By Colin Aina – East Providence, RI
When people seem to be struggling with their fitness goals and become frustrated with not seeing results, I assign them a food diary for a few days. I try to see what trends are leading to their fitness malfeasance, and most of the time, it isn’t the sporadic weekend gorge fests or that dessert just prior to bedtime. It’s usually the daily habits that one has become accustomed to over the years. These smaller habits are often the toughest to break. But rest assured, you can make small changes and be well on your healthy way.
Here are some mistakes I commonly see:
1. Not Eating Frequently Enough
This is the biggest mistake that my fellow American brothers and sisters make. I don’t know why or how the FDA came to the conclusion that 3 meals per day are adequate (these are the same geniuses that came up with the food pyramid…you know, that thing that says we should have more grains than veggies!) When we go 4 to 5 hours without eating on consistent basis, our body starts to get used to it and regulates accordingly. It is more apt to retain fat due to needing energy to sustain itself throughout those long gaps of time. Don’t believe me? Well, think about what happens after you eat your lunch…sleepy and lethargic, right? That’s your metabolism slowing down to conserve energy. What will then happen later in the evening when you’re feeling ravenous just prior to dinner, you will tend to overeat at dinner and if you’re not exercising right after your massive meal, think about what will happen after years of this continuous practice.
2. Eat Now, Not Later
Compounding what I referred to in regards to metabolism, why the heck do we wait to eat??? “Don’t eat that, you’ll spoil your dinner.” When I hear this baby boomer phrase I think to myself, “don’t eat now…wait a really long time until you become cranky and agitated (at least I do) and then when you finally eat, spark a massive insulin spike and then crash and get sleepy…oh, and retain body fat. Good plan!” Just like when you’re dehydrated, once you feel hungry it’s too late. Eating more frequently will award you with more energy throughout the day.
3. Eat Breakfast
Yes, that’s right. This is what the FDA got right. All too often, I see that people don’t eat until a few hours after getting up or don’t eat enough. Your body needs fuel as soon as you wake up, period. When you omit it, or wait too long, you start to go into hibernation mode during which you run into the same aforementioned issues. I know, from experience, what it feels like; if I don’t eat, or wait too long, I feel groggy for at least half of the day. Then I have to play catch up.
Again, these are 3 extremely simple, basic and effective things to be aware of and you have to make the change. I usually get complaints like “it’s too hard to remember to eat,” or “I don’t have time.” Well, as I’ve said in other articles, you have to stop making excuses for yourself and actually implement the change that you want to see.
Long term results come from long term life changes.
Colin Aina is the head trainer at 212 Health and Performance In Rumford, RI where he currently trains and coaches athletes and clients of all ages. He has worked with professional athletes as well aiding people in recovery from surgery or injury. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist as well as a USA track and Field certified coach and holds a degree in physical anthropology. He has lectured around the country at seminars for the National Strength and Conditioning Association as well as for Perform Better. He is also a motivational speaker for Kevin Robinson Events.