What You Are In For
Using these guidelines, which are valuable information for you, as a beginner, you will be able to optimize your eating habits, so, therefore, that will help in your physical development.
With the help of our beginners’ nutrition guide, you will be able to actually enjoy the food in your plate, and learn not to starve and restrict yourself by any means.
In this guide, you will learn:
- What Is Food and Why Do We Eat It?
- Nutrition Over Strict Diets
- “How to eat?” instead of “What to eat?”
- Planning Nutrition According to Our Daily Needs
- Foods, Not Calories
- Choice of Food and Budget
- Consider the Foods That You Like
- Here Comes the Big Question- Should We Cook or Just Eat Outside?
- Daily Water Needs
- … The Calorie
- Food Measuring Alternative
- Nutrition and Health Limitations
What Is Food And Why Do We Eat It?
“You are what you eat” is a common phrase, which you probably know very well.
We could break it down by saying that we are what the body digests, absorbs and uses via the body cells.
This is why it is very important to pay attention to the quality of the food which goes into your body.
Food is made up of different substances, like the well-known proteins, carbohydrates and fats (All 3 of these, we call macro-nutrients).
Food also contains vitamins, minerals and water, which we call micro-nutrients.
All micro and macro-nutrients are important for our physiological needs and the type of food and its quality is important when it comes to how we feel and whether or not we will boost our physical development through proper nutrition.
We eat to maintain the complex system, which the human body is. The way we eat influences the quality of life, because food is not just fuel, but information for the body as well.
Nutrition Over Strict Diets
You may be surprised, but even though we offer actual, personalized nutrition and workout regimens, we do not really like the term “Nutrition plan”.
This is simply because these are the exact plans that have a starting and ending point, which may be 10 to 70 days apart.
Many people fall into the trap of thinking “it’s just 30 days, I can starve myself to get to that goal weight” and end up feeling even worse than the initial point.
That’s why it is important to talk about nutrition- A way of creating eating habits that will not end, which allows you to feel good in your body.
Nutrition that will give your body the required substances for proper, optimal functioning.
“How To Eat?” Instead Of “What To Eat?”
You are probably scrolling down to see what your menu should consist of, or if we have found the magic formula to success by any chance.
Well, we haven’t really found that formula yet, simply because it does not exist, as nutritional requirements are pretty individual.
So, before learning what to eat, it is important to know how to eat.
If there’s one thing we can tell you that will instantly make your nutrition better is having a relaxed, slow meal. Don’t stuff everything in your mouth- Enjoy the food.
Chew your food well and eat in a relaxed environment.
These things benefit:
- The body’s digestion and hydration
- By eating the food slowly, you will gradually give it to the body and avoid the feeling of being swollen
- It will help you avoid fat gains due to the fact eating less, but slower will lead to gradual satiety.
- It benefits you in terms of food enjoyment
Planning Nutrition According To Our Daily Needs
Before planning your nutrition according to your individual characteristics, it is important to remember that in the world of nutrition, there is no unified nutrition plan, which works for everyone.
For a split second, try to forget all the nutrition advice you’ve ever heard, like “You must eat breakfast” or “you shouldn’t eat carbohydrates after 6 pm” etc.
Focus on your own needs, because none of the examples above is completely true or false for everyone.
Pay attention to the following things
- How many times a day CAN you eat? Maybe you don’t really have time for breakfast, maybe your job is very demanding and you don’t have the possibility to eat that often, or in certain hours.
- What are your levels of physical activity? (Not 3 years ago when you played basketball, but now.) Plan your nutrition according to your physical activity. If your everyday life is more fast-paced and dynamic, you will probably need more food, more often. And vice versa, if your life is more sedentary (e.g- you have an office job and are less active during the day, you will need less food). As we said- No magic formula to nutrition. Find what you need by communicating with your bodily signals.
- Are you eating alone- family, friends? This is another factor that plays a role when we plan our nutrition. Do we have to cook for anyone else on the table? What are their tastes? This is the part where you might have to separate yourself from the family dinners, if you want to really stick with your nutrition plan.
The main thing, as we said many times is realizing there is no universally working nutrition plan and that you can always adapt your nutrition to the lifestyle that you’re leading.
How to control our nutrition when the plan fails?
It is good to have a plan which will grant comfort towards the goal.
However, sometimes plan A fails due to other factors, which we have no control over.
In these cases, you might have to compromise or eat something that’s not the optimal choice.
Plan B is your next option where you adapt your nutrition to the products available.
Understand that nothing fatal has happened to your diet if you cheat once. The problem comes when you are with this mindset- “My diet is already screwed, let’s eat more bad food.”
Here are a few practical advice to apply if your plan fails
- Choose the less better foods among fast foods- A burger with meat and vegetables instead of hot dog with mayo
- Do not overeat
- Do not eat if you are not really that hungry
- Don’t blame yourself if Plan B fails
Foods, Not Calories
Talking about food, most people associate it with calories and then with the macro-nutrients- Proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Before everything however, we eat foods, and yes, it matters what the source of these macro-nutrients/calories is.
The foods we ingest can determine how we feel- Full of energy, healthy and improving.
It is important for our menu to consist of whole, unprocessed foods like meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, whole grain products and last but not least, water.
Sugar, trans-fats and refined products, can foods and semi-manufactured products be best when avoided or taken to a minimum.
Aim for a sufficient amount of protein, as it is a main, basic macro-nutrient.
Amino acids, which build up proteins, are responsible for our structure, hormones, enzymes, which are vital.
We suppose you know about essential amino acids, which our bodies can not produce, meaning they have to come from an outer source, which is food.
