Keep'er Fit

Gary Wallace

Treat food as fuel

health-carbs
Your diet is one of, if not the biggest factor in your health and fitness journey. I don’t know how many times I have said and tried to explain this to people, some listen and some don’t.

However, they seem to understand it better when I compare it like putting fuel into your car.

If you treat the body the same way you put fuel into a car you won’t go far wrong. Putting the right type and amount of fuel into your vehicle means it will drive further and run better without causing major damage to the engine. A bit like your body.

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On the other had if you put diesel into a petrol engine then you are in all sorts of trouble, which my sister found out when going to watch a Tyrone game not too long ago!

This might sound very simple but once you consider food as a fuel source for the body you may at least think twice about reaching for that extra biscuit or bag of crisps.

The first step in this process is understanding what each food source is and what the main effects it has on the body.

Your main food groups are carbohydrates, protein and fats. If you concentrate on these three you are on the right track.

Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy used in the body. Please don’t be afraid of ‘carbs’ – they are actually your friend. Just make sure you eat the right type and amount of carbohydrates to suit your needs and remember timing is everything. If you know you’re not going to be active in the next few hours then concentrate more on your protein and fat intake. If you are going to be very active or exercising then you need carbs in your meal a few hours before hand. The other time to consider taking carbs is straight after a workout, again think of the car. After you have used all your fuel you need to replace it, but again use the right type to do this.

Protein
Protein helps build and repair the body. Not only for your muscles but your skin, hair and organs which need built, repaired and strengthened each day. Consuming good sources of protein will help you build lean muscle which in turn helps the body burn more calories and eats into your fat stores. Don’t get carried away by only consuming protein, remember you need a balanced diet including all three food sources throughout the day.

Fats
Thankfully fats are starting to get the praise they deserve and we are realising that fat is not the main problem when it comes to obesity but sugar is. Of course we have good and bad fats, we should still be aiming to increase our intake of good fats and decrease the amount of bad fats in our diet. Using the car analogy again, fats are like the oil that makes all the process work. In other words, they make the car run smoothly.

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A little will do no harm
On the plus side for all you sweet toothed people out there, a little bit isn’t going to do you any harm. Enjoying the ‘bad’ foods once in a while can be good for the body, maybe not physically but mentally. You enjoy the taste of sugar more and will look forward to that bar of chocolate with a cup of tea or that pizza you have been thinking about eating for a while.

Just don’t get carried away because before you know it, you would have put a full tank of petrol into your diesel engine and it just isn’t going to go too far!

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