The Beginner’s Guide To Dieting: Part 2

Brandon Hahn September 17, 2013 Nutrition Articles

Welcome back to part 2 of the beginner’s guide series.  If you missed part 1, click here and read up!  So, if you did your homework, you should have a log of one week of eating.  For you cheaters, you should have 3 days of eating logged.  Now, what do you think?  Are you eating like you thought?  When a food log is done correctly, you get to see exactly how well you are eating.  That may be a good thing, but it may be a bad thing.  Don’t get down on yourself, it’s time for class to begin!

My eating habits suck

I don’t know how many times I heard this after making people log their meals.  I heard all of the excuses in the world from clients.  ”I don’t eat bad all the time” or “I only snack a little”.  Well, that’s the point of the food log.  You are required to be honest.  You may have even found that you were correcting some eating habits along the way.  I found that around 50% of my clients began altering their eating habits during the week because they finally saw EXACTLY what they were eating.  This is not encouraged because it throws off everything, BUT at least you had the willpower to make a change.

Hopefully you aren’t reading part 2 while snacking on a rice cake and doing sets of crunches.  That is not the solution to the problem.  A process of slowly correcting your eating habits is what we need to do.  Begin understanding what you body craves and what your body needs.  A craving can be your body’s way of telling you it needs specific nutrients.  If you crave snacks, it may be that your body is having a steady dip in blood sugar.  Don’t go grabbing a Snickers bar to satisfy the hunger.  That is not the rollercoaster you want to be on right now.  Begin understanding exactly when this occurs to combat the problem.  If you notice it at 2pm, you should plan to eat around 1:45pm to alleviate this issue.  Meal timing is key to your success.

Meal timing and when to eat

As you are understanding how to eat, you need to understand when to eat.  From the example above, you can begin to understand when your body needs food.  Once that step is accomplished, you can then start devising WHAT to eat during your meals.  Everyone has their own approach to what is best.  Last week you went Paleo and this week you are probably craving a carb filled feast.  Stop reading into what everyone else is doing and start listening to your body.

Low carb diets work for some and high carb diets work for others.  Find your balance.  Understand what your body can handle during different meals.  Some people do have a sensitivity to gluten (wheat protein), and others simply feel they do because it’s all everyone talks about these days.  If you feel bloated after a meal that contained wheat, you may have a sensitivity to wheat.  It may also be that the wheat is highly processed and your body is having a difficult time digesting and breaking down the different carb sources.

Carbs are NOT the devil and wheat is not the devil’s spawn.  You need to start listening to what your body craves and establish a meal cadence.  Then, determine which foods your body can handle and start dividing that up into different meals.

How much can I eat?

You may be eating 1000 calories per day because you have dieted without a proper understanding of your body.  You were led one way, then another, and another, and so on.  You are most likely experiencing metabolic damage.  This is occurring more and more due to people not listening to their body, and choosing to follow bad diet after bad diet.  The amount of food you can eat depends upon the amount of calories you burn.

There is a hierarchy of calorie consumption.  The first pillar is calories in versus calories out.  If you want to lose weight, eat less calories than you burn in a given day (i.e. you burn 2000 calories, so eat 1800 calories to aid in losing weight).  It’s just the opposite if you wish to gain weight.  From that point, you can factor in exercise.  You need to factor in how much exercise you are doing on a consistent basis.  The more you add to your current regimen, the more calories you can consume.  This has its’ upper limits as you do not want to be exercising 15 hours per week just to consume 5000 calories per day.  From that point, we move into macro nutrient breakdown.  This means how you break up the amount of protein, carbs, and fats per day to assist in your goals.

This discussion has quite a bit of depth, so we will continue on with macronutrient breakdown in Part 3.  Until then, begin understanding which foods your body can handle.

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About The Author

Brandon has been in the fitness industry for over seven years and has trained over 1,000 clients. He has competed in several bodybuilding competitions and continues to improve his physique with hardwork and dedication. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science, Brandon has the knowledge and skills to get you on the fast track to fitness.