I know every exercise professional says this, over and over and over again but we say it because it really is true. Research has backed it up, but most people aren't interested in research as much as true life proof. I have always eaten more on the healthy side. Don't get me wrong, I like cookies and going out to eat for a special occasion but I've always also been a fan of portion control and exercise too. Well, last week I got a thigh tattoo that goes from the top of my hip to the top third of my thigh and wearing pants was a struggle, let alone walking and running. I knew I would have to take a few days off from the gym to let it heal properly and I was ok with that; I had really pushed myself the week before and was looking forward to giving my body a few solid recovery days. Well, it ended up being over a week before I got back into the gym. I lost 2 pounds in that week. How?? Healthy eating! When I refer to the word "diet", I don't mean the most recent fad, I mean it as my eating habits as a whole. I didn't starve myself or live off celery, I just took into consideration that I didn't need as many calories as I usually would. I wasn't fueling any workouts or needing the extra protein to recover. I ate generally the same as I always have with just a bit more thinking when it came to choosing meals and snacks. If this isn't proof that diet matters, I don't know what does.
A lot of people think I work out, I can eat what I want. NO! Eat to live, don't live to eat. Because you workout, you need to eat what your body needs to fuel and repair your body. I'm not saying deprive yourself, or be miserable, but be smart! I've already written blogs on food and diet and ideas of how to eat healthier and portion control and how to break a sugar addiction so I'm not going into all of that again, but it bears repeating that exercise isn't a fix all. You should exercise to stay healthy overall, not just "be skinny". Also, be conscientious of your calories and how many you burn at the gym or during your workout. Use a heart rate monitor to be sure of an accurate heart rate and calorie burn.... many foods have far more calories then you are going to be able to burn off. Remember, there are 3,500 calories in a pound, so you need a deficit of 500 calories a day to burn a pound a week. That deficit needs to come from calories burned at the gym but also avoiding empty calories.
For those of you who may think healthy eating doesn't really matter, I hope you realize that it does. I've been in a plateau for around 6 months now, my body is perfectly content not losing any more weight unless I really want to train insane, but with just diet control, I managed to lose an extra 2 pounds in a week. Be smart, you need to eat slightly more on days you work out, but you aren't eating for two or anything that crazy. You don't want to let yourself get to starving, but be smart about what you put in your body. Many people are busy and can't spend over an hour in the gym, 5 days a week and that is where your eating habits are going to make you or break you! Stick to clean eating as much as you can and don't eat when you're bored, keep portions reasonable and you'll be golden!