Importance of Nutrition
The importance of nutrition at halftime is vital as obesity statistics are rising, heart disease and many other health issues will only escalate with age. How do we protect ourselves and live our best years during our second half?
In this article, we will approach the importance of nutrition with some basic principles that are easy and logical. If you haven’t noticed, it’s harder to break down fat the older you get. We will all tend to carry excess body weight, especially in the abdomen and glute areas as we get older. Food plays an important part in this. I will encourage you to put together your own plan!
Benefits of Nutrition
With a good nutritional plan, you will feel better, be in more control of your life, have more energy and even prevent osteoporosis. We all know the body will eventually wear out, but good nutrition, combined with exercise, will help you recover from injuries and illness faster. It will also help you live a better life with more energy and vitality.
According to the CDC, obesity statistics have incrementally grown, 42.4% in 2017-18 for both men and women.* A body mass index (BMI) over 25 is considered overweight. Over 30 is obese. Your BMI measures your weight compared to your height. Athletes tend to carry more muscle than most, so their BMI will usually be higher than normal. This is why I can’t compare my BMI with my former-pro-athlete husband! But everyone should keep track of what is normal for their body.
We will cover three areas in this article. One: Evaluate where you are; Two: Put together a realistic plan and Three: Evaluate your progress regularly.
One: Evaluate Where You Are
It is important to get a realistic view of where you are physically and nutritionally. If you are facing a lack of energy, especially mid-day, evaluate what you are eating and how that may be affecting your blood sugar. Something I noticed was if I ate sugar, such as chocolate, after I had lunch, I would tend to get that sugar-drop, needing a nap. I have revised my eating, depending on what I’m working on.
Also, fess up to your real weight. I have definitely blamed a five-pound swing on water-weight, but when it doesn’t come off for a week, I have to admit I’ve gained weight! I’m not a believer in getting on the scale every day, but do get on often enough to watch the calories and my food intake. Make sure you get your free Nutritional Timing charts because they will help you in what to eat, when! (Nutritional Timing Charts) Late-night carbs will put on weight, especially if you aren’t in your teens, twenties or even thirties!
Two: Put Together a Realistic Plan
Food is fuel and can also act as prevention for disease in many ways. A Mediterranean Diet with fresh fruits and vegetables is low in sugar, high in antioxidants. Many studies document the value of a healthy diet in fighting cancer, lowering blood pressure and even slowing the onset of osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Ingesting the right kinds of food that will work harder at breaking down fat and lower your chances of heart disease and obesity is possible and not all that difficult if you put together a plan that will work for you. Every body is different and you will know the most about your metabolism. Many studies document the importance of breakfast. You are literally breaking a fast from the night before. Eat at least a small portion of protein, carbs and good fats in the morning. (more info here about simple & complex carbs)
If you are looking at losing a few pounds, watch what you eat after three or four in the afternoon. You will increase your chances of keeping your weight steady or even losing weight if you cut out most carbs after that time. Concentrate on eating protein and vegetables for your dinner. Retaining muscle gets more difficult as we (gracefully!) grow older. Eating or drinking a protein drink after working out, especially with resistance training, will build muscle and shed fat more easily. For info on resistance training, look at The Importance of Exercise at Halftime.
Three: Evaluate Your Progress Regularly
Be aware of symptoms and any warning signs of heart disease or weight gain that borders on obesity. Women aged 45-64 have a higher risk of musculoskeletal disorders, including carpal tunnel, arthritis and bone fractures. Omega-3 fatty acids and calcium work naturally to keep bones strong. Keep a food diary if you can’t remember when you last ate broccoli!
Risk of breast cancer increases between ages 65 and 84.** Adding green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, legumes, while decreasing unhealthy fats, isn’t a magic bullet, but can decrease the chance and recurrence of breast cancer.***
Carbs vs. Calorie Counting
Evaluating your eating habits will help you change them if needed. Eat most of your carbs in the morning, then increase your protein and vegetables in the afternoon and evening. Be aware of buried carbs. A normal beer has 13 carbs. If you ingest a few after work, those carbs add up quickly! A light beer will have half that many carbs.
Each slice of pizza has a whopping 36 carbs! Not a good bedtime snack! A taco is much less at 14 carbs, but that will depend what is inside the shell and how many you eat! I prefer to count carbs and adhere to nutritional timing for dieting. Then it doesn’t really feel like a diet. It feels like healthy eating. However, when I have that handful of nuts, then another, I do have to realize those are good, healthy calories, but they are still a lot of calories and calories still count!
Think about eating for your health, not just for dieting. I’m a strong believer in being proactive in both life and business. If you are eating to feel better, look better and leading a more energetic and healthy second half of life, that mindset will aid you in making healthy, smart choices to stay fit for life!
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