Eating Matters

Is pork chop and applesauce okay?

This is the funniest and most frustrating question I have ever heard from a client. I'm not sure if I have ever heard someone consider that a complete meal before, and I was completely baffled. The week prior, her homework was to implement one vegetable (preferably green) in her dinner. She came back to her next session with the idea of pork chops and applesauce. Unfortunately, applesauce isn't a vegetable. It hardly even counts as a fruit.

Instead of harboring on why she chose applesauce in response to my veggie request, let's look into why I wanted her to start implementing vegetables in her meals. The obvious answer is "because to be healthy, you can only eat things that taste like cardboard." Well… no, not at all. In my opinion, we focus too much on counting calories and not enough on getting the necessary vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, etc. Now before you reply with, "Well, I take a multivitamin so I'm fine," I may go into detail about that in a later article, but for the sake of this article I'd like to simply say that your body may not absorb a significant amount of what you read on the back of your multivitamin bottle. Also, you can't get full on multivitamins so you have to eat something!

So why is your intake of sufficient vitamins and minerals important? Well, whether you eat 2500 or 1500 calories in a day, a properly functioning body is necessary if you want to make changes to your body composition. Proper function can only occur when your body is getting what it needs. Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of calories that you need to ingest in order to maintain your current weight without exercise. The better your body is at functioning, the higher your metabolism and the more calories you need to maintain your current weight, which means that you will need even more calories if you're exercising (to maintain weight, not to lose it).

Now that we've covered the very basic on nutrients in your body, we can focus on calorie control. If you can maintain your calorie intake as your metabolism increases, your body composition should improve and your fat percentage should decrease. This means that if you eat the same amount of calories as usual and add in exercise, your body composition will change in your desired direction. Hopefully that sounds more manageable than going on your phone application and trying to remember everything thing you've eaten out of fear that you might eat over 1200 calories in a day. It's important to remember, however, that if you're not consuming enough calories, your body will start to store fat. Your body goes into starvation mode. Essentially, your body starts to fear that it won't get another meal, so much of you eat will be held onto for the sake of survival instead of burned for the sake of fat loss.