WHAT FOODS SHOULD I EAT?
In my opinion, knowing what types of food to incorporate into your diet is one of the most important aspects of nutrition—especially when it comes to regenerating your metabolism and sticking to your program. You cannot look at someone else’s diet or read a magazine and decide that what you saw is the diet for you. You may not like some of the foods you see in a diet, but being able to tolerate the foods utilized within your diet will help ensure success. As well, I cannot stress this point enough: Each person is different, so even though the diet you saw in the magazine made a particular person lose weight and look great, it may not work in the same way for you. Just as important is eating for your goal. If you truly want to remedy a nonexistent metabolism and make it burn as efficiently as ever—packages of fat-free or low-fat goodies are going to make it happen.
Just as crucial to your program should be what you drink. Again, the more pure the source, the better; stick with filtered or spring water. You could utilize many of the new water flavor enhancers if you simply don’t like the taste of plain water. If you are a coffee drinker, moderation is the key. A little caffeine is good, but too much of anything can be a hindrance to your health.
This food list has quite a bit to choose from and the key is to go through the list and choose the items that you like and that you can stick with and implement them into your program. It’s also very important to look at your new program as an eating lifestyle, not a quick-fix diet. Although once you’ve gotten back on your feet and are again a fat-burning machine, you’ll be able to enjoy a little something here and there, the vital point is that you’re not only eating to resurrect your metabolism, but also learning how to eat for proper health and to achieve the most you possibly can with good health and eating habits.
When putting your carbs and proteins together to form your daily meals, it’s essential to make a list of your likes, dislikes, and foods that you are allergic to or are simply unable to eat. This is also the time to enlist the services of a nutritionist. If you aren’t able to eat certain sources of proteins, carbs, etc., a good nutritionist will be able to inform you of suitable alternatives. This is one of the points I always discuss with my clients. If, while creating the program, they tell me that they know fish is good for them, but they just can’t stomach it, we’ll find an alternative source. Unless you simply want to sub out a slice of cake for a baked potato (not going to happen!), there are always other options.
Also, when putting your meal plan together, utilize as much variety as possible. You’re probably thinking, “Right! How creative can I get with fish and rice over and over again?” That’s the point. Don’t eat fish and rice at every meal! With a number of protein choices, utilize as many of them as possible. I like to tell my athletes that their diet is a “base” and that with the lists of proteins and carbs, they can mix and match and interchange as they see fit. The key is to sub out exact amounts: 10 ounces of steak for 10 ounces of chicken; 8 ounces of baked potato for 8 ounces of jasmine rice, etc. Very few pro athletes, let alone the normal individual trying to get his body back on track, could eat the same meal five, six, or seven times a day, every day—so you can switch things up. Another plus side of changing up your foods is that even though you’re switching out the same amounts of food—10 ounces of chicken, 10 ounces of steak, or 10 ounces of fish will vary in calories—as will 8 ounces of potato versus 8 ounces of rice or 8 ounces of other vegetables. This will keep your body and your metabolism alert—the body will not become accustomed to the same thing and this will help when hitting plateaus.
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