Building Your Nutrition

Avoiding the ‘Burn Down’ Effect

My friend Mike Doehla told a story the other day on social media – 

“I met a carpenter recently who told me about a weird habit. He said he’ll spend all week building a house, and on weekends, he’ll sneak back to the job site and light it on fire.
On Monday, he’s upset he has to clean up the mess and start over, but he can’t shake the habit. Sounds a lot like how some people treat their nutrition.” 

Mike is a great guy and has helped a lot of people improve their nutrition and the quality of their life because of it. He’s a good guy to listen to.  You don’t have to be perfect, but don’t burn the house down. 

The longer you’ve spent working on the house, the more stable and resilient the structure will be. A little fire damage isn’t going to be all that visible and though it will need repairs, it won’t ruin the whole thing. If you’re just starting on your journey, your house isn’t as stable. Maybe it’s not fully framed yet – damage from a fire is going to be worse. 

Nutrition is simple – but it’s not always easy to do the right thing. Companies spend millions of dollars researching and developing foods that are addictive. They win when more people burn the house down. 

Keeping things simple and making it easier to eat for your goals is essential for your success. 

Calories matter – if you want to lose weight, there has to be a way to manage your calories. You can track calories, count macros, intermittent fast, or eliminate certain foods. Every diet out there does one or more of these things to limit calories. No matter what you do, it should be something you can always do.

Here are 3 tips to help you limit your calories

  • Protein – Lean protein sources are best, meaning they aren’t going to have a lot of calories from fats. A good rule of thumb for a Protein source is they have at least 10 grams of protein for every 100 calories. Yes, peanut butter has protein in it, but only 4 grams in 100 calories. 100 grams of protein from peanut butter, would include  2500 calories… 
  • Lots of Fruits and Vegetables – bananas are considered to have a lot of calories for a fruit, but the average banana only has 100 calories. It’s hard to imagine eating multiple bananas in one sitting. Fruits and vegetables are great to fill up on because they don’t have a lot of calories and they have lots of fiber and other nutrients to help you feel great. If anyone tells you that fruits or vegetables will make you fat or are bad for you, stop talking to that person immediately.
  • Limit Snacking – You’ve probably heard that to “stoke your metabolism” you need to eat every hour… this advice is outdated and just not true. If you focus on getting the things you need at your meals, eating 3 times a day is enough. Being hungry is not an emergency. It can be uncomfortable, but it is not an emergency. If meals have a good source of protein, fruits and veggies you should feel fuller longer. If you’re hungry within an hour of eating, you may need to eat a little bit more. If you do need a snack, try to keep it to lean proteins as described above aiming for at least 10 grams of protein per 100 calories, or fruits and veggies. A chicken breast has 18 grams of protein per 100 calories. 100 grams of protein from chicken breast is only 555 calories.

If you work hard in the gym, you want to see progress. The effort is great, but without consistent nutrition the results won’t come as fast. Focus on setting yourself up for success eating lean sources of protein, fruits and vegetables in your meals, and limit your snacking. You work too hard to burn your house down every weekend