Week Recap

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This week I had a great time going over dietary choices with you!  We talked about calorie control, the basal metabolic rate, eating clean, health disorders, and macro-nutrients.  I had a great time doing it too!

With all of this information, it would be silly if I didn’t walk the walk as much as I talk the talk.  As I said in my last post, it’s better to be like Jimmy(who likes eating healthy) than Carl(who eats loads of crap).  I am doing my best every day to eat as well as I say you should, and I hope we can all grow stronger together and help each other make better choices.

I also wanted to mention a few ideas that were presented to me via the comments this past week:

  1. One of you mentioned doing karate and MMA.  You told me it would be a great way to do my cardio.  Thank you for the suggestion!  I really think that sounds like a great idea and I’ve actually been considering it lately.  A few guys I know from a town about 20 minutes away attend a gym that’s very highly rated for its Mixed Martial Arts.  I know I’m not going to be like Chuck Norris in a couple of weeks, but I’d love to learn some self defense and enjoy the sport(..and learn how to kick heads…Just kidding )
  2. I was told to try a vegan diet.  I’ve also thought about that lately.  I think vegan-ism is becoming more popular because of people like Vegan Gains on YouTube.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all!  He seems to be a bit of a sociopath, but other that he gives a great message and raises awareness of animal cruelty.  The animal cruelty aspect alone is a great point for many who have forsaken animal products, but the dietary effects seem to be great also!  I can see how eating a plant-based diet would lower bad cholesterol, decrease cancer risk, and alkalize blood.  However, I honestly haven’t done a ton of research on this diet.  I am mostly stating hearsay, but I do really like what I’m hearing and you may see a post about it from me in the future!

In conclusion, I really like all of the feedback I get from you and I love having the conversations with you.  I hope to continue making progressively healthier choices, and I want to refocus my attention on Crohn’s Disease and auto-immune disorders.

I did, after all, start this blog in response to remission from my Crohn’s Disease.  I want to help others who are suffering with auto-immune disorders and raise awareness.  If you’d like to help with that, send me an email or reblog some of my posts.

All of that being said, I think Crohn’s Disease has a huge link to diet along with other auto-immune disorders.  My assumption is strengthened with personal experience.  I did the Paleo Diet and I know it is completely anti vegan but both diets are great for banishing processed foods.  Cut out the processed foods = healthier life.  Thanks for reading and feel free to join the conversation!

Not All Calories Are Created Equal

You want to get lean?

That’s great!  You are a part of a great club of people who all want to better themselves, and making the decision to start trying is the biggest step to take in your fitness journey.

If you’ve been following this blog for long, then you know that I’ve been writing up a series on health, wellness, and nutrition this week.

In my first post, I talked about how I wanted to find a Subjective Diet Format (SDF), a diet tailored for me specifically.  I factored in my weight, my current eating habits, the amount of ambition I have along with my goals, and my Crohn’s Disease(to read that post, click here).

In my second post, I talked about finding the amount of calories you should be eating by using your Basal Metabolic Rate.  I left a link to a Basal Metabolic Rate Calculator, but you could also find one with a quick Google search.  To read that post, click here.

In the last post, I talked about the obvious but oftentimes overlooked..

Eating clean!  The best first step you can make is not cutting your calories or upping the cardio, although those things are both important.  The best first step is cleaning up your eating choices so that you know, despite any extra pounds, that you have a healthier body.  To read that post, click here.

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image courtesy of SimpleReminders.com

..and today’s post naturally picks up where yesterday’s post left off.

I want to drive home a point!  Not all calories are created equal.  Let’s compare Carl to Jimmy:

Carl eats two pounds of macaroni and cheese, and a pound of boneless chicken chunks from Walmart’s deli.  This adds up to about 3,000 calories!  For an active male who works out, this is probably within his basal metabolic rate.  For the sake of this post, let’s say Carl DOES in fact work out.  Carl is possibly eating under his active Basal Metabolic Rate and will lose weight….but is he as healthy as Jimmy?

