Extreme Newsletter—Diet and fitness tips, recipes, and motivation

Issue #026 04/28/10 TIME TO EAT!

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Is It Time to Eat?

By Mark Nelson

It probably is. Because if you're like many people, you don't eat often enough. According to Turbo Jam® trainer Chalene Johnson, you should eat at least five times a day. That includes three meals and two snacks. So why eat so often?

Fork, Clock, Knife, Spoon

It helps prevent your body from storing fat.

I kid you not. Our bodies are actually programmed to store fat, and this trait has helped us humans keep going over the eons. At many stages during our existence, it was critical to our survival. If you look back in time with me, I'll show you why.

Picture yourself wearing an animal skin or a scratchy woolen toga, a few smears of mud and no hair product. (Don't feel bad—no one else looked good, either.) If you look in your hand, you'll see that you're carrying a spear that you made yourself. The reason you made the spear is that you're hungry.

If you throw well, you eat. If you miss, you don't. So being able to store energy in the form of fat will hopefully sustain you until your throwing improves.

This same survival tool remains part of our makeup today.

So the best way to avoid slipping into this fat-storing mode is keep your metabolism going with small meals and snacks. Eating frequently prompts your body to keep working efficiently and burning the calories.

And if that weren't enough by itself, there's another good reason to avoid long waits between meals.

Eating regularly tames wild cravings.

By eating smaller meals on a regular schedule, you'll help your body work comfortably on fewer calories, and stay in an energy–burning (i.e., fat-burning) mode. This will help you feel more energetic, and keep your blood sugar stable, which will reduce carb cravings before your next meal.


Small Portion

Now let's say you need even more help controlling your cravings for the wrong stuff. What do you do?

Start your day with the right stuff.

Chances are you don't eat in your sleep. So when you wake up, your cells are ready to absorb essential nutrients, and in particular protein.

Throughout the night, your body uses excess or circulating proteins to replenish your muscles, hair, skin, and nails. In addition, your body uses proteins to create millions of antibodies for defense against bacteria, which often attack while you sleep. That's why eating a healthy breakfast packed with protein is good for you.

Starting your day with eggs, nonfat cottage cheese, a P90X® Peak Performance Protein Bar, or a Shakeology® shake can help you get a healthy serving of the protein and nutrients you need.

A good rule of thumb for the timing of this meal is within an hour of waking up. If that's not possible, have a meal or snack as early as possible to get your metabolism revving.

So what about the rest of your day?

Lift weights, then lift plates.

Woman Lifting Plate and WeightAnother smart time to eat is about 30 to 45 minutes after a workout. At this time, the enzymes responsible for energy production are in high gear and the energy-storing hormones within our blood are suppressed.

This means less energy will be stored as fat. Carbs will be immediately taken up to replenish the low glycogen stores caused by exercising. Protein will be used for the recovery and growth of new calorie-burning muscle tissue. And the best news is, your body will burn most of the nutrients from the meal to fuel these reactions. That's why eating after a workout is a good idea.

Having protein late in the day, for perhaps your last meal or snack, will also provide your body with the protein it will use overnight to revitalize your muscle, hair, nails, and antibodies.

Of course, remember portion size. If you're not sure how much that might be, use the palm of your hand as a guideline. It's a good trick, since you probably have your hands with you.

Like most things in life, timing is everything. So when you're trying to drop pounds, don't just think about what you eat—think about when. This will enable you to get more nutrients from fewer calories. Of course, the fewer calories you eat, the easier it is to lose weight. So eat right—on time, and on schedule.

Related Articles
"5 Simple Rules for Eating Sugar"
"Eating for Great Abs"
"14 Ways to Follow the P90X Nutrition Plan on the Road"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development, who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards, Steve Edwards, on Thursday, May 6th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chat Room!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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4 Diet Pitfalls—and How to Avoid Them

By Shaun T, Creator of INSANITY

Oh, sure, everyone always says to me, "Shaun, I swear, I eat very healthfully. I have a clean diet." But when people are experiencing "stubborn pounds" that won't budge off their bodies, I see uncertainty and fear in their eyes when I say, "I bet there's a common eating habit that's undermining your hard work."

Shaun T Eating a Burger

Oh, yeah. It's human nature to be less than honest with ourselves about where we're cheating on our nutritional plan. We work out and have the best of intentions for our daily menu, but end up falling short of our goals for balanced nutrition for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common pitfalls can be avoided simply by being aware of them:

  1. Stress eating. Hey, I readily admit that food is comforting—especially comfort food. You know: the mac and cheese, meatloaf with buttery mashed potatoes, an entire pint of butter pecan ice cream . . . enough said. But there are so many better ways to beat stress than eating yourself into a stupor.

