Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Two Types of Food

In the last couple of weeks I've been writing about the benefits of interval training for weight loss and athletic conditioning over at grrlathlete.

So now it’s only fitting that I move on to what I consider the most important piece of the puzzle that you need to get in shape, lose weight and improve your fitness - Nutrition.

Nutrition is discussed by just about every magazine writer, talk show host, fitness expert and guru in the industry. Just about everyone and their dog can quote some type of scientific research, touting the benefit of eating one certain type of diet or another, or ramble on about the scientific reasons why some foods are better for you than others.

In my opinion, all of these scientific intellectual ramblings may actually be part of the reason why people still don't eat well.

Let's face it, when it comes to understanding what's good for us and what's not, "science" is confusing the heck out of us!

Because the science of nutrition seems to involve flip-flopping your opinions every other day, the best approach to eating healthy is to look at nutrition with the most simplified technique possible. In your mind think about what your current goals are, whether it is sports performance, weight loss, weight gain or overall health, identify your goals.

Once you have your goals firmly in your head, think of a food, any food.

Now ask yourself "Will this food move me closer to my goals or farther away from my goals?". If you believe it will help you move closer to your goal, then eat it.

If you believe it will actually move you away from your goals, then don't eat it, or at least eat it moderately and in very small portions.

The key to this technique is that you have to believe that there are no "neutral" foods. It is either good or bad.

The trouble with eating healthy is that nobody wants to think about it because nutrition is perceived to be a very complex and confusing topic.

But when we don't think about it, we eat what is put in front of us, and when we eat what is put in front of us, chances are we over eat, and eat the wrong foods.

However, when you simplify the problem down to "good food, bad food" it becomes very easy to "think nutrition". It is not complex or confusing. It simply returns to very fundamental wisdom that your grandmother probably told you when you were a child. Gravitate towards fruits and vegetables and lean protein, and be weary of anything processed (generally foods that you buy in a bag or in a box).

So forget all the debates and all the fads. It doesn't matter whether or not aspartame is good for you. Look at that diet cola and ask yourself if it will move you closer to your goals. If the answer is no, then go get a sparkling water, or green tea or any other drink that you think will move you towards your goals.

By following this principle it makes it easier to "think" nutrition. Every time you put some food in front of you ask the simple question "good or bad" and then act accordingly.

You will find that by simplifying nutrition down to this simple equation you can make dramatic improvements in the way you eat, and avoid a lot of the confusion that is out there.

Nutrition really is the missing piece of the puzzle for any fitness program, and from our experience, when you combine interval training and really good success measurements (like the ones we outlined last week) with a solid nutrition program, amazing things can happen in very little time.


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