I don't know about you but summertime is crazy hard to stay on track with eating well and on my normal routine. It is hot, busy and full of social situations where the food options are not always clean. These diet changes can really do a number on your GI, sodium bloating and just overall feeling uncomfortable.
So how do you get back on track? Try a crazy cleanse? Go Keto? Fit tea?
Actually, you don't have to do anything drastic, uncomfortable or down right unhealthy. It is easy as 1-2-3.
Step 1, create a 3 day food journal. Don't be shy and don't try to change anything. Just be honest and use this a a tool to find out what might be missing in your diet...or on the other end what you might be consuming too much of. By using an app, like the Fitness Pal, you can calculate calories, macro and micronutrients. Having deficents in our macro or micronutrients can lead to one feeling unwell and performance in exercise can truly decline.
The most common nutrient deficiency for athletes are iodine, vitamin D, Zinc, Vitamin E and calcium, along with Omega 3's and protein. To fix this is not as difficult as it seems. Start by drinking more water and use a supplement like BCAA's, Dragon Fruit Powder or electrolytes that are clean and without diet sugars. Next, add an additional protein to each meal, whether that could be a clean protein power to your morning coffee, add an egg and chicken sausage on top of your morning oats or add sliced chicken to your avocado toast. To increase your omega's add a tablespoon to chia seeds to pancake mix or add walnuts to your afternoon yogurt. Flaxseed can be easily added to your muffin and bread mix or protein shake. Finally, 1/2 cup of Brussel Sprouts measures at 135 mg of Omegas...WOW!
Now, I don't want you to think...how can I eat all that? There are foods out there that can boost all of what you need like, Salmon, Tuna and Shrimp! These foods are high in Vitamin D, Omega, and Calcium.
Just a side note, iodine and zinc deficiencies are not just important for athletes but also extremely important for those suffering with thyroid issues. Egg yolks, lima beans, fish and seaweed can increase iodine, zinc, vitamin A and iron.
Keep in mind to eat whole food, things you cook yourself and pay attention to added sugars and salts that you really don't need.
Step 2, know your portion size. I am not a big calorie counting person. Calorie in, calorie out... I wish it was that easy. You can eat 1000 calories a day and still meet you macro percentages. So thinking about how much you eat and that you are actually eating enough is important. I like Precision Nutrition plate design. For protein, 1 palmful for females and 2 palmfulls for Males, 1 fist of veggies for women, 2 fist for men and 2 cupped of carbs for women and 3 for men. By using the idea of our own hands we can visually see if we are putting enough on our plate without calorie counting or weighing our food. Because let's be real, we can't fit a scale in our purse when we go to a cookout.
Step, 3 know your body and what you should be eating in terms of Macros. Now I haven't really taken the time to define what Macronutrients are. These nutrients are your fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Inside these macros are our micronutrients. Each body type burns energy differently and to feed your body to your body type is helpful for efficiency. The three types are Ectomorphs, mesomorphs and endomorphs. Ectomorphs have a very fast metabolism, low body fat and increase muscle mass. This person has a more straight physique. A person with this type can eat a 20/30/50 fat, protein, carbohydrate ratio. Mesomorphs has low body fat, high muscle mass but has a more balanced body shape and can gain and low weight fairly easily. This person can eat a 30/30/40 macro ratio of fat, protein and carbohydrate. Endomorphs struggle the most they have a high body fat to lower muscle mass. They struggle to lose weight and often have to be very strict to keep weight off. They respond well when eating 40/35/25 macro ratios fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
As we are closing out the summer of fun in the sun and into the fall of comfort foods, it's good to take a look at what you are eating, what you are missing, and thinking am I eating what is right for me and my body. I always encourage those to research for themselves and ASK QUESTIONS.
Stacie A. Zamperini M.Ed.