There are several pieces that make-up a healthy lifestyle: exercise, nutrition, sleep, self-care/stress management, social support, education, etc. But the two main components are exercise and nutrition.
Even though exercise is important for many reasons, you can exercise to the moon and back but still be overweight or obese because of eating a poor diet. Or you could be of a weight you are happy with and exercise but still be unhealthy because of a poor diet. Exercise itself doesn't lead to weight loss long-term.
Of course, exercise does have many wonderful health benefits! Regular exercise reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and some cancers by at least 30%.
In the last 30 years the percentage of people who exercise regularly has stayed about the same, while the percentage of individuals that are overweight and obese have skyrocketed. Clearly there is something else going on here. It’s the food that we eat!
What else has happened in the last 30 years? The number of processed foods have increased dramatically. These processed foods are full of sugar, artificial dyes, preservatives, and other chemicals.
If you are trying to lose weight, exercise alone will not be enough. Exercise is what sustains weight loss, but a supportive nutrition plan is what drives it.
3 things you can do to optimize your nutrition and support your training:
1. Eat protein with each meal. Women want to aim for 1 palm size portion (20-30 grams) and males 2 palm size portions (40-60 grams) with each meal. Protein is made up of amino acids that are the building blocks for muscle. YOU MUST EAT PROTEIN!
2. Eat 1-2 servings of non-starchy vegetables with each meal. Non-starchy vegetables are high in fibre and packed with nutrients to support your body in many ways.
3. Limit processed food. Try to cook from scratch when you can and avoid foods that have gone through multiple process to be made.
You can’t fuel your body with 'junk' and expect it to perform. Just like you wouldn’t expect your car to run without proper fuel. Processed carbohydrates, sugar, or soda only give you a sugar high. They do not give your body the building blocks that it needs to perform in the gym or life.