The Formula For Long-Term Health (Nutrition)
Google “The Perfect Diet” (I just did). As I scrolled through the various results on the first page I found nothing very specific and nothing too new. It’s mostly “Eat nutrients. Eat proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water.” When’s the last time you went to the grocery store and bought three pounds of vitamins? Or a 12-pack of nutrients? You probably have, but did not think of it like that. Food is more than just the contents it’s made up of. It’s an experience, a daily necessity for the human body, and strongly ingrained in culture. We all know the importance of it. We all know the importance of eating the right types of food and the adequate amounts. We don’t all know however, how much of what is enough and how to balance it all.
Here are two tips that will keep you eating healthy and enjoying life as you go. Align your caloric intake with your energy expenditure, and plan your meals. If you are not putting some effort into what you are feeding yourself, you should not be surprised when your health is put at risk and your life is not as great as it could be. At first it might seem too tough to do, but I assure you that it will be much tougher to rely on meds to live your day to day life.
In order to manage calories, you must be familiar with the amount of calories different meals and foods contain. Keep in mind that:
1 Gram of Protein = 4 Calories
1 Gram of Carbohydrates = 4 Calories
1 Gram of Fat = 9 Calories
1 Gram of Alcohol = 7 Calories (Note: A “nutrient” we are better off without, or consumed in very limited amounts overall).
Step 1 is always to find a good balance between calories consumed and calories burned. If you burn more calories than you consume, overtime you will lose weight. If you consume more calories than you burn, overtime you will gain weight. If you don’t know if you are consuming more calories than you are burning you can easily find this out by stepping on a scale or comparing your clothing size from 3 years ago to today. Once you’ve done this assessment you can decide if you need to eat less, eat more, eat the same, burn more calories, or a mixture of these. Your energy intake (food eaten) needs to match your energy expenditure (activity level) in accordance with your health goal.
When you fail to plan you fail to plan (or something like that). If you leave your nutrition to chance, chances are you won’t be very satisfied with the overall results in a few years. Be deliberate about how you prepare to feed yourself. If you start thinking about what you’re going to eat once you’re hungry, you’re too late. Your hunger will likely make the decision for you and it’ll be the most convenient and palatable food available. This tends to be a Big Mac more often than a Caesar Salad. Don’t leave it to chance. Meal prepping is a tough skill to develop at first, but a game changer in the long run. This will ensure that when hunger strikes, it won’t catch you off-guard.
None of these tips are ground breaking nor a novelty. They are actually pretty common knowledge. But they are regularly overlooked and can be the difference maker in where your health goes within the next 5-50 years. It’s worth the effort, ask any of the 133 million Americans who suffer from at least one chronic illness.
P.S. Regularly exercising and eating a balanced healthy diet does not guarantee you will never develop a chronic disease. But just like not smoking helps your chances of not getting lung cancer, it does help your chances of not developing them.