The Connection of Diet to Exercise
Regular physical activity has many health benefits—increased energy and lifespan, as well as overall wellbeing, to name a few. People of all ages can benefit from remaining active, and there are many types of exercise that help you attain your peak fitness.
Often overlooked, though, is the importance of diet to physical fitness. Are you looking to shed pounds and reach a healthy weight? Or are looking to tone your body with muscle while maintaining your healthy body weight? Both are possible with a proper diet. Scientific research confirms that diet and exercise work in conjunction with one another, so it is essential to understand how proper nutrition contributes to overall health and how you can achieve a more integrated state of wellbeing.
Combating Obesity with Diet
Exercise can mitigate weight gain, but it doesn’t supply the body with needed nutrients for its optimal performance. That’s where diet comes in. If you are obese or overweight, it’s not as simple as eating less. Starving yourself may lead to some weight loss, but your body will compensate by lowering its metabolic rate, which will slow weight loss and still leave you without proper nutrients.
The key is to eat just enough calories from healthy foods to maintain your basal metabolic rate so that your body begins to operate at a caloric deficit. A healthy diet with proper caloric intake supplemented with frequent exercise to prevent muscle mass loss will lead to a slimmer, fitter self. Because all bodies are different, each individual’s diet and exercise plan will be unique, so it’s important to seek the advice of a doctor and physical fitness professional to learn what is best for you.
Toning Up with Diet
If you are at a healthy weight but are looking to tone up—lose fat and gain muscle mass—diet can play an integral role. Healthy foods contribute to faster changes in your body composition, so while genetics are a factor in your physical makeup, you can still build muscle and decrease your excess body fat percentage. Incorporating adequate protein into your diet, as well as completing exercises for specific muscle groups, will help you maintain your healthy weight, lose excess fat mass and build muscle mass. As always, the professional opinion of your doctor or physical fitness instructor is essential for proper guidance.
One of the fastest-growing areas of health research today is gut health. Scientific research in the past two decades has uncovered the connection of gut health to overall health, and more and more health specialists are making intestinal health a priority, as research indicates many diseases originate in the gut. An unhealthy gut can express itself in a wide variety of digestive troubles like constipation, bloating and gas, but sufferers can develop anything from autoimmune diseases to depression and fatigue.
The gut is made up of approximately 100 trillion microorganisms, 10 times more bacteria than your body’s human cells. The gut flora regulate healthy gastrointestinal function and metabolism and also fight disease and infection as part of your immune system. Unfortunately, modern diets low in fermentable fibers and high in processed foods, sugar and refined carbohydrates directly contribute to poorer gut health—not to mention the harmful effects of certain medications and common stressors.
Not surprisingly, many foods and dietary supplements have begun to claim to improve gut health, but it is important to understand what the connection of gut health to overall health is, and how to combat the toxins that spread throughout the body when you have what is known as a leaky gut. This means your intestinal barrier becomes permeable, letting out toxins which your body treats as foreign substances and attacks. This is the basis for link between poor gut health and autoimmune diseases.
Restoring Your Gut Health
Health researchers have pinpointed several effective methods that can begin healing your gut and restoring your overall health, including:
- Avoiding toxins in common foods and medications
- Including fermentable fibers and fermented food into your diet
- Proactive treatment of intestinal pathogens
- Healthy stress management
Do you want to attain better gastrointestinal function, overall bodily health and wellbeing and even healthy weight loss? You can learn more about the importance of gut health restoration, nutrition and diet by contacting 3D Wellness today.
Choosing recipes. Obtaining necessary ingredients. Preparing meals in advance. Sure, meal planning takes some dedication, but so does any meaningful change you make for a happier, healthier life. The key is to develop a critical strategy with simple steps you can complete, one at a time. With just the right game plan, meal prepping can go from overwhelming to workable — and save you time and money in the process.
It’s also essential to decide why meal planning is right for you. Are you looking to eat healthier? Are you looking to spend less on food? Are you looking to save time throughout the week? Whatever it may be, remember that the goal is to find what works for you, so feel free to experiment and customize as you see fit in order to achieve those wellness benchmarks you identified for your strategy.
Select Your Recipes
You only have to think about what’s for dinner once a week. Take an hour or so, preferably at the onset of the weekend, and determine which nights you’ll cook dinner at home. Depending on the day and you and family’s schedule, you’ll have an idea of what kind of meal works best. Then look through your favorite bookmarked sites for delicious, healthy recipes, or the ones you’ve memorized, and assemble a list you can use from now on.
Shop for Ingredients
Got your master recipe list? Good. Now you need to figure out all possible ingredients your recipes need. It sounds complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Once you know your strategy, it’ll be easy each time you do it again.
The simplest way is to identify every ingredient your recipes call for — and there’ll most likely be some overlap. Anytime you add a new recipe to your list, just add any new ingredients that you haven’t already listed.
When you make your grocery list, see which ingredients your recipes call for and take inventory of what you currently have. This helps you avoid duplicating what you already have, which saves you money and prevents food waste. You can even organize your grocery list based on where in the store those ingredients are, which saves you time!
Prepare Your Meals
You’ve got your ingredients, so the final step is to prep your meals, which you can do in an hour or so on Sunday to square away the week ahead of time.
How you prep depends on what this week’s recipes are. So do the necessary washing, slicing, dicing and store in the fridge. Batch prepping once a week makes preparing each meal each night much easier for rest of your week!
Once you have a strategy tailored to your lifestyle, and once you’ve tried it out for a week, you’ll see how much time and money meal prepping can save you — not to mention the physical and mental wellbeing it brings.
Thinking about becoming more active? Considering eating better? You’re not alone. Many people want to make positive lifestyle changes but find it to be quite an overwhelming challenge. Unhealthy habits die hard. For lasting motivation and follow-through, it’s important to know what changes to make and how to make them.
Studies show that implementing more physical activity and healthy eating into your lifestyle is the one of the surest paths to feeling healthier and happier — and there are plenty of easy ways to incorporate healthier meals and effective exercise into your life.
For starters, drink a glass of water before each meal to stay hydrated, retain energy, aid digestion, encourage metabolism and prevent overeating. Include good fats like avocado, nuts, fish and olive oil in your diet for better immune system function and healthy skin. Make vegetables half of your plate before adding your other portions to ensure the right amount of nutrients each time you eat.
When it comes to exercise, it’s essential to find what works for you. You don’t have to be a heavy-duty weightlifter. Activity as simple as walking for a few minutes each hour that you sit can keep your muscles engaged and active. Other vigorous exercises will do more than just burn calories — sweating rids your body of toxins, while aerobic exercise boosts your metabolism and even benefits your brain and promotes deep sleep. And a good 7–9 hours will keep you feeling rested and energized throughout the day.
Following a Plan
Changing your lifestyle for the better doesn’t happen overnight. It’s important to make changes incrementally, one step at a time. Setting achievable goals makes the follow-through much easier:
- Be specific with your plan and write it down.
- Make realistic short-term and long-term goals, then break them into manageable steps that you can measure.
- Focus on changing one behavior at a time for a better chance of success.
- Involve a partner, friend or family member in your challenge to motivate you and hold you accountable.
- Ask for support — talk it through with a loved one or professional to help you stay the course.