Written by: Tamara Makar, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Finally, a new year started, and with that, there are many New Year resolutions. January is the usual busiest month in the gym, when everyone is trying to commit to fitness and a healthy life. Since many countries are in a lockdown right now with gyms shut, people find it difficult to get the motivation to work out at home and eat healthily.
However, a new year is always a good occasion to start something new or make a change, so if you would like to start a healthier lifestyle, start eating healthier. When you do your shopping, or pick up snacks in a shop, start reading the food labels. Although they’re not telling you everything, food labels can be a good starting point to understand what and how much you put into your body.
There are a few points I would like to make though:
Sometimes foods are labeled as ‘sugar-free’ or ‘no sugar added,’ but when you read the label, you can find that there is, in fact, some sugar in it under a different name. Sugar has 56 different names. Some of them are obvious: brown sugar, cane sugar, coconut sugar, date sugar. Others are a bit more difficult to recognize: high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), honey, maple syrup, fruit juice, dextrose, fructose, or sucrose.
Fat-free or sugar-free products are not necessarily low-calorie products. Usually, when manufacturers take the sugar out, they put fat in and vice versa. So usually, low-fat products are high in carbs, and low carb products are high in fat. Always check the label to see what’s in the product.
Organic doesn’t mean low calorie. Products labeled ‘organic’ are supposed to be healthier, but by all means, it doesn’t mean it’s a low-calorie product. Organic sugar is still sugar, it will still cause an insulin spike in your blood, and it still has all the calories.
Sweeteners – if eaten too much of them - can cause bloating and even diarrhea. Sugar alcohol and polyol are different names for sweeteners. Stevia and erythritol are 2 plant-based sweeteners, so they’re natural. Therefore - in general – they are easier on your body than artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are aspartame, acesulfame, saccharin, or sucralose, to mention a few. If you have any digestive issues, like IBS, you might want to stay away from sweeteners, or at least the artificial ones.
I encourage you to start a food diary — for a week, put down everything you eat or drink in a diary. What you ate, how much, and when. Do it on workdays and weekends – we tend to eat differently when we work or just relax at home. Only once you honestly record everything you eat and drink will you be able to see how many calories you consume every day. If calories and macros don’t mean anything to you, don’t worry! Hit me up with your diary, and I’ll help you with a nutrition plan (email@example.com, in January FOR FREE).
People usually underestimate how much they eat and always wonder how they don’t lose weight. More often than not, people overeat, and that’s the main reason why they can’t lose weight. Some people undereat though – eat less than what their bodies’ need, and if you do that for long enough, your body will start storing the calories in fat deposits instead of burning them – it is a normal survival mode, your body will preserve the energy for later since you’re not fuelling your body with enough energy regularly.
To help those of you guys who would like to make a change in their physiques and lifestyle, in January, I’m offering online coaching for $100 in the first month – this means full online coaching: nutrition and training plans with supplementation, weekly check-ins and changes to your plans towards your goal.
If you don’t want full online coaching just yet, but you would still like to start changing your life, I offer a one-off nutrition and training plan – FOR FREE in January. This is a personalized 4-week program in line with your goals, but there are no changes or follow-up with that.
Let’s have a healthy New Year!
Tamara Makar, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Tamara Makar is an IFBB pro female bodybuilder internationally known and recognized after competing at the highest level for many years. She has been in the fitness industry for over 25 years, helping people to achieve their fitness goals and desired physique. Tamara's passion and dedication will help those willing to change their lifestyle as well as mindset. With a huge hunger for achieving results, Tamara has been studying psychology (and specifically sport psychology) to combine her knowledge of fitness and nutrition with the knowledge of how people get motivated and how they can change their mindset to achieve their goals. She is a certified Personal Trainer and an Advanced Sports and Exercise Nutritionist and has worked with some of the best in the industry. Tamara is very much a people's person who thrives off working with people of all ages, backgrounds, and desired goals – from beginners to competing athletes, she is relentless to make sure everyone achieves their desired outcome!