Food is Fuel: Learning to Treat Your Body Right

12 Minute Athlete

There’s no question that what you eat has a huge impact on your day to day life, your energy levels, and how ready you feel to crush your workouts.

While diet and fitness magazines often portray food as the enemy—i.e. the less you eat, the leaner, sexier, smarter, etc. you will be—I 100% believe that this is the wrong way to think of food.

Instead, I want you to think of food in a different way: as fuel for your body.

If you eat high quality, nutrient-packed foods, you’re going to feel your best and be able to get through your day to day activities and workouts feeling like a rockstar.

If you eat highly processed foods loaded with sugar, unhealthy fats, and few nutrients, you’re most likely feel sluggish, unmotivated, fuzzy headed, and at some point during the day, just plain crash.

The more you learn to listen to your body and treat it right with healthy foods, the more you’ll actually crave eating healthy most of the time.

Learning to Listen to Your Body

Next time you have a meal, try and pay attention to how you feel both immediately after you eat, and a couple of hours later.

Do you feel full of energy, clear headed, and ready to conquer the rest of your day? Those are signs that whatever you ate works well for you. Keep doing what you’re doing.

If you feel slightly sick afterwards, or crash (either immediately or an hour or two later), I probably don’t have to tell you that those are clear signs your body is telling you to eat better.

It takes some experimenting, since we’re all unique and there’s simply no one way of eating that works for everyone. But ultimately if you learn to listen to your body, you’ll learn how to fuel it right.

Eat Your Vegetables

If you want to fuel your body right for your workouts and your life, you really can’t afford to avoid eating your vegetables.

Vegetables are really the closest thing to nature’s miracle food. They’re packed with nutrients and vitamins, but are also low in calories so you really can eat as many of them a day as you want.

Including a variety of vegetables in your daily diet can help reduce inflammation, help fill you up at mealtime (and keep you feeling full), aid in healthy digestion, give you a ton of energy, and so much more. If you’re someone who cares about your health at all, you should making an effort to eat two to three cups of vegetables a day at a minimum.

If you think you don’t like vegetables, you most likely just haven’t tried them in a way that works for you. Try adding them to salads, smoothies, stir fries, roasting them, baking them, sneaking them into healthy baked goods, adding them to omelettes… you get the idea.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works for you and your lifestyle! Your body will thank you for it.

Healthy Food Doesn’t Have to be Boring

Yes, I am encouraging you to eat healthy – most of the time (think 80/20 rule). But that doesn’t mean you should resign to eating chicken, rice, and broccoli every meal for the rest of your life.

There are so many ways to make healthy food taste good. Once you discover some healthy foods you actually like, you’ll crave them not only because you feel great when you eat them, but because they actually taste good.

Adding flavor to foods with garlic, basil, peppers, flavorful cheeses, and spices can make even the most simple foods taste incredible. If you like to cook, start experimenting with different flavors and sauces to add variety to your meals.

And if you don’t like to cook (I hear you), the good news is that there are so many more healthy options available now than there used to be.

You can easily find a healthy, veggie-packed bowl, salad, burrito, or stir fry out and about these days. Just be aware that sometimes foods labeled ‘healthy’ actually pack a lot of calories, and keep an eye out for overly heavy dressings, candied items, or added sugars when you’re looking for something healthy on the go.

Whether you eat at home more often or eat out, variety is key—not only will mixing up your foods help you from getting bored at mealtime, it will also ensure your body is getting a diverse selection of nutrients from different sources.

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