Before I proceed please allow me to explain that I am not a dietician or a nutritionist. I am a personal trainer, I have sat my master trainer course and in doing that one day is dedicated to diet and nutrition and I think it takes more than one day to make an expert out of anything. I am writing this article and offering my advice through my experience as a former professional athlete and elite Australian amateur representative and now as a personal trainer.
As a fitness professional who sees and speaks to clients on a day to day basis I am constantly surprised about just how little the majority of the people I meet seem to understand about food and eating.
First of all your body doesn’t look at food as something that just tastes good, as a snack while you watch TV or as something to make you feel better when you’re feeling depressed. You’re body looks at food as fuel to help get it through the day and undergo the tasks that you have to undergo each day, plain and simple. Because of this when you eat is vital.
Let’s start at the start, when you wake up in the morning (Breakfast). Throughout the night you have been asleep which means that your body has been in a form of hibernation. So your metabolism has been at a crawl, it is when you are moving and active that your metabolism is required to really work. Metabolism very basically put is your bodies ability to break down fats, sugars and carbohydrates into energy. When you wake up your body understands that you are now about to be active and knows that it needs energy to power it through the day. Which is why a BIG breakfast is vital to start your metabolism working and burning calories as readily as it can.
Lunch being in the middle of the day is when your body needs an energy top up. Which is why lunch is also vital to keep your metabolism racing through the day.
Night time is, well, it’s the end of the day isn’t it, so a big dinner is not necessary. Not only is it not necessary but it can be detrimental to losing weight. Firstly, you do not need to refuel your bodies energy reserves at night time as you are about to go to sleep and your metabolism is about to hibernate again. So this food is not going to be properly metabolised, your body is going to store it as fat. As where carbohydrates are your bodies preferred energy source fat is your bodies richest energy source.
Also, if you are hungry during the night it doesn’t matter because you’re asleep and if you want to lose weight you should wake up a little bit hungry.
The problem I find most people tend to have is that they skip breakfast or eat a sparrows breakfast. When this happens your body knowing the day is just starting and you are about to be active says to itself
“hey this sucker aint giving me the fuel I need to continue through the day”
So rather than start up at an accelerated pace and burn calories with disdain, it slows to a crawl, in case it is going to need those calories (that energy) later.
These same people in the middle of the day when their body needs to refuel tend to compound their fat loss problems by then also eating a small lunch. Or you hear them say something that just seems to compound their stupidity in my books like
“Oh I ate a healthy salad for lunch as I don’t want to fill up too much during the day”
Which is again reinforcing to your body the fact that you are not refuelling it when it needs it. So again your metabolism is not racing and is storing as much fuel as it can as fat. In case it needs it later.
Night time then comes along and you go home from work, you start to relax and unwind and so does your body. Knowing that all the hard work is over and that no more energy is required as most people then sit down with their partner and watch a bit of TV before going to bed. You then make your biggest mistake by eating your main meal of the day, dinner.
You are about to go to bed and as stated before, your metabolism is about to hibernate again. So this food, this large meal the largest of the day is not going to be properly metabolised, your body is going to store it all as fat which as stated previously is your bodies richest energy source.
You will notice that I am only mentioning three meals as I don’t think you need more than that. In the late 1990’s and early 21st century they used to say you need your three main meals of the day and healthy low fat snacks in between in order to keep your metabolism racing. This is probably a great way to keep your metabolism at an elevated rate but I feel that then your whole day becomes about eating. You need to eat a certain amount at specified times throughout the day.
Well, I think that then means your whole day is revolving around eating and requires a lot of discipline and seriously, is that something that you are going to continue for the rest of your life. Or is that something you are not going to find annoying?
I also haven’t mentioned counting calories for the same reasons listed above. Let’s face it we want to be sensible about what we eat. You then combine that or anything for that matter with maths and you’re talking torture.
Then there is the fact that a lot of people are eating the wrong foods. Let’s ignore fast foods, fried foods and most take away foods as I have to assume you aren’t stupid. What I am referring to are foods that are filling that do not have as many calories. For example protein is more filling than carbohydrates but don’t have anywhere near the amount of calories. Vegetables are just as filling as carbohydrates with nowhere near the amount of calories but with bonus health benefits such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
By sticking to these basic principles you should be burning calories readily and your metabolism should be working at a continual high level.
Peter Petrou fitness Pty Ltd
Remember: it’s easy to get fit, it’s just hard work