The Decision: Choose Health First


May 03, 2017 (Wed)

Choosing health is a choice. It's a choice that comes with a heavy price physically and emotionally. It adds stress to your life. It adds more steps to your routine. It may even make you question what you know. It may even make you get so far into your own psyche it becomes obsessive. But the truth is: you already do know...the problem is that there's so much convoluted information out there. Take the following most frequently asked questions:

How many calories should I eat?
How much protein is enough? 
But 1200 calories is what my friend is eating?
Is cardio everyday right? 
Fat is bad so why should I eat it?

These questions directly reflect the insane amount of misinformation given to us over several decades. We've all seen the diet fads: low fat, high protein, low calorie, exercise more than you eat (i.e. Calories in calories out). But what's the truth?

The truth is balance. Balance and moderation. Here are answers to some of those questions:

1) If you have medical insurance then you're usually covered for up to 6 sessions with a registered dietitian. Use them! Alternatively, you can use an app that can calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate). Most of us have a BMR that ranges from 1150-1500 (depending on age, weight, gender and height). Then eat about 15-30% above that number (if BMR = 1150, then 1150+15%= 1300-1350). We're all different therefore need to consume differently. One calorie paradigm doesn't fit them all.

2) Determining how much protein to consume seems to be the biggest question in today's time. The reality is that as Americans we don't have a lack of protein available. The RDA is currently 0.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight. That's roughly 65-85 grams for most people. Consuming more is ok, perhaps 10-15% more (as some research has shown this to be beneficial).

3) Cardio everyday is not important. What's important is activity and consistency. If you're just starting out aim for 3 - 4 good days of exercise: this includes cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training. Plan for it. If you need help planning out routines seek the advice of a personal trainer. Most clubs offer complimentary planning sessions. Use them if you're a member. But whatever you do, going balls to the walls when you're first trying leads to injury. Make a plan to start and then gradually add to it. This is a journey not a destination.

4) Fat is not bad. At all. In fact, we need about 15-30% of our calories to come from fats. But remember not all fats as created equally. Avoid things that: contain very high amounts of saturated fat, all things with trans fats, limit intake of fried foods. Choose items that contains nuts and seeds, or are prepared with olive oil. Choose fatty fish like salmon and tuna for protein options as they contain heart heathy omega 3 fatty acids. Choose to use a tablespoon of mashed avocado on your sandwich as a spread instead of mayo. Fat is important just like carbs and protein. Don't neglect it.

Bottom lines and lessons:

1) Make a meal plan and try to stick to it. There's always the next meal or even tomorrow.
2) Schedule and plan your exercise. 
3) Record everything in a journal. Accountability is everything. 
4) Practice consistency. Consistency is key to making long term changes.
5) Find friends with similar goals and like minds. 
6) Avoid those that ridicule or hate on you for whatever reason. That negativity is just flat out bullshit. 
7) Go to the doctor for a physical and get the numbers. Work to improve what you see needs improvement.
8) Love your life. And first love yourself. There will be ups and downs. That's normal. There will be moments of joy and troughs of sadness. Allow yourself to move forward and keep at it. If you need to: reread #4.