Welcome to the Realigning Wellness Blog!
Is milk good or bad?
Should I be fasting?
This donut says “made with organic flour”, that means it’s good for me right?
Nutrition is hard because it requires knowledge that most of us aren’t taught in school. In a time where health & nutrition fads abound it can be hard to find the right answers, even when we’re looking for them.
This is what inspired me to start this blog. I want to share fact-based answers to some of the most common questions that I hear working with clients. And provide tools that will help you succeed on your weight loss journey.
So to kick off my blog, I’d like to start with some of the often overlooked basics of nutrition:
One of the most common issues I see when working with nutrition coaching clients is people that don’t drink enough water. With so many choices of flavored beverages available on store shelves, many people are unaware those are not the same in terms of properly hydrating.
Water is very important for our body (about half our body weight is water). It is the key nutrient for every cell in our body, all of which need water to survive. Water also performs many other important functions: it flushes our body of waste, it helps keep our joints lubricated, and it helps us maintain a healthy body temperature through sweat and perspiration, like when our body temperature is rising during exercise.
So how much water should you drink? An easy way to figure that out is to divide your weight in pounds by 2. That gives you the amount (in ounces) you should drink each day. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs and divide that number by 2, you would need 75 ounces of water a day. For perspective, that’s slightly more than 2 liters a day.
Sounds like a lot right?
Don’t worry, here are some tips I’ve found useful to make sure I keep up with my water intake!
– Start early. When you wake up drink a glass of water right away. Your body usually craves water when you wake up, so have that one glass before your coffee or tea to make it a habit you remember. Similarly, pair a glass of water with your flavored drinks during meals to ensure you’re not just substituting other drinks for water.
– Determine a water bottle or glass that is your container to keep track of your water intake during the day. There are even some great water bottles these days that have times of day on the bottle that help provide a visual reference of how much water you’ve had to drink during the day. Check out this link for an example.
– There are also foods that contain a high percentage of water which can help hydrate you. Some examples are: berries, citrus fruits, lettuce, melons, and skim milk. These aren’t exactly a substitute for drinking the suggested amount of water, but can contribute to your overall water intake.
There are tons of great apps these days to track your food and water intake easily. These apps use information like your age, gender, height and weight (and goal weight) to calculate your daily intake target numbers for calories, fat, carbs and protein. I use a more tailored app for my nutrition coaching clients, but there are other widely available apps I like such as Lifesum or MyPlate, especially because they include a barcode scanner feature for free, which is a super convenient tool to save time when logging the food you eat.
When you are starting to work on your nutrition, I really recommend logging your food for at least a week. This will help you get an idea where you are doing well, and where you need to improve. You’ll get a sense of whether you are eating too many or too few calories, and what your macronutrients look like on average. From there you’ll get a basic sense of your nutrition profile and start making some simple changes to your caloric intake to help improve your nutrition.
There is certainly more to nutrition and weight loss than just calories in/out. Things like quality of food, consistent eating habits, and even getting good sleep matter, but tracking your food for a week is a great way to begin understanding where you may have to improve.
A common belief for many is that there’s a magic diet that will help them lose weight. While some diets can at times help a person drop weight, very often that weight comes right back because forcing down food we don’t enjoy eating doesn’t create a sustainable approach to eating over a longer term. And in some extreme cases, diets can even cause health issues because in the pursuit of weight loss, they neglect key nutrition principles that are necessary for our well-being.
My larger philosophy is that I don’t believe you need to diet to lose weight and be healthy. I encourage my clients to eat foods they enjoy (in moderation), while remembering some key principles. One of those principles is to eat whole foods.
What does that mean? Should I buy all my food at a certain supermarket? 🙃
No. All that means is we should eat foods as close to their natural state as possible, like a piece of fruit or vegetable, and avoiding highly processed foods. The additives in processed foods, often used to preserve or make food taste better (for example baked goods, sodas, and refined grains) come with a lot of drawbacks, as they introduce unnecessary amounts of added sugar, fat and salt that have negative effects on our body. These include high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overall weight gain, and even sexual dysfunction.
Ask yourself, how many whole foods do I actually eat in a day?
And how many of my meals are processed foods?
To start making the change, think about the whole foods you enjoy (make a list!), and see how you can add them to your weekly menu plan. Have fruit with your breakfast or make sure there is a vegetable on your plate for every meal. Plan out your menus thinking about the whole foods you love, and you will be well on your way to better nutrition!