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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The science of healthy living

Happy 2013 everyone! This is it, this is the year that you will put it all together and embrace the science of healthy living.  Yep, I said science and I meant it.

Every single thing that we do is the result of a billion (or more) chemical reactions. That sounds like science to me.  No matter if we are sitting at the computer typing, running a marathon, lifting weights, grocery shopping or eating dinner we are nothing but a bunch of chemical reactions. Got it?

Ok, good.

Now let's jump back to the end of 2012 where I was writing about Exercise and Weight Loss (Exercise and Weight Loss Part 1 Exercise and Weight Loss Part 2).  We talked about not counting calories, hopefully that rings a bell.  Today we are going to talk about chemical reactions. THAT is what dictates how we function.  How many calories we burn (or don't burn), how much muscle we build (or don't build), how well our brain can communicate with our hands to type this information, that is all a function of the chemical reactions in our body.

Want to make anything work better or differently, then you must manipulate the chemical reactions in your body to do so. How do you do that? Simple.  Pay attention to the nutrients you put in your body- NOT the calories.

Think about it like this.  My car has a 25 gallon gas tank. In order for me to drive a long distance I had better fill it up, all 25 gallons.  If I put 25 gallons of milk in the gas tank, how far will I get? Probably not too far at all.  But why? It was 25 gallons, the tank was full.

I know, you are thinking- duuuuhhhh, because you can't put milk in your car, it was built to run on gas (I'm old-school, mine is not electric).  If I put milk in it then all of the other reactions that are dependent on the gas do not occur and something pretty terrible may happen. That is pretty easy to see right?

Ok, what if I only put 2 gallons of milk in there? Nope, still not going anywhere.

Ok, now let's look at you.  Maybe you need 2,500 calories a day.  Can we fill you up with 2,500 calories from motor oil? Duuuuhhh, of course not.  I know, you think I am being ridiculous.  I'm not.  What about 2,500 calories of Twinkies? Well, you may get a little further than with the motor oil, but not by much.  Your body was not designed to run on Twinkies.  If you fill your tank with things that your body was not intended to run on, the chemical reactions that take place within you are changed.  Different things happen, and some really important things don't happen.

HERE IS THE KEY- this happens even if you don't get all of your calories from Twinkies. Eating non-nutritous foods, things your body was not meant to run on, affects you each and every time you do it.  The more you do it, the worse it gets...independent of the calories consumed!!!

KEY #2- Lots of things you think are nutritious foods are not! How do you tell the difference? Simple. Avoid things that come in a box. Your meals should be comprised of vegetables, fruits and meats.  Can't get much easier than that.  Those are the things your body is meant to run on.

It isn't a function of just the calories, just as your car's performance isn't just a function of the gallons. Putting the right nutrients in your body keeps it running just as putting the right gas in your car keeps it running!

Focus on nutrients, not calories.  You're welcome.