    Do this instead: My favorite is to get out . . . literally take a walk. Get into your body— forget the snacks, get some air deep into your lungs, clear your head, feel your blood pumping, and stretch your legs out. It won't take but a few minutes for you to reap big benefits from a brisk walk . . . away from the vending machine. Or if it's raining, put on some great music and dance—that works too!
  2. Animals GrazingGrazing. Many people have a complete lack of structure to their daily meals—and actually never stop nibbling all day long. From bits of bagels and a bite of donut in the morning all the way through to chips in front of the TV for late-night channel surfing. Grazers have absolutely no set meal times, and end up shutting down their body's natural calorie-burning cycle through the constant onslaught of fat and calories.

    Do this instead: Of course, avoid the bad stuff. Instead of vending-machine junk and food with low nutritional value, pack healthy snacks for nibbling. And make time for balanced meals that'll satisfy your appetite so you won't be reaching for whatever's near.
  3. Unconscious eating. Eating without paying attention to what you're doing, or without even realizing that you're consuming calories.

    Do this instead: Keeping a food journal is the best way I know to determine whether you have unconscious eating tendencies. One of my clients confessed that while keeping her journal, she would catch herself working at her desk and suddenly realize that she needed to jot down in her journal the cookie she'd just eaten at a coworker's desk. They'd offered her a homemade cookie and she'd eaten it without even thinking about it—much less factoring it into her daily planned food intake. Cha-CHING! Those 200 sweet calories needed to be added to her daily tally in her food journal to get an accurate picture of what she was eating.
  4. Super-Sized HamburgerDouble portions. It's not just restaurants that are offering us bigger portions to show us the value of their meals; it's loved ones and friends and we ourselves who proudly serve up much more than our bodies need for fuel at meals—on a regular basis. It's because we're showing love through the food and would feel stingy if the plate had less on it. The sad fact is that "normal" portions in the U.S. aren't just a fraction more food than needed for a balanced meal—it's like double, which is way in excess of what your body requires, and way more than you can burn in your daily workout!

    Do this instead: Ask yourself, do twenty bites of a huge sandwich really taste that much better than ten? How do those ten extra bites taste when you know you can't burn them off that day and at least half that sandwich is going to turn into those "stubborn" pounds? Stick with sane portions; listen to your body. Yes, these are four common pitfalls, too common—but that doesn't make them any less devastating to our fitness results and our ultimate health (and don't forget our mental image). Be aware of where you might be defeating yourself and take some time to form a personal plan to help you avoid these pitfalls on a daily basis.
  5. Peace out,
Shaun T

Related Articles
"6 Foods with Hidden Sugar"
"Staying Fit While Traveling: Leave Jet Lag Behind"
"Shaun T's Diamond Jump"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development, who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards, Steve Edwards, on Thursday, May 6th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chat Room!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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INSANITY® Behind the Scenes

Check out how Shaun T and his crew dug deep to bring the most challenging Max Interval Training workout ever to DVD! Click below to watch the video.

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Recipe: Oven-Fried Fish

Oven-Fried Fish

Most fish is high in protein and low in fat, making it an important part of your healthy eating plan, especially while you're tackling a challenging exercise program like P90X or INSANITY. Here's a tasty recipe recommended by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute that has all the crunch of fried fish with practically none of the fat!

  • 2 lbs. fish fillets
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup nonfat milk or 1% buttermilk
  • 2 drops hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tsp. fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 cup cornflakes, crumbled (or breadcrumbs)
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 fresh lemon, cut in 6 wedges
  • Shallow baking dish
  • Shallow bowl
  • Dinner plate

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Lightly oil shallow baking dish with vegetable oil. Rub fillets with lemon juice, then pat dry. Combine hot pepper sauce, garlic, and milk or buttermilk in shallow bowl. Stir together pepper, salt, onion powder, and cornflakes or breadcrumbs on dinner plate. Place fillets in milk mixture and allow to stand briefly. Remove fillets from milk mixture and coat both sides well with seasoned crumbs. Arrange on baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes on middle rack without turning. Cut into 6 pieces and serve each with a fresh lemon wedge. Serves 6. Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
183 30 g 1 g 10 g 2 g < 1 g

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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