About a decade ago I was having an argument with someone over the merits of exercise. One of the biggest benefits, I claimed, was weight loss. The individual disagreed with me saying that diet and nutrition were much more important than exercise. At the time, I noticed quick results from basically any exercise I did (I was about 20 years old), and my anecdotal evidence was irrefutable. To me. Fuck, almost every argument I entered back then I was irrefutable. I was so much smarter the younger I was.
Anyway, fast forward a few years or more and my perspective has shifted quite a bit. I still believe in the merits of exercise. But I do not see the direct causation to weight loss as much as I do with diet. In fact, there have been many times in the past decade where I would exercise pretty hard and actually gain weight. Some of it muscle, sure, but mostly fat. I would finish exercising and order a steak and cheese sandwich with a coke and some fries. Then perhaps down some ice cream for dessert. I was ravished.
Even as I trained intensely for 2.5 consecutive years competing in triathlons, I didn't lose as much weight as I would've thought (though I did drop about 25 pounds). I was training 15 hours a week, easy but my calorie intake must've approached 4000 per day. Serious. And while I was starting to pay more attention to nutrition, it would be wrong to say I was feeding my body the proper ingredients to recover from the intense sessions. I often used tough workouts as a justification for ordering 2/3 servings of dessert or an extra-large instead of a medium portion.
Anyway, as I mentioned, I still thinking exercise is essential for health and general happiness. The benefits are innumerable and I don't want that to be the focus of this post. Suffice to say, exercise everyday if you can. For at least 30-45 minutes, more if possible.
More important to our health, is what we put into our bodies not our output.
What does a typical day look like for you? From start to finish do you track precisely what you eat? Do you keep track of calories? Fat? Protein? Vitamins/Minerals? Please post in the comment section as I am very curious how you guys have the endurance to read all these fucking words without passing out. So what are you grubbing on?
For me, I'm not a big fan of breakfast. I do rely on coffee to get my mornings started. I always use some half and half to tame the taste a bit, but other than that I start with a banana, a donut, or a cookie. Typically some variation of the three. I like some sweet to start my day. I realize this is NOT what most people do, nor is it what doctors/nutritionists recommend, but I do not exercise first thing in the morning so I have nothing to replenish and am truly not very hungry when I wake up.
Lunch I also keep pretty light. Each day during the week I eat exactly the same thing. I'm a creature of habit. I eat a spinach salad with carrots, peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers. I add croutons and salad dressing. I usually drink a soda with it and also some light salt potato chips. This is definitely not a hearty salad whatsover, it probably only contains like 3-400 calories. But it is healthy, makes me feel light, and prepares me for my afternoon workout.
Sometimes I will buy a snack midday if I'm unusually hungry, but usually that's all I need to eat until about 6-7PM.
That is where the fun begins.
I used to eat out many times a week. Not necessarily at sit-down restaurants, but fast casual places like Chipotle, Potbelly's, Noodle's and Co. and the like. The past 4 months, I sat down and examined my finances and recognized how much $$ I was spending each week on this stuff. Wow. Holy shit. I can't believe it now in hindsight. I was eating like I was a millionaire.
We cooked seldomly, mostly on the weekends.
Thankfully, I had an epiphany that was largely attributable to money and not nutrition but it was helpful nevertheless. Ash and I started cooking most days during the week. Vegetarian food. We often eat Mexican dishes like Tacos/Taco Salad. Or Chili. Sometimes she makes a vegetable tofu stirfry. Last week we had baked potatoes and salad. The week before I had 3-4 days of BLT's. Ash doesn't like to keep meat in the house (ethical reasons), but she made me some real bacon because I am fearful of Fakin (fake bacon). This weekend when I asked her to run it back, she politefully declined so we went with Tortas and rice instead. Anyway, we've been eating great lately for dinners.
We always load up on vegetables and get our protein through beans, spinach, tofu, cheese, or some other alternative. I still eat meat when we dine out but we have cut back on that considerably.
We both have big sweet tooths which is really our downfall. We love our dessert. Sometimes we make cookies or brownies. Rice Krispie treats or pie. Sometimes we buy ice cream or make S'mores. MMMMMMM. Ya, so I consume a good amount of this before bed.
That is my crime. I own it. I should cut back, but I don't. I probably will be forced to because I notice my metabolism slows each year and I really don't want to gain the weight. Every year it becomes harder to lose weight and maintain your fitness so I need some better habits here.
Aside from that, I'm not a big snacker. Ashley used to be but she's better about it now. I used to think grazing is the way to go, but I do enjoy a good meal (especially dinner).
Another pitfall I haven't remedied is eating a healthful snack after exercise. I don't understand the science behind this but I have read many articles touting the benefits of replenishing your body after a tough workout. Does anyone have any science/wisdom they would like to share about this? And what snacks you prefer?
Anyway, let me know your thoughts on food. I've been researching GMO's and Ash and I do not eat organic fruits or vegetables. My sister is a zealot about it and many others are as well but I am cost conscious, and do not truly believe that the anti-GMO crowd is benevolent as they claim. Just my two cents and my opinion isn't rigid, I'm still open to more research on the issue.
One last tidbit is that I drink beer but probably only 3-4 per week. Often less. I enjoy a beer with certain foods, but generally a Pepsi quenches my thirst just as well. Beer is maybe more fun and healthy but unless it's a cider it doesn't satisfy my sweet tooth.
Okay, with that, let me know your thoughts. Judge my diet too if you like, it is far from perfect.