Ashley Wise's Health and Fitness Tips
5 Nutrition Habits to Implement Now
*The following post is meant for educational purposes only and is not meant to advise, diagnose, or treat any medical condition. This information is not meant to replace any medical advice or relationship with a licensed medical professional.*
1. Give your body a 12 hour fast every day.
Following the no-eating 2 hours before bed rule is a great step towards giving our body proper rest, but implementing a 12-hour overnight fast warrants a well-deserved break for your digestive system. A vast majority of our immune system is in our gut and there is a strong relationship between the digestive system and gut health. Between drinking and eating most of us keep our digestive system working from sunrise to sunset, with maybe a consistent 6-8 hour break between last meal, sleep time, and breakfast. Think of how you would feel and operate if you had to work 16 - 18 hours a day. Pretty crappy (pun-intended). Implementing a 12-hour overnight fast also allows you to customize meal timing based off of your scheduling needs. Although not ideal, if due to your schedule you eat dinner at 9 pm and crawl into bed at 10 pm, you then would eat breakfast at 9 am or after. No beating yourself up for missing the 2 hour rule or eating right before bed because you're still giving your digestive system its deserved break. Ideally, you are getting 7 - 9 hours of sleep each evening, leaving just 3-5 hours of fasting to be accounted for. For simplicity sake (and perhaps wishful thinking), let's assume you're getting 8 hours of sleep each evening. You consume your last meal 2 hours prior to bed, sleep for 8 hours, and have 2 hours accounted for in the morning - imaginably getting in some form of physical activity, followed by getting ready for the day before eating breakfast. This may take some trial and error, and like most routines in life, will require flexibility from time to time. But in the end this will be one habit your body will thank you for in the long run.
2. Drink a large glass of water first thing in the morning
The first thing you put in your body sets the tone for the rest of the day. Drinking a large glass of water first thing in the morning gets your metabolism started off on the right foot; promoting proper bowel movements, steady blood sugar levels and doesn't have you relying on caffeine to get you going. Add a splash of fresh lemon and boost the cleansing power of your H2O.
3. Eat a protein rich, high[er] fat break-fast
Whether you're breaking your fast at 6 in the morning or 6 at night, similar to drinking water first thing in the morning, the first thing you eat will set the tone for whether you're on a blood sugar roller coaster or a steady ride all day. Traditional breakfasts consisting of cereal, toast, and orange juice set you up to be hungry, or more likely hangry (so hungry your angry), every 2-3 hours for the rest of the day. Carbohydrate based foods such as cereal, toast, muffins, fruit, granola bars, pastries, waffles, pancakes, juices, decadent coffee drinks, etc. all break down into sugar and leave your energy levels low and looking for a boost 2 -3 hours later. Opting for a protein rich, high[er[ fat breakfast such as eggs with a side of meat, a few slices of avocado and a cup of black coffee will leave you energized and focused for closer to 4-6 hours. Eliminating the need for a mid-morning snack and providing more stable blood sugars the rest of the day.
4. Limit fruit intake to 1-2 servings per day
Instead of saying the daily recommendation of vegetable and fruit intake is 9-11 serving, it should really say that the daily recommendation is 7-9 servings of vegetables and 1-2 servings of fruit. People often lean towards eating more fruit than vegetables because of their sweet palate, making it easy to eat closer to 7-9 fruit servings and 1-2 vegetable servings, which can drastically increase a person's sugar intake. Yes, fruit is healthy for us, and yes, eating fruit as something sweet is a more nutritious choice than a candy bar or ice cream, but in this case - there can be too much of a good thing.
5. Match your coffee/caffeine intake 1:1
Just as starting your day with a glass of water can help combat the need for coffee or a caffeine drink right away in the morning, drinking a glass of water for every caffeinated beverage that you drink can help ensure you're not cramming your water intake in all at once, or worse, missing it all together. It's easy for people to start their day with a cup of Jo and sip it all the way through the afternoon, especially with the amount of companies that keep an endless flow available in the breakroom free of charge for all employees. Start your day with a large glass of water and alternate every other cup of coffee for cup of water. You might not only discover a little coffee addiction you never knew you had, but realize how awesome a little more water in your day can actually make you feel.
Ashley Wise, M.S. Human Movement
CPT, Certified Nutrition Coach