Thursday, April 14, 2022

Are You Really Eating for Fitness Goals?

Fitness goals are awesome but there are a few things to think about to reach and maintain those goals.

The most common fitness goals are weight loss, losing fat, gaining muscle, and overall good health. Achieving these goals requires good eating habits, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and life balance. Basically, the goal is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. 

However, a large percentage of people may have the wrong idea about how to eat right or exercise. And most are following the latest diet trends or extreme exercise programs that are not sustainable. This has led to an overfed, undernourished society with physical injuries sustained from fitness programs not best suited for each individual.

That said, this blog will briefly look at food intake and reaching your fitness goals. And since nutrition plays the largest role in health and fitness, it's important to talk about it.

What Are You Eating?

Nine times out of 10 if you feel you're doing everything right and not seeing fitness results, your nutrition program needs to be re-evaluated.

In order to achieve good health, it requires consuming healthy food and exercising consistently. And you know when this is happening or not. I found keeping a food journal at the beginning of a fitness program to be a great accountability tool for healthy eating. And can be implemented at any time to help get you back on track.

What often happens is food intake remains on track at the beginning of a fitness program when motivation is high but starts lacking over time. Unhealthy eating habits start creeping back in as something validated and acceptable because you exercise several times per week. Unfortunately, this unhealthy eating pattern continues more often than people want to admit and is the real reason fitness results are not maintained or achieved.

An unhealthy pattern of eating off track and using exercise to burn off unwanted calories can also become a problem. Food guilt and performing an excessive amount of exercise become a vicious unhealthy cycle that leads to frustration, burnout, and depression. This is not a healthy approach to food intake or exercise and is not the definition of a healthy lifestyle. Remember, you can't out-exercise a crappy diet.

The takeaway here is nutrition plays the largest role in your fitness success. Without eating right, achieving goals will not happen in a healthy way.

Food is Not a Reward

A healthy lifestyle includes all foods as part of the program. And because no foods are restricted, it's not a diet but eating nutritious foods most of the time with an allowance of those foods with less nutritional value on occasion.

Sadly, many diets are not sustainable with heavy restrictions and minimal calories. This has caused a large percentage of people to view food in an unhealthy way. And in order to enjoy a certain food, they would have to restrict themselves for a long period of time to get a food reward like pizza or a brownie. Unfortunately, the cycle of restriction and food reward has been shown to lead to disordered eating, bingeing, and an unhealthy relationship with food.

The important thing here is to see all food as having a place in a healthy lifestyle. Food is not good or bad, or to be used as a reward for a job well done. Food sustains the human body and is part of the enjoyment of life.

Food is Powerful

The food you eat and what you drink represents the body you show. Think about that statement. Food is powerful and makes you feel healthy or unhealthy. It can also make you look fit or fat.

Consuming unhealthy processed food products increases inflammation in your bloodstream. Inflammation is said to be one of the main causes of increased risk of chronic disease and cancer.

Eating right includes consuming lots of plant-based foods, lean proteins, nuts and seeds, grains, and healthy fats that clean up inflammation in your body. You feel great and look great.

A healthy lifestyle is learning how to balance nutrition. Eating right at least 80% of the time allowing for a few splurges is considered healthy and sustainable. It's also an enjoyable way of living.

Take Responsibility 

Being in denial about what you're eating doesn't fix the problem. Now is a great time to perform a nutritional assessment and take an honest look at what you are eating. Reaching fitness goals means being true to yourself and taking responsibility for your nutrition.

The great news is you can always get back on track and start again. This time, with healthier choices and a real commitment to living a healthy lifestyle. Fitness is always about progress and not perfection. 

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