Nutrition is one of those topics people tend to overcomplicate and over think. Look at any “lifestyle” magazine and you’ll see conflicting advice from one page to the next, each piece more complicated than the last.
The funny thing is that people actually try to follow these ridiculous diets, and then are surprised when they see no change in their body composition (or worse – they go backwards!)
Nutrition for body composition is really quite simple, though, if you follow some basic guidelines.
A couple of days ago, Ryan shared an interview he did with Nate Miyaki, on his latest program, I-Feast, which is the epitome of nutrition simplification. The basic premise is to skip breakfast, eat a “paleo-esque” lunch, and finish your day with a large meal that includes starchy carbohydrates (mmmm… starchy goodness).
It may sound counterintuitive, since most “diet advice” out there recommends just the opposite. But Nate’s recommendations work. Just look at him and his wife for proof!
No matter what program you follow, however, there are some basic guidelines you should stick to if you want to improve your physique.
Here are our five best tips for improving your body composition:
1. Focus On Nutrition
Which is the enemy this week? Is it carbs? Fat? Too much protein causing cancer and kidney disease? Give it a rest.
Instead of focusing on eliminating food enemies, focus on adding in as much nutrient-rich food as possible. Eat foods with lots of color (emphasis on the word ‘food‘ – jelly beans don’t count).
Stop counting calories. Eat the food your body needs, and you’ll be just fine. Just don’t fool yourself about what constitutes food. Organic jelly beans are still jelly beans, and they’re still not good for you if that’s all you’re eating. Make sure you are fueling your body with real foods (you know, the ones that grow from the ground or once breathed).
2. To Drink Or Not To Drink?
It’s actually not much of a question.
We’re far from teetotalers, but we definitely believe that enjoying alcoholic drinks is a privilege - not a right.
I love a good drink as much as the next person, but if you are in any way unsatisfied with your body composition, you should avoid alcohol.
It’s okay to have a drink every once in a while, but that glass of wine you have every night with dinner probably isn’t a good idea. It may have some benefits for your heart (even that point is up for debate), but it certainly won’t help you fit into your skinny jeans.
3. Use Starches and Grains Strategically
I already mentioned that Nate Miyaki promotes eating starchy carbohydrates. What I didn’t mention is that he only promotes eating them at night, and only when the rest of your day is planned strategically.
Your body has a threshold for the amount of starch it can handle, and if you go over that threshold, it will have a negative impact on your physique.
Figuring out where that threshold is will be quite personal, and could take some time and experimentation to figure out exactly. But as long as you limit your starch consumption to the last part of the day, and avoid starches for the rest of the day, you should fall within a good window.
Starches and grains are not the only foods you should consume strategically. ALL foods fall under that category. You should not be living, breathing, sleeping, or eating mindlessly. Understand that every food or non-food (hey, I have my freezer fully stocked with ice cream for those must-have treats) we consume has an effect on us. Even if you treat yourself from time to time (which you should!) you should recognize that it’s a treat.
Don’t just eat it without thinking about how you structured your eating the rest of the day or week.
4. Avoid Fad Diets
Fad diets are NEVER successful. Sure, you could lose a few pounds if all you consume for 3 weeks is lemon juice and cayenne pepper, but all you’ll really be losing is water weight and dignity.
That weight will probably come right back, too, but there WILL be lasting effects from doing a fad diet. Your body will go into starvation mode and will store all the calories it can get in the form of – you guessed it – fat. Your physique will suffer and so will your health.
But I thought you guys believe in intermittent fasting? Won’t that make my body go into starvation mode too?
Intermittent fasting is not the same as long-term fasting (and consuming minimal calories and nutrients over a long period of time constitutes fasting). The body only goes into starvation mode after a prolonged period of time, somewhere between 60 and 96 hours. Fasting for 24 hours at a time won’t have this effect, but going on a crash diet for a week or two will.
5. Stop Snacking
Most people are completely unaware of, and therefore underestimate, the amount of food (or non-food) they take in when they snack throughout the day. The truth is, most people wildly underestimate the amount of food they take in at a meal, let alone when snacking on what may seem like just a few crackers, but is really 25 or 30 crackers.
To combat this problem, instead of snacking, eat real meals. If you follow Nate’s plan, skip breakfast, eat a fair amount of food for lunch, and a serious meal for dinner. If you eat real meals, you won’t feel the need to snack throughout the day.
You’ll also be able to keep better track of what you are eating over the course of the day. Instead of looking back and saying “I ate a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, and then I think I had some crackers and maybe a little cheese, and I’m pretty sure I had a handful of nuts at some point, etc.” you’ll have an easier time remembering what you’ve eaten since you’ll only be eating two meals a day.
For a more complete GMB guide to nutrition, click here.
Hell, it may not even work for the same person at a different time in their lives.