Don’t forget to include colorful foods – Green, red, yellow and white ones. They are not just healthy, low calorie eye candy that will make your meals colorful and more visually enjoyable, but will also provide your body with essential micro-nutrients (vitamins).
Most of you reading this are probably beginners when it comes to understanding nutrition, meaning you need the proper guidelines.
So, here are a few guidelines to follow:
- Get some protein in with each meal- Animal products or organic ones like beans, lentils etc.
- Eat veggies with each meal- Colorful, raw vegetables
- Eat more carbohydrates (rice, potatoes, whole grain products), when you earn them- Post workout or before/after any bigger physical activity throughout the day.
- Take in healthy fats like cow butter, coconut butter, fish oil, nuts, olives, olive oil, etc.
- Keep the 80/20 rule – 80% of your food should be rich in valuable macro-nutrients- This means solid, unprocessed, fresh food that has no sugar. The other 20% of your nutrition plan are the crap foods like chips, that do not really benefit your body but you crave them from time to time.
Choice Of Food And Budget
As we have already mentioned here several times, the unified nutrition plan does not exist, meaning that while we choose food, we can use our preferences and budget as reference.
Make sure your menu is full of whole foods, rich in valuable substances. Sugar has to be taken to a minimum.
Consider The Foods That You Like
Make a list of basic sources of macro-nutrients, which you love eating (e.g- Any type of recipe that consists of flavored meat, eggs, etc. or even desserts that consist of grain products and animal products like porridge)
Add your favorite vegetables and seasoning to those and boom, you have a basic menu, which is healthy and enjoyable.
The next step to take is learning how much your nutritional plan will cost you each month, considering the market prices of those products.
Once you know the average cost of your diet, you can adjust it to your monthly budget.
Remember that you don’t really need to purchase super expensive foods, in order to boost your physical development through nutrition, or simply feel good in your own skin. Stick to the basics.
Consider how much time weekly you can spend shopping for food.
This can also determine what products you will buy and how you will store them- In the fridge, freezer etc.
Here Comes The Big Question- Should We Cook Or Just Eat Outside?
Quite frankly, if you manage to find a balance that allows most of the food to be home cooked, this balance will have many benefits like better control over your food, consideration and fulfillment of personal preferences, etc.
Consuming homemade food, will also allow you to enjoy the process of buying, preparing, cooking and consuming your food.
It is never too late to learn how to cook and overall have fun in the kitchen while experimenting.
It is especially easy to accomplish if you have a plan to it, just like anything else.
And, of course, the number of actual kitchen plans (Recipes) on the internet is endless, so there is a vast variety of things that you can treat yourself with, which are still healthy.
Daily Water Needs
We know you want to find out exactly how much water you should be drinking each day, but before that we should know why it is important to provide your body with sufficient amounts of water.
Water is vital, due to the fact our bodies are made of nearly 70% water. It has many important functions in the organism, as it transports substances, takes part in the chemical processes as a catalyst, lubricates the joints, regulates body temperature, etc.
The amount of water needed depends on the individual’s weight, levels of physical activity, temperature of the environment, etc.
We give our bodies water not only by drinking it, but also by eating plant foods like fruits and vegetables.
You can determine your daily needs with some simple math:
- 30-40 ml of water per kilogram of body weight (1.8-2.4 liters if you weigh 60 kg)
- 80-100 ml of water per 100 kcal from your BMR
- Do not forget including water during and after physical activities
- Consider drinking more water if you are in a hot environment
- It is important to drink water optimally without dehydrating yourself, or vice versa, over-drink water and bloat yourself out
… The Calorie
Calories, counting calories, caloric blablablabalance…
We said that before anything else, we consume food and not calories.
Well.. That’s true but let us not completely disregard the importance of calories.
Consider the fact that the caloric balance is not a myth.
Each of us requires a given number of calories per day to maintain the full body weight (This number is called TDEE- Total Daily Energy Expenditure).
So, quite logically, if you consume more calories than you burn throughout the day consistently, you will gain weight.
And of course, if you consume fewer calories than your TDEE, you will lose weight.
Last but not least, if your intake is closer/equal to your TDEE, no significant change in weight will be noticed.
There are formulas to use which can determine your TDEE with accuracy up to 100 calories, but these formulas are not 100% accurate due to different, individual factors like
- How many of the calories will your body digest and use
- Is the nutritional information label on the products that you purchase accurate?
- What part of your menu consists of in-digestible fibers?
- How you prepare your food
- How you store your food
This is why it is important to understand that you can count calories and weigh your food but you cannot predict what will happen in reality.
Just listen to your organism, give it what it needs and adjust your nutrition plan accordingly.
Food Measuring Alternative
Counting calories is highly not recommended for beginners, as it might turn out confusing and frustrating and may even lead to eating disorders, which is the last thing you want if your goal is physical development.
If you think this is not for you, and will rather make the process harder, then we have an alternative for you:
The Palm Method
All you need is in your hands
- The size of your palm defines how much protein you need per meal
- The size of your fist determines the amount of vegetables you need per meal
- A handful is how much carbohydrates you need per meal
- The thumb determines how much fats you need per meal
The width and diameter of the food (cooked) must be equal with the size of your palm/fist.
- The palm measurement does not include the fingers.
How Many Of These Meals Can You Have Per Day?
We probably won’t surprise you with this answer but again- it is strongly individual.
After all, using the hands method, 4-5 of those portions per day are about right, since the meals are not huge but not small either.
Nutrition And Health Limitations
If you happen to have an allergy for certain foods, or you have a disease that does not allow you consuming such, or maybe even stomach problems that require a specific approach to nutrition, consider consulting with your doctor to come up with a properly adjusted plan.