The difference between eating healthy and eating to lose weight
Posted Sep 07 2008 8:36pm
My understanding of nutrition has really developed since I was little kid. When I was young I would eat fruits and veggies because my parents made me, but whenever I could I would eat cookies, ice cream, donuts and drink pop. As a result I was a healthy but slightly chubby kid. I thought I was just big boned because that is what my mother told me. In high school I took an interest in bodybuilding and started reading everything I could find on the subject. I was still a little chubby, nothing by today's standards but I had a bit of a belly and most kids were scrawny. I lifted weights and ate tons of food. The weight lifting helped me put on some muscle but my diet was still a disaster.
Instead of eating tons of junk food I switched over to grains because all the nutritional information in the early 90's claimed that high carb diets will make you lean and healthy. I lived on cereal, bagels, toast, milk, fruit and then whatever my parents made for dinner. Looking back, I basically ate nothing carbs all day until dinner when I would have some meat, some veggies and more carbs! No wonder I was chubby and still small, I was not feeding my body what it wanted. I was eating somewhat healthy, but I was not eating in a manner that would make me become lean and muscular.
Eating healthy requires providing your body with all the nutrients it requires. Eating lose weight requires the proper nutrition, but also must take into account your current body fat percentage as well as your target body fat percentage. In extreme cases of obesity you must sacrifice nutrition temporarily to reach a healthy body composition.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. Let's say you eat the typical breakfast of cereal and milk with orange juice. Is it healthy? If the cereal is whole grain and not loaded with sugar, and the juice is real juice then I suppose it is healthy. Will that same breakfast help you lose weight and build muscle? Nope. In fact that breakfast is loaded with carbs and low in protein that it will spike your insulin and put your body into fat storage mode all day. If you want to lose weight, you have to eat healthy, but be conscious of insulin and calories so a better choice would be an omelet with veggies and a cup of green tea. It is even higher in nutrition and very low in carbohydrates. Your body will use and burn the fat for energy and not have to push any carbohydrates into storage.
I won't discuss empty calorie junk foods because you know they won't help you reach your goals, but here are some more food groups you should be aware of when trying to lose weight. They are healthy, but won't help you:
Whole grains (oatmeal, breads, cereals, brown rice): Full of fiber and nutrition, but they will spike your insulin. Only eat them after a workout
Juice (even the totally natural stuff): Full of vitamin C but this is liquid sugar, juice will make you fat.
Milk (especially skim milk): Whoever tells you skim milk is good for your is right. It is nutritious. It is also loaded with sugar and will cause you to store fat. It is not much better than juice.
Yogurt: The totally plain unsweetened kind is fine. Anything with flavour is way to high in sugar. Look for yogurt with about as much protein as carbs.
Fruit: Very high in nutrients and fiber. If your weight is under control then go ahead. If you are over weight then sorry, berries are the only fruit for you!
You may be shocked by some of these foods being listed as hurting your body composition goals. Well, too bad. If you want to lean out you pretty much have to live on meat, leaves and berries. Meat being any protein source from animals (eggs, meat, fish, fowl). Basically if it walked or swam you can eat it. Leaves are all veggies, eat all the salad you want. Berries, avoid sugary fruits and opt for berries instead as they are lower in sugar and higher in nutrients.
Once you have reached your target body fat percentage you can start to incorporate these normal healthy foods back into your diet slowly. If you pay attention to your body you will realize what you can and can't eat. For example, I don't drink milk or juice, or eat starchy carbs without gaining weight and looking fat. I simply can't consume these foods anymore, and there will be some you can't either if you want to be lean and healthy over the long term.
If you don't understand what I am saying about insulin and carbohydrate consumption, watch this video below.