Weekly Lesson #4 - Eating Habits
How you eat is almost as important as what you’re eating. Eating in a balanced method helps with nutrient absorption, bloating, gas, and overall hunger regulation. How do we balance it? Do we set a timer for every 2 hours? Do we eat 5 square meals a day? Do we not eat 3 hours before bed time? Messages are mixed and the truth is, everyone is different. We all have different needs, lifestyles, and desires.
To answer the question, the remedy is simple: eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Don’t over-analyze it! When our bodies need fuel, we upregulate the hormone ghrelin to signal feelings of hunger; therefore, we eat. When we are reaching full-ness, our bodies release the hormone leptin (secreted by fat cells) to decrease your appetite. If we are well-hydrated (are you drinking enough water yet?!), your body will naturally tell you when you should be eating. Our appetite levels will increase or decrease on a daily basis based upon our activity levels, type of activity, and lifestyle.
Now that’s easier said than done. If we all just ate when we were hungry and stopped when we were full, it is likely that many of us wouldn’t be as overweight as we are today. What’s the secret to maintaining a good balance that enables us to be able to listen to our bodies?
THERE ARE 3 FACTORS THAT ARE IMPORTANT IN THIS:
Balance Your Plate
The goal with any meal or snack is to have a balanced ratio of the three macronutrients - protein, fat, and carbohydrate. When we consume these in equal ratios, it increases our satiety. Fat slows digestion and signals fullness. Protein provides the building blocks for muscle, skin, and hair, while carbohydrate signals our bodies to store these necessary compounds. Will an unfettered amount of carbohydrate lead to an excess amount of storage in the form of fat? Yes, but eating these all in conjunction with one another helps regulate that. By eating foods that slow down digestion (fats, fiber), it decreases the amount of insulin spiked upon the consumption of carbohydrate. Amount of protein ingested with carbohydrate also effects this insulin spike.
There are many factors that come into play here (fat, fiber, protein, hydration levels), but the bottom line is if you are eating whole, unprocessed foods, then eating them in balanced fashion will lead to the most favorable absorption.
Stop When 80% Full
This one is simple. Rather than eating until we are Thanksgiving-stuffed, eat until you are satisfied and not hungry anymore. Does that mean that you can’t indulge every so often and enjoy eating 5 plates of brisket and potato salad at your 4th of July BBQ? Most certainly not! But what it does mean is that a majority of the time, for most of the meals of your week, eat until you are 80% full.
Eat Slowly & Chew Your Food
Gassy? Just eat what seems like a ton of food and still feel hungry? Burping? These could all be signs that you are eating too quickly. When you eat, monitor the pace of your consumption - take a bite, put your utensil down, chew it thoroughly, grab a drink of water, breathe, then take another bite. When you are eating, concentrate solely at the task at hand and do not perform other duties. When we slow down our eating, we allow our bodies to catch up and signal the hormone that we are getting full. When we chew our food properly, it enables our salivary enzymes to help break down food in our mouths further for digestion within the stomach and then the intestines. By physically breaking food down, it helps our bodies absorb nutrients better and minimize unwanted gas and bloating.
Aim for a meal to take you 20 minutes to eat. If you are eating plenty of veggies at every meal, it should take you pretty long to break all of that roughage down! For each bite of food you place in your mouth, aim for that mouthful to take 30 chews before you swallow. I’m sure you have never counted how many times you chew, but this will be a good experiment for you! So get the timer on and start counting ;)
WEEK 4 HOMEWORK
WE’VE INCLUDED A NEW TASK FOR YOU THIS WEEK, COUNTING HOW MANY TIMES YOU CHEW ;) COMPLETE THIS EACH DAY, ONE TIME, WITH ONE MEAL. THAT’S ALL YOU NEED!
