We gave you the outline last week, and we’re holding true to our word. Over the next three weeks we will be sharing with you how to maximize your wellbeing and success by addressing YOU. As we’re kicking off today’s article on nutrition and insulin sensitivity, we will begin by discussing the mindset of nutrition versus diet. If you want to work like a pro, you’ve got to eat like a pro.
“Diet” Versus “Nutrition Plan”
Top performing athletes don’t treat their bodies like high-performing garbage cans, and if you’re looking to attain success in any facet of life, that’s not how you should be treating your body either.
Nearly every successful person has a structured, repeatable nutrition plan each day, based on not only their health goals but how they want to feel and perform. Notice we use the phrase “nutrition plan,” not “diet.” Diet has a connotation of lack, whereas a nutrition plan belies itself to a degree of performance. Nobody wants to go on a diet, after all.
Long story short, you are what you eat. And if you want to run like a Formula One car, you’re not gonna be jamming Twinkies down your gas tank.
Your First and Foremost Goal: Insulin Sensitivity
Quite frankly, maintaining proper blood sugar levels is not a problem for only diabetics to worry about.
A critical element of high energy and performance levels revolves around properly maintaining your blood sugar levels.
By appropriately managing your blood sugar levels (e.g. not letting them get too high), you’ll be promoting and maintaining excellent insulin sensitivity. The more insulin-sensitive you are, the more likely your food-based nutrients will be used for energy, rather than stored as fat.
Maintaining and/or promoting insulin sensitivity should be your first and foremost goal in any nutrition program. It’s guaranteed to promote high energy levels, fat loss, and reduced internal inflammation. More on that last bit later…
The reason why your traditional ‘clean eating’ program seems to be solely comprised of chicken and broccoli, is because lean proteins and cruciferous vegetables are some of the most glycemic-ly friendly foods on the market.
Now onto that inflammation piece.
As we continue to make advances in nutrition, medicine, and the human body, we are learning that chronic inflammation is the largest threat we as a society face. More and more information points us to the fact chronic inflammation plays a critical role in bring about diseases such as (but not limited to):
- Crohn’s Disease
- Metabolic diseases
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
The beauty of chronic inflammation is that it does not care how young or old you are—it is more than happy to share any of these diseases with you at any point in your life. Exciting, right?!
This is why proper nutrition and the promotion of insulin sensitivity is so critical. By pursuing a nutrition program that improves insulin sensitivity, you are guaranteeing that it is also a program that is combating chronic inflammation.
Proper nutrition is starting to sound like more and more of a no-brainer, right?
Nutrition serves a purpose which goes beyond just the physiological conditions of the body. By eating well and in the right amounts, you will also be ensuring your psychological health and a positive mood, allowing you to experience the productivity and success you are looking to get out of life.
One of the most important books you could ever do yourself the favor of reading, the UltraMind Solution, has a quote which perfectly encapsulates this: “To fix your broken brain, you must heal your body first.” Your mental effectiveness is intimately tied to your nutrition. Your mind will only function as well as your eating allows.
Your body is all one system. In fact, if you look at the layout of your nervous system, it resembles the roots of a plant. The nutrients in your food are taken and soaked up by your body, including your brain. Garbage in, garbage out.
On top of this, it’s a fairly easy assumption to make that if you look good and feel well you’ll be able to operate at a level that is higher than most. Because of this, your health, productivity, and success will skyrocket. You will be able to serve as a shining example to everyone around you.
Keep it Simple, Stupid
If your nutrition program is more complex than a Fibonacci sequence on the tenth installment of the Da Vinci Code directed by Nicolas Cage and M. Night Shyamalan, it’s probably not something that’s very sustainable. If it’s not sustainable, you will not follow through with it. Good nutrition does not need to be difficult, nor does it need to be complex.
A good plan needs to be simple, manageable, and work for you—rather than you working for it. Unless you have the luxury of having a trust-funded lifestyle, the likelihood of having unlimited time to prepare food or having said food prepared for you is slim to none.
Make wise choices when it comes to on-the-go options, have larger meals revolve around easy-to-cook foods, or cook foods that don’t require close attention (e.g. crockpot). These are all great examples of having your food work for you.
Provided it’s healthy and easy, it fits the bill just fine.
As with all things related to bettering yourself, it’s one thing to read about and have intent to follow through with, but another to actually do it. Proper and good nutrition is a thorn in the side of many. If this is something that you’re struggling with, know that you’re not alone.
Now that we have covered the basics of what proper nutrition is, you are well on your way to making much better food-based decisions that will benefit every aspect of your life.
If not, you can always just follow one of BodyBuilding.com’s 100%-supplement diets. Perfectly reasonable, right?