I always find myself talking about nutrition with my clients, whether they want to or not, because it is the very cornerstone of being able to work out successfully.  Many refuse to think of food as a fuel that allows you to function during your day, but that is exactly what food is.  You eat and your body processes food so that you can (or can’t) stay active.  Now, I understand that very few people can break down the act of eating to something so mundane, and I completely understand why that is.  We grow up having fond memories of certain family dinners, we met our loved ones over dinner and a movie and the whole aspect of a cheat meal is so that you can enjoy a good restaurant without fear of guilt.  I never try to change people’s minds (although one can hope!) but I continually educate about what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat.

Recently, the fad of low or no-carb diets has shown some incredible body transformations, but unfortunately it is, for most people, a quick fix and something incredibly hard to maintain.  Once going off this diet, the weight gain comes back in a hurry.  This is because your body seriously needs carbohydrates.  Your energy level, daily mood and brain function all rely so much on the intake of the right kind of carbs each day.  Also, when you eat carbohydrates matters too.  Having proportionately more in the morning fuels you for the day but having a load of carbohydrates late at night starts creating energy right before you go to sleep, which you don’t need.  Eat ‘em when you can burn ‘em! A major lesson here is not necessarily when you eat but what you eat when you do.  Having a big serving of rice and chicken at 10 o’clock is much worse than having Brussels sprouts and chicken at 10 o’clock.  It’s the difference between complex and simple carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates will break down into energy much faster than complex carbohydrates among other things.  Howtothinkthin.com says it like this; “Complex carbohydrates are high-fiber foods, which improve your digestion. They help stabilize the blood sugar, keep your energy at an even level, and help you feel satisfied longer after your meal.” and go on to say; “In contrast, sugar and other simple carbohydrates can alter your mood, lead to cravings and compulsive eating, cause wide swings in your blood-sugar levels, and cause weight gain in most people.”  Which would you rather just before bedtime? Or think of it another way, which foods would you rather give your child just before trying to create a relaxing atmosphere for bedtime?

Your body needs carbs, don’t starve it! Here is a list of each type of carbohydrate, make a decision based on both time of day and how healthy of a lifestyle you want to live.

For evening eating, stick to these complex carbohydrates:

  • Spinach
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower (chopped up – like rice / processed – like mashed potatoes)
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Kale
  • Eggplant
  • Quinoa

For earlier in the day, these wonderful complex carbohydrates are great to have:

  • Apples
  • Oatmeal
  • Brown Rice
  • Lentils
  • Yams
  • Berries
  • Ezekiel Bread
  • Whole Wheat English Muffin