Weekly lesson #3 - Fruits/Veggies and Fiber
Your mother always told you to eat your vegetables, and there’s a lot of truth to that! Vegetables are a type of food that you simply can’t eat enough of. There are two big components of vegetables and fruit that make them so great:
Vegetables and fruit are great sources of micronutrients: vitamins (Vitamins C, B, A, D, K, E) and minerals (Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium, etc.) Vitamins are in charge of many chemical processes in your body, such as regulating metabolic processes, bolstering the immune system, healing wounds, firing synapses within your brain, etc. They also comprise components of your body such as your bones, blood cells, skin, teeth, and mucus membranes. Minerals are comprised of electrolytes that help maintain fluid balance, regulate muscle contractions and nerve impulses.
Vegetables also contain phytonutrients, chemical compounds present in the colors of food that don’t have nutritional value, but do a lot of good in the body. They have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-stress, anti-hypertensive, metabolism-boosting properties, among many others. They are present in foods such as carrots (beta-carotene), spinach (lutein), tomatoes (lycopene), blueberries (reservatrol), apples/onions (flavanoids) to name a few.
There are two varieties: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and helps manage blood glucose levels and lowers cholesterol. It helps manage blood sugar levels by slowing down digestion and increasing satiety - the feeling of being full! Insoluble fiber is not processed by the body and passes straight through you, helping in bowel movement regularity and reducing the risk of colon cancer. Fiber is also instrumental in increasing your gut health. 60-80% of your immune system is located in the gut. Over 40 diseases have been linked to bacterial imbalances in the gut (depression, arthritis, IBS, cancer), so maintaining a healthy gut flora is instrumental in your overall health!
Look for fiber in all unrefined carbohydrates, like the ones that we are having you incorporate in the challenge. We want to AVOID refined/processed ones! These have been shown to spike blood sugar levels, increase triglycerides, LDL, and insulin resistance.
Fruit is awesome as well; we don’t want to undercut their importance, however, it’s easy to consume a high amount of sugar with fruit. Look for portion recommendations below.
How Much Should I Be Eating?
Veggies - As laid out to you from your nutrition plan, aim for 6 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables a day, ideally within each meal.
Fruits - Since fruit has a higher sugar content, we recommend 1-2 servings of fruit per day, and 2-3 servings on a day you exercise (30+ minutes of activity). (These count as a serving of one of your carbs if you are tracking portion sizing.) Fruit servings can vary depending upon the variety. If they are smaller fruits (cherries, berries), then one cupped palm would be a serving. If it’s a larger fruit, then treat each piece as one individual serving (a single banana, a single orange, etc.)
So moral of the story: you simply can’t eat enough veggies! The likelihood is that you’ll get sick of ‘em before over-eating them. Make it your goal to incorporate all of the colors of the rainbow every day!
Watch the video for some helpful ways to how to get more vegetables into your diet!
Weekly Lesson #2 - Water Consumption
Even Derek Zoolander knows the importance of water. Fluid balance is important in the body to perform necessary functions, for your organs to work, to maintain your temperature, to lubricate joints, and to remove waste. Oh yeah, and to be beautiful ;) What happens when you don’t have enough water? Chronic fatigue. Dry skin. Infrequent bowel movements. Muscle cramps. Overeating.
When it comes to overeating, often times we think that we are hungry, when in fact, we are merely dehydrated. Next time you’re hungry and feel like there isn’t a substantiated reason why you should be, drink 12 ounces of water and wait 5 minutes. See if you’re still truly hungry again or not. If you end up being hungry again, that water will simply help in digestion of your upcoming meal!
The recommended daily consumption of water is half of an individual’s bodyweight in ounces. If you’re a 185 lb. individual, then you should drink 93 ounces of water simply to maintain bodily function at an optimal level. This is does not include any sort of exercise, whether it be walking to your car, scrubbing the counters, or taking a brisk walk.
