sure you are drinking enough water.

In addition, water is good for flushing out toxins and just plain keeping our body running smoothly and efficiently. It can also help you feel more full and since it has zero calories it can aid in weight loss if that is a goal of yours. When our bodies are properly hydrated we simply function better.

So get in the habit of drinking water throughout the day, not just when you feel thirsty – but all day long. Carry a water bottle with you or have a glass of water sitting with you at home.

You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel when you drink enough water each day!

Coconut Water – Great Post Workout Drink

I grew up drinking the typical gatorade after games and long workouts to “rehydrate”, especially during the summertime at all day softball tournaments. It tasted good, and I liked it a lot better than water. At that point, I had never even heard of coconut water.

Now, as I begin to learn more about healthy eating, I find myself branching out a little bit and trying things that I probably wouldn’t have in the past.  Lately, I have been hearing about all the great benefits of coconut water, but I had never taken the time to try it or to do any research on my own about it. Well now I have – and I love it. What a great product! And as I research the benefits of this great drink, I’m finding out how much better it us for us than standard sports drinks.

Ready to give it a try, a friend and I decided to try some coconut water as a recovery drink after a hard workout. It happened to be a coconut pineapple flavored variety, which was fabulous. We liked it so much, we decided that we definitely needed to get some more to have on hand for future workouts!

After enjoying the coconut water so much I decided I needed to do a little more research and learn about the health benefits of this wonderful drink. Here’s what I found: The specific coconut water we drank contained 60 calories, 30 mg of sodium, 515 mg of potassium, and 16 g of sugar per serving. Gatorade contains 50 calories, 110 mg of sodium, 30 mg of potassium, and 14 g of sugar. A typical banana contains 110 calories, 1 mg of sodium, 450 mg of potassium, and 19 g of sugar. Now the numbers for a banana seem to vary depending on your source of information. However, the claim that coconut water contains more potassium seems to hold true.

In my opinion, coconut water is a great way to rehydrate after a workout. It contains electrolytes that your body needs after exercising. Electrolytes are substances such as sodium, potassium, and calcium that conduct electricity in our bodies. These electrolytes are critical for our nerve and muscle function, plus the levels of electrolytes found in our body are depleted after strenuous workouts. Coconut water is also 100% natural, which is always a good thing. So I would recommend that if you are looking for a good post-workout/recovery drink give some coconut water a try. I’m looking forward to trying some of the different flavors.

For the record, I have found that plain coconut water isn’t as enjoyable as the flavored varieties – but I’ll leave it up to your taste buds to decide your preference!

Supplements – Should You Take Them?

What exactly are supplements and should you be using them? That is a very good question, and one that a lot of people will struggle with to give you a definite answer.

There are two primary categories of supplements in my opinion – dietary supplements and sports nutrition supplements. Dietary supplements are taken with the intent to “supplement” or enhance one’s diet. This means that the multi-vitamin that you take daily is considered a dietary supplement. Sports nutrition supplements are known as ergogenic aids and are simply any product used with the intent to enhance athletic performance. These products are full of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals among other things. Supplements are available in all different forms and can typically be purchased by anyone without a prescription.

One of the problems with supplements is that they are not governed by the FDA. Some supplements have a lot of research backing up the claims that they make, while others have very little research behind them. This makes it very difficult to know which supplements to take or if you should even take one at all.

There are several supplements that I am personally comfortable with taking. For example, I’ve used different protein shakes, pre-workout drinks, and post-workout drinks. When I’m trying to decide on a supplement one of the first things I look at is the company behind the product. Is it a company that I trust? Is it one that I have used before? I also try to find supplements with natural ingredients. Will this supplement help me reach my current needs and goals? These are all questions I have to answer as I look into using different supplements.

These are the same type of questions you will need to answer. You will also need to consider what your goals are and what you are expecting from the supplements as you consider adding them to your workouts. These sports nutrition supplements are primarily going to be used by people doing high intensity workouts 4-6 days a week, but that may not hold true in all cases.

Because there are so many things to consider when you are looking into adding supplements, it can be very confusing. In no way do I feel like I have this all figured out. I’ve gone through a lot of trial and error to find the few supplements that I’m comfortable taking based on my current needs and goals. If you would like to email me questions about this I would be glad to help you out as much as I can. My email address is: jen at gettingfitwithjen dot com.