#QuestionsWithKim Series 2: Nutrition
Our second #QuestionsWithKim is here! In this episode Kim has been answering all your ‘Nutrition’ questions from counting calories to eating at certain times during the day.
Q: Do I need to count calories?
A: Everyone’s opinion will be different with this great question. As a trainer, what I feel works really well, is being aware of what you are eating, and what your goals are. So if you want to become lighter and leaner, or you want to run a marathon they both require an awareness of the amount of foods you are eating. However, there is a huge difference between healthy, fresh, calories that make you feel good and achieve your goals, to just counting calories. So, I would advice working on portion sizes, having a good balance of all the essential nutrients you need in your diet to achieve your goals and being consistent with what you are eating. Checking the labels of things you eat regularly or like to snack on can be useful, just to be mindful of the volume of sugars and empty calories you are eating. Empty calories just give your body say a little energy, but don’t ‘add value’ on a nutritional or immune boosting level. So I would advice you to ‘count’ the foods you eat that make you feel good, prepare and plan towards your goals, work out what works for your body. I recommend keeping a food diary for a week, and then you could add up the empty calories and it can be really useful to tweaking things to achieve your goal. If you get serious towards a goal, working about the amount of carbs, fats, and proteins, depending on your diet type and goal can be useful to achieving a specific result like completing a marathon or fitness competition.
Q: Should I avoid carbs?
A: It’s a really tough answer and there is no right answer as every body is different. Generally what I find is people work well having a little complex carbohydrate (in the form of sweet potato, quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice, oats) throughout the day, as this balances your energy levels. This is blended with proteins, fats and lots of veggies. Obviously depending on your goal, so weight loss or performance related goals, the amount of carbohydrates and timings will have an effect, so playing around with them and seeing how you feel is key. Natural sugars found in fruits will give you energy as well as a boost of anti oxidants, so are good, but again blended with a protein, or fat to balance the release of sugar. This once again, is just an opinion which I find generally works for people and I would adapt for each person the advice. I also find for women, during hormonal times, even if training is reduced, a little amount of carbs in each meal helps to boost energy and stabilise mood, combined with proteins, sleep and movement. If you are training for an event or competition, think about the timing of eating your carbs so they are used as a fuel source and to recover well, rather than just eating them as a habit. Happy to go more in depth for specific goals if you would like J
Recently I have completed my training with DNA Fitness and Nutrition, and personally have found it to be amazing, as it tailors your diet and training to your DNA. I have seen amazing results both personally and with my clients, because it is specific to them. So for me, it’s been a really exciting addition as a Coach to train my clients specifically. It’s quite expensive, but it’s a one off test, so if you are really keen to see what works best for you, I would recommend this.
Q: Does eating at certain times during the day have an impact on your body? For example, at night?
A: Yes, fuelling your body for your day is key. The most preferred method is either eating little and often, 4-6 times a day, or eating 3 times a day. I find that different people respond best to one way, or the other, and this can change with age. What is important is to fuel the body with some energy sources in the morning, a carbohydrate or fat and protein blend, with good hydration. This could be oats, protein, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, and berries, or eggs and avocado on buckwheat breads. Lunch a blend of a super salad packed full of colours, protein with chicken or fish, seeds, and extra quinoa for energy through the afternoon. In the evening, steak, tofu, swordfish and loads of veggies, spices and herbs is a brilliant recovery, with some sweet potato chips or mixed beans. Drinking green or matcha tea, first thing, lots of water with lemon and ginger through the day, and then camomile in the evening, will help keep your energy up. Generally eating more protein in the evening, and more complex carbs in the morning is the advice to start with. Then by keeping a mood and food diary, you can start to become your own food detective and work out which areas to tweak each week to feel good. Remember, food is great and is there to help you feel and look good, boost your energy and enjoy socially. I always try to help clients think of the choices as positive and exciting rather than limiting and restrictive. And remember, if you get your day to day sorted, whatever you fancy every now and then is totally fine…. Listen to your body and let me know how you go.
Q: Is detoxing and juice cleanses bad for you?
A: I don’t think they are necessarily bad for you, I just think is it helpful for you and your lifestyle right now? Sometimes people do a juice or detox, but then go straight back to their old unhealthy habits. I believe tweaking your diet so you are continually feeling better is the best start and more manageable. Yet, some sugar detoxes, diary or refined carbs detox can be so powerful at boosting your energy, improving many conditions and enhancing your mood so they really are worth it. Juice diets can be good, but it depends on your training, fitness and life goals at the same time. It’s important to look after yourself when you are doing a detox, so make sure you have a plan, time and a plan for the week after the detox so you know what you are going to do. I would also ask, what’s your main aim for the detox and what do you want to look and feel like in a month? If the detox fits, give it a go… if not, try tweaking some little things and you may be surprised by the changes.
Q: What is a “healthy diet”?
A: To me a healthy diet is one that makes you feel and look good, for you. One that allows you to do what you want to do in life, fitness and work. It’s a diet that your skin glows, eyes sparkle, digestion works, hormones are balanced and sleep is good…. Sounds good hey! So for me, it’s a balance of loads of fresh food, as local as you can get, lots of colour, organic meat (if you can afford, or the best quality you can get), a balance of carbs, proteins and fats, lots of greens, water, herbs and spices. It’s about awareness and becoming your own food detective, and each year tweaking your nutrition, portion sizes and planning to fit your goals. It’s about creating a little time to try new recipes, try a different veggie, enjoy a meal with friends or family and learning about how you can find other solutions to eating, when you ‘not’ eating what you want or feeling how you want. It’s a process which takes time to a healthy diet and in the end, it should make you happy, and feel good, inside and out, fitting with your goals & life. Enjoy taking tiny steps, consistently for 6 weeks and see how you feel… write it down, don’t be cross if you ‘get it wrong’ just work out a plan for next time and enjoy the process. Huge support and here for any questions.
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