When it comes to athletic performance, a 2% decrease in fluid balance can lead up to a 25% performance decrease. (Amanda Carlson, Director of Performance and Nutrition for NFL Athletes Performance) With proper hydration, the heart does not have to pump as hard to circulate blood throughout the body and oxygen and nutrients get shuttled to the appropriate sites sooner and with greater ease. When it comes to muscle recovery, in a dehydrated athlete tissues heal slower. (Trent Nessler, PT, DPT, MPT, managing director of Baptist Sports Medicine in Nashville).
If you are exercising, shoot for 15-20 ounces of water 1-2 hours before your workout. If you are moderately active, aim to drink an additional 12 ounces every 30 minutes while in motion. If you are aggressively active, aim to drink 8 ounces every 15 minutes. If you are sitting around at your desk on the computer, you’re still utilizing water and need to take it in! Aim for 12 ounces every hour of sedentary work.
Weekly Lesson #1 - Quality of Food
We’re kicking off week 1 with one of the biggest takeaways from our nutrition bootcamp - eating REAL food! We want you to adopt a new way of thinking about food as fuel; it not only provides energy for all of your body’s organs and systems to work, but provides you with the necessary sustenance to maintain your daily activity. We want you fueling yourself with the most optimal sources and finding a balance between eating clean and your own lifestyle.
So, when we say it KEEP IT REAL, we mean we want your to eat whole, unprocessed foods; things that you can recognize in nature! Does it walk? Does it come from something that walks? Does it grow from the ground? If so, then yes! Is it processed? Are chemicals added or are there ingredients that you can’t pronounce? If so, then stay away ;)
Ways to succeed in this challenge:
Shop the Perimeter of the Grocery Store
If it’s perishable, it is likely fresh and comes from the earth. If not, then check out the ingredient list. If it’s comprised of things that are natural foods, then good to go! Take salsa for instance, you’ll find tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapenos, and lime. Does it come in a package? Yes, but the ingredients in it are found in nature. Are there some salsas that have added chemicals, preservatives, and things you don’t understand? If so, then opt for a version that is comprised of whole foods.
This is going to be a BIG component of your upcoming weeks. It’s easiest to control what you eat if you make it yourself. The most common meal prep method is the Sunday Ritual: create a shopping list, go on a big grocery trip on Sunday and take some time that day to prepare your breakfasts, lunches, and/or dinners for the week so you always have a healthy option to grab!
This week, we are including a weekly task that is Prepare Your Week. You may be eating out certain days and you may be preparing your food others. We want you to take 5 minutes out of your week to take a look ahead and see which days you’ll need to plan for. If you’re eating out you can still stay the course! Take a look at the menu ahead of time to find some approved foods :)
Holding Yourself Accountable
This bootcamp is about resetting your view on food as fuel and how it fits into your goals and lifestyle. Over these 6-weeks, adhering to your personalized nutrition plan and the approved food list will give you the best results. However, does that mean that if you slip up and have something not on the list that you’ve failed? No! Just as long as if you do veer from the list, it’s for a purpose, rather than just eating a bag of potato chips because you wanted to ;)
In life, we have special occasions we want to celebrate where we may not eat healthy and clean. Over these 6-weeks, we want you to adhere to the bootcamp guidelines to the best of your ability, but if you slip up, hold yourself accountable, deduct your points on the food log app, and then write in the entry field at the bottom what your purpose was for slipping up. We will be reading these!
We are all human and can’t be perfect. As long as we recognize these instances and then get back on the horse the next meal, you’ll be ok. That’s what we are aiming for you guys to find during this challenge - your own method of accountability.
Week 1 Homework
✅ Plan Your meals for the week!
Whether you like to write it down on paper, type it in your phone, or enter it in your calendar, we want you to start thinking about what your week is going to look like and how you can set your meals based on your individualized plan.
Tip- Refer to the food list and highlight things you know you like to eat. This will help narrow down your meals.
Once you’ve completed your plan, mark this task complete on the Wodify Rise App. The task will appear on Monday, 10/15.