Why Food is the Foundation of your Weight Loss Journey

The meaning behind the most definitive statement on nutrition ever made.
Brandon Garcia
February 29, 2024
Why Food is the Foundation of your Weight Loss Journey

In October of 2002, Greg Glassman (founder of CrossFit) wrote an article that became the foundation of understanding for many trainers trying to change the lives of their clients. The title of the article is "What is Fitness" and in it he gave us a description he called "World Class Fitness in 100 Words". It says:

"Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports."

When most of us think of fitness, we tend to think of "fitness" as workouts. And while that is a part of the conversation, what your eat will influence your overall fitness more than your workouts. It's why Coach Glassman put it at the beginning of his synopsis of fitness. Reread it. World