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5 (More) Nutrition Tips For Looking And Feeling Your Very Best

diet-strategies-circle-350x353 In Part 1, I shared five simple nutrition tips that are easy to follow and help you wade through all of the confusing and conflicting nutrition information around you.  These tips will not only help you achieve a lean physique, they are also fantastic for optimal health and performance.

Today, I am sharing five more. Keep in mind, if you’re new to the nutrition game, you might not want to implement all of these at once—that can be super overwhelming.  Maybe just one at a time until each becomes a habit. If you’re a veteran of sound nutrition, use these as a checklist to make sure you’re staying on top of your game, at least 90% of the time.

6. Time your carbs appropriately.

Low-carb, no-carb, good carb, bad carb, low-glycemic, high-glycemic—it’s enough to make anyone feel crazy!

While low-carb diets can be very effective for fat loss, they can be difficult for many people to follow. Consistently following a low-carb diet without incorporating higher carb meals or days can lead to some health issues, like sluggish thyroid function.

carbs-450x301So how can you incorporate carbohydrates into your diet without inhibiting fat loss?

Simple.  Make your carbs work for you by timing them correctly.

Immediately post-weight training, our muscle cells are more insulin-sensitive than normal, and our fat cells are less insulin-sensitive.  This is the body’s way of ensuring that nutrition consumed post-workout gets shuttled where it’s needed most—to the muscle for repair.

The best time to consume starchy carbohydrates (with an easily digested protein source, of course), is within an hour or so after a weight training workout. If you weight train very intensely, you may actually want a small meal of protein and carbs before training as well.

It’s important to keep in mind that everyone is different, and some people function much better on a moderate to higher carb diet.

Experimentation is key.

  • Try eating both lower and higher amounts of carbs and see how you feel.
  • Try having carbs pre-workout and see how you feel.
  • Try different sources of carbohydrates at different times and see how you feel.
  • Make sure you give yourself a week or two to adjust to the dietary changes before coming to any major conclusions.

Some of the most nutritious carb sources include: sweet potatoes, red potatoes, white potatoes, rice, butternut squash, berries, or gluten-free oats.

For more information about carb sources and how they affect your body, check out this article.

7. Include healthy fats with most meals.

For years, the health industry convinced us that we should be afraid of eating fat, because it would not only make us fat, but also give us heart disease and high cholesterol. Now we know that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Consuming healthy fats will keep you full and satisfied, and more importantly it will help stabilize your blood sugar, mood, and energy levels. Sound familiar? (see: Tip #4).

Even though the health industry is starting to acknowledge the benefits of fat, there is still a lot of confusion about which fats are “good” and which are “bad.”

These are just some examples of quality fat sources: olive oil, real butter, ghee, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, nut butters, whole eggs, walnuts, cashews, fatty fish, grass-fed beef.

I generally try to avoid fats from conventionally fried food, fats used in mass-produced cakes and pastries, most vegetable oils (corn, soybean, cottonseed, canola, safflower), all hydrogenated oils (trans fats).

8. Taste the rainbow! 

produce-rainbow-450x300And no, I don’t mean Skittles (though they can be a fun, occasional treat)!

By “taste the rainbow” I mean include more colorful fruits and vegetables in your diet.  Many of us stick with the same vegetables all the time. In fact, I’m totally guilty of this, myself!

There are several color categories for fruits and veggies. The broader a variety of foods you get from these different categories, the more likely you are to get all of the vitamins and minerals you need for optimal health.

Here are just a few examples of fruits and vegetables from each category:

  • White: onions, mushrooms, garlic, bananas
  • Yellow: butternut squash, peppers, yellow squash, pineapples
  • Orange: peaches, pumpkin, carrots, sweet potatoes
  • Red: beets, cherries, watermelon, tomatoes, radishes
  • Green: bok choy, kale, swiss chard, spinach, avocado, kiwi, lime
  • Blue/Purple: eggplant, purple cabbage, plums, blueberries

9. Let The Seasons Guide Your Food Choices

In today’s culture of abundance and excess, it’s hard to imagine a world without grocery stores on every corner, with any kind of food we want, available at our fingertips 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

As lucky as we are to have so many options, our bodies aren’t designed to eat certain foods in large amounts year-round.  Many fruits and vegetables grow seasonally. And you might have noticed that we crave different foods at different times of the year. During the fall and winter we tend to crave hearty meats and root vegetables, and during the spring and summer we often crave lighter fare like fresh fish, fruits and vegetables.

Whether you’re at your local grocery store, or the farmer’s market, try to pick foods that are grown locally and are in season to ensure that you’re making the healthiest choices.

10. Experiment with pulling out foods.

Food allergies and sensitivities can wreak havoc on your digestive system and negatively affect nutrient absorption and energy levels.  The worst part is that many people don’t know they are suffering from them.

most-common-food-allergens-450x300The eight most common food allergens are: milk, corn, wheat, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish.

Try pulling some or all of these foods out of your diet for at least three to four weeks. Add them back in slowly, one at a time, to gauge your reaction. Give yourself a full two to three days to see if a particular food causes a reaction. Common reactions include: rashes, breakouts, stomach pains, constipation or diarrhea, brain fog, exhaustion, or just a general feeling of malaise.

Those eight foods are a good place to start, but you can always try pulling out any food that you suspect you might not tolerate well and see what happens.

 

Nutrition seems to be a sticking point for many women, and with good reason. There’s a lot of confusing information out there, and as you’ve already realized, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. If you’re one of these women, let us help.


A message from GGS…

In our Strongest You Coaching program, we help women just like you reach their health, physique, and mindset goals. Strongest You Coaching is about more than just training and nutrition. It’s about changing your self-talk and inner dialogue, learning to let fitness enhance your life instead of rule your life, and finally healing your relationship with food and your body, all with the help of your Girls Gone Strong Coach, and your fellow Strongest You Coaching group.

Strongest You Coaching is a 9-month online group coaching program that gives you tools to succeed and puts the power to make lasting changes in your hands. We teach you how to finally eat and exercise in a way that you love so you can sustain it forever.
We only open up this program 2-3 times a year and it always sells out fast. If you’re interested, put your name on the pre-registration list now!

Pre-Register Here!

About The Author: Molly Galbraith

Molly Galbraith, CSCS is co-founder and owner of Girls Gone Strong, a global movement that aims to empower women to embrace all that’s possible for their lives and for their bodies through body-positive, evidence-based, nutrition, training, and self-care information. She is also the author of The Modern Woman’s Guide to Strength Training.

As a former figure competitor who dabbled in powerlifting, Molly understands the more extreme side of training and nutrition, and after years of personal struggle with her own body image and self-worth, Molly is committed to helping women embrace their bodies and fall in love with themselves, and teaching other coaches and trainers how to better understand, connect with, and serve their women clients. Learn more about Molly on her website and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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