There is so much information on the internet regarding nutrition and a lot of it contradicts the previous item you read. The basics on nutrition apply to everybody but I do have some twists for wheelchair bound folks like myself that I will provide in future entries. This is not meant to be an earth shaking new revelation or a secret sauce for a diet to follow. This is the starting point on nutrition that you must be aware of before you jump from diet fad to diet fad or go to an absolute extreme as many do with their diet.
Disclaimer: I will preface any guidelines or recommendations by saying you should check with a physician before going on any crazy diet, but the basic rules should apply for everybody.
- Be Aware of Calorie Intake
- Stop Drinking Shit
- Stop Eating Shit
- Drink Water
- Eat Real Food
- Be Consistent and Make Small Adjustments
Any advice on the internet that tells you to not worry about your caloric intake is a scam. It is meant to sell something to people who fall for the path of least resistance, they are preying on lazy people. You cannot be taken seriously as someone who gives a shit about their health and physique without being aware of your calories consumed. Sure, there are people out there who are ripped and can eat anything they want. These people either won the genetic gene pool or are on something that would get you suspended from any of the major sports. These are not the people whose lead you should follow. I am not suggesting that you become obsessed with every single calorie consumed, every single day of the week. But you should have a ballpark. If you can't rattle off how many calories you have had today within a few minutes of thought, within a couple hundred calories, you need to rethink things.
At the end of the day fat loss requires a caloric deficit. Maintenance requires equilibrium between calories consumed versus calories spent. And muscle gains require a surplus of calories over maintenance levels. The tricky part here is that Fat Gain also occurs when calories are greater than calories spent.
- Fat Loss = Calories In < Calories Spent
- Maintenance = Calories In == Calories Spent
- Muscle Gain = Calories In > Calories Spent
- Fat Gain = Calories In > Calories Spent
I will do deeper dives into areas where you can manipulate calories, be aware of your macros and all kinds of items. But first, be aware of how many calories you actually consume on a daily basis.
Stop Drinking Soda
If you drink a ton of soda every day you have already identified the first place to start if you want to improve your physique. I get the need for caffeine but you may as well start taking meth if you are drinking 3+ bottles/cans of soda or energy drinks per day. You are destroying your teeth, your insides and adding tons of empty calories. Soda is shit. Doesn't matter if it is diet or not. Limit yourself to one per day. Soda and Energy drinks are full of sugar, or fake sugar, both are terrible.
Stop Eating Shit
If fast food is your goto meal at least 5 times a week, stop now. If you are eating fast food 3+ times a week, plan better. Fast food is a goto for people because of convenience. Plan ahead and avoid being famished with no other choice but McDonalds or Burger King. If you really can't shake fast food because you actually like it, watch Super Size Me from Morgan Spurlock; it’s a documentary where Spurlock eats only McDonalds every single meal, every single day. Things do not go well.
You see the "drink more water" advice everywhere because its true. If you sit around and do nothing you should still take in at least 50 ounces of water per day. IF you are active, double it. Start there, hit those numbers and you will be better off. You can google the 1000s of articles on why you need water. If you are aware of these reasons and still are not consuming more water than other "liquids" on a daily basis such as soda, energy drinks or juices; you are an idiot.
Eat Real Food
You must eat real food. Its that simple. I myself consume way too many protein shakes due to convenience so this is an area that I need to work on as well. Protein and other health shakes are fine but on a per day basis more of your calories should come from real food versus liquid form. There is a lot that goes within your body when you chew and digest real food. There were no blenders 100 years ago let alone 1000. Shakes taste great, appear to provide the nutrients you need, but they are not a complete substitute for food. If you do more shakes than meals at this point make a simple tweak and eat something small with each shake. Try to get to a point where you are at least getting an equal amount of calories from real food versus shakes.
Be Consistent and Make Small Adjustments
This goes with a lot of things in the fitness arena, be consistent and make small adjustments. Far too often people go crazy when jumping into a new diet and exercise program which is great on the enthusiasm side. But if you start a completely new diet along with a bunch of new supplements, along with a new exercise program I guarantee results will come. But how would you know what works? What should you keep and what should you eliminate? This is especially true in the above scenario when it comes to supplements.
If all you eat is shit today and do not exercise at all, then by just eliminating the shit and moving a little bit, you will see health improvements.
I believe exercise and clean eating should be the fixture, you must get those two nailed down no matter what and they are always the first step towards a healthy lifestyle. So assuming that these are in place at a basic level, then the small adjustment rule applies. If these fixtures are not in place than begin by being aware of what you eat, stop eating and drinking shit, drink more water and eat real food. Once these are in place make tweaks versus overhauls and take note of what works.