Jimmy eats five meals.  These five meals are each an eight ounce chicken breast with a serving of broccoli, a serving of green beans, a serving of carrots, and a serving of fruit.  Jimmy MAY indulge once in a while with a starchy white potato.  Overall, Jimmy may be consuming close to the same amount of calories as Carl but I would bet his left arm his diet is going to make him a LOT healthier.  Before you ask…NO, I would not bet my own left arm even if I’m guaranteed a win!  Screw that!

..but my point is this!  Carl’s meal had literally no vegetables and was full of fat and carbs.  He easily got his protein requirement but he didn’t get crap for heart health.

It is important to track protein, carbs, and fat!  However, there’s also factors that most people overlook like sodium and cholesterol.  According to the National Institute of Health, cholesterol plays a MAJOR role in heart disease.  In layman’s terms, lower your bad LDL cholestrol and increase your good HDL cholestrol.  You can do this by avoiding foods that are high in saturated fat and eating more unsaturated fat through walnuts and almonds.

In conclusion to this week’s discussion on diet, I say “BE LIKE JIMMY!  AND DON’T LISTEN TO CARL’S NUTRITIONAL ADVICE!”  I would yell that on every rooftop in town if I thought….you know…people wouldn’t think I’m crazy.

While we know that Carl and Jimmy will both lose weight by eating less calories, we should all agree that Jimmy has the better strategy.  So be like Jimmy, or vegan-paleo-pescatarian Jimmy, and eat healthy.  Not only will you look great, but your body will thank you!

Find Balance To Become More Fit

There is a lot of talk in the fitness world regarding weight training vs cardio, diet vs exercise, and paleo vs vegan!

All of this crazy talk about which side of every fitness debate you should choose, but you should probably try to choose…

All of the above!

Weight Training or Cardio

Weight training is an excellent way to increase strength and can be used for hypertrophy.  By lifting heavy weights and working out consistently over a period of time, you will achieve great results.  Weight training has also been proven to actually strengthen your structural integrity and protect your joints, as long as you are lifting with proper form.

Cardio is an excellent way to increase endurance and burn fat.  By running or walking, or riding a bike consistently over a period of time, you will achieve great results.  I’ve also, personally, noticed that when I go for a run and do some cardio I manage to work out a lot of the stress I have.  It seems that we hold a lot of tension in our bodies and some intense cardio like running could be just what you need to go the extra mile(see what I did there?).

Basically, if you choose to do both for a period of time you can be a strong person with nice, tone muscles with barely any fat and you can be as calm as can be!  What’s not to love about that?  I notice when I’m just lifting weights, I’m often angrier and it isn’t enough activity to keep me from gaining fat at any amount of calories.  If I simply rely on cardio, I become fairly skinny and in the past it caused my joints to suffer.  Here’s a picture of me running cross country my junior year:

Running from all the gains I didn't have ;)

Running from all the gains I didn’t have 😉

Now we have another end of the spectrum

Diet VERSUS Exercise

Should I do a lot of exercise and train frequently or should I just drop my calories below my basal metabolic rate(BMR) and wait patiently for the fat to fall off?

You should do both!  Some of us are just genetically wired for losing weight to be difficult.  I know that I put on weight somewhat easily.  If you drop your calories a little bit, and add some form of exercise you will lose weight and you will lose it faster.  I also mentioned earlier that I experienced cardio as something that was therapeutic for me in the sense that it reduced stress.  Those benefits are also great and I think that having reduced stress due to some form of exercise will help you stay positive during all the trials and tribulations associated with losing fat.

Paleo vs Vegan

This one was more of a joke! (haha) Anyways, I don’t really see the need in following any kind of fad diet unless you really believe it has some sort of profound effect on you.

If you choose not to eat meat and dairy because of ethical or dietary reasons, go vegan and be happy! If you choose the exact opposite route and want to eat bacon and cheese, go ahead cavemen!

Do what makes you happy with yourself when it comes to dieting and do your research.  If it’s anything extreme just make sure you follow a doctor’s advice and get your blood work done.

But with dieting, as well as the rest of this post, just find balance.  I don’t see the need to cut out anything I like as far as food goes, and neither should you.  To join in on the conversation with dieting, click here.

Overall, find balance in your life with fitness and nutrition and you may become a happier, more healthy version of you.