Many people struggle with balancing their daily life, exercise schedules and making healthy eating choices. As you’ve heard time and time again exercising moderation with your eating every day is one of the best rules to follow, but not always easy. An elite athlete and extreme exercise aficionado will often calculate every calorie, carbohydrate and protein they put into their body, spend their Sunday preparing home cooked meals for the week and keep a regimented schedule of daily meals, however these practices are not easy to abide by or enjoyable for most of us. There are a variety of ways in which you can put a little more attention to your eating practices with great success, but ultimately each person has to find the right way to manage your eating habits that will work best for your personality and lifestyle. Keep in mind this is not an exact science and it’s OK not to be perfect, try different tactics, make changes as your life encounters different schedules and remember that making the effort is a great start.

1) Calories in, calories out. This is the age old rules of using exercise to balance you’re eating and a great practice to follow. While there are a variety of benefits you’ll receive from your workout, many people are focused with how to burn the most calories in order to lose weight or stay healthy. Depending on your age, height and weight the average recommended daily caloric intake is 2,000 – 2,400 per day, meaning that if you do no exercise and have a regular day you can eat up to this many calories without gaining any weight. Most people easily exceed this limit, especially with how often we eat out, and if you don’t mind tracking your daily intake you can balance overages with the calories you burn during your exercise. If you are striving for weight loss you’ll want to ensure you burn enough calories to keep you below the recommended intake, less calories taken in then calories burned. Here is a great website to calculate caloric burn through a variety of exercises: http://www.healthstatus.com/calculate/cbc

2) Pick A Cheat Day. By implementing a “cheat day’’ each week you can have one day where you throw caution and moderation to the wind and indulge as much as you like, thus allowing yourself all your guilty pleasures weekly. The key to this is to ensure you do practice will power and moderation in making healthier food choices during the other 6 days of the week and reserve your splurges for your cheat day. You can still have good food and snacks on your regular eating days just don’t go overboard. Keep higher calorie/carb/sugar portions smaller, don’t eat that extra dessert or double up on the cream sauce and save these indulgences for your cheat day. Many people find this a viable practice for them and like to have their cheat day to look forward to each week, however some do not like to focus on just one day for your eating enjoyment or schedules don’t enable them to make this practice work.

3) Eat your calories don’t drink them. Eating and drinking go hand and hand and each can have an important role in how healthy you are. As a culture we’ve become consumed with the myriad of beverage options readily available to us, but with how indulgent we can be it’s easy to accompany high calorie meals with many additional calories from the beverages we choose to enjoy with them. It’s perfectly fine to enjoy your Starbucks coffee in the morning, but be selective when you include all the decadence that many people order on top of the actual coffee. You can enjoy a soda with lunch or dinner, but ensure you don’t refill the cup too many times. It is commonly recommended that each person drink about 2 liters of water per day, which will be the best practice to follow to assist you in staying healthy, moderating your eating and assist with avoiding other high calorie beverages. There are many additional options that can assist you with enjoying more water such as flavor enhancers and drinks that are made up of mostly water, such as ice tea. Regardless of what you choose to drink throughout the day you want to be sure the total calorie and sugar content of your diet do not have a negative impact on your health.

About Sandy Blumberg, ACE, AFAA

Sandy Blumberg is a fitness professional currently residing in San Diego, CA. An accomplished road cyclist, Sandy brings his passion for endurance training indoors as he presents various workshops on fitness and the fundamentals of cycling. He has ridden across the states of California, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland & Florida, on multi-day charity endurance bike rides, and donates his time as a rider coach, training clients for outdoor endeavors related to supporting local charities. While specializing in heart rate training and indoor cycling group fitness classes Sandy also works as a personal trainer and developed the 6-4-2 Rep training method.