You may have heard the common phrase of "Abs are made in the kitchen", but how much truth is there actually to this? There is a massive amount of misinformation out there regarding nutrition, and fitness for that matter, which leaves many of us on health journeys confused on which direction to take. As a result, it is always best to ask a professional and in this case we ask our dietitian, Kylie, to share her expertise on the topic of building a healthy core through nutrition.
Let's debunk a myth right away: Your body does not selectively rid itself of fat in problem areas, specifically. For example, you cannot go to the gym for an hour and purely work on core, expecting this to reduce unwanted belly fat. Although abdominal exercises can help firm and tone your muscles, they alone won’t aid in weight loss around your stomach. Your body pulls from all fat stores as you move and burn calories.
This has been a buzzword the last few years, but what exactly does it mean?
"Mindful eating is a process and journey, a self-study of understanding your thinking patterns, emotional moods, appetites and habits without judgement. Nothing is off limits. We can also call this intuitive eating." - Elizabeth Kovar, M.A.
Some advice that I recognize causes many to become nervous, is that I recommend making all foods apart of your journey – in moderation, of course. Yes even cookies. The basis for this can be found in the 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating, which is outlined in the infographic below.
Direct experience mode
Being in the present moment is a valuable practice taught in Tai chi, yoga, and meditation. When it comes to life application, mealtime is a great time to put this practice to work. Functioning in this zone requires our nervous system to switch from sympathetic (what is mostly engaged under stress) to parasympathetic. If our bodies are under constant duress from things like work, school, and just plain life, we won't cannot enter this parasympathetic, or rest and digest state, as easily without conscious effort.
The consequence of losing this ability is actually quite surprising as it increases nutrient excretion resulting in specific deficiencies of Vitamins B, C, iron and selenium. We can more directly think of iron deficiency as being anemic, a term you may have heard thrown around amongst your overworked friends who complain of "feeling tired all the time, I must be anemic."
Break The psychological Prison
Food is friend, not foe! Dietitians, exercise specialists, yogis, and all walks of health professionals agree, mindful eating is the antidote to fad dieting and in building a healthy relationship with food. One ACE exercise professional elaborates on her experience during a unique experience with mindful eating:
"We have something called slow conscious eating, and this is something I experienced while studying Buddhist meditation in Thailand. A bunch of us Westerners entered a room and were presented with a plate of food smaller than we have in America. The rules were that you were not allowed to talk and you would take your fork, put a piece of food in your mouth, place the fork back down and put both hands on the table. Once you were done chewing and your mouth was completely empty, you were then allowed to pick up the fork again and eat.
Now, by no means am I suggesting that we all need to practice such an extreme form of eating, but it is very common and easy for us to place more food in our mouths before we are done chewing the previous bite. Try paying attention to this the next time you have a meal! It is important to consider your overall health, family health history, cultural and and personal food preferences. On top of this, it's essential to be realistic. Are you really going to give up sugar, pasta, bread, pizza, and your soul? Making your goals a lifestyle versus running with the next best fad diet will help you establish habits to meet your long term goals; rather than tossing in the towel after a couple months, and getting no where.
Tips & Tricks
Consider variety, amount, and nutrition. Just like money, all food choices add up. What do you want to spend your calories on? Start with small, realistic goals to adopt a healthier eating style to reward your total body. The bottomline: abs are not JUST made in the kitchen. They must be worked in the gym and throughout our day as well.
Check out It's All in the Foundation on helpful tips on why and how to train your core for optimal results and quality of daily living and the workout to help get you there.
Related topic & Workout
Health Research Funding (HRF). 23 Exceptional Fad Diet Statistics. (2014, October 09). Retrieved January 09, 2018, from https://healthresearchfunding.org/23-exceptional-fad-diet-statistics/
K., E. (n.d.). Mindful Eating: the future of eating for weight loss. Retrieved January 9, 2018, from https://alc.acefitness.org/totara/mod/url/view.php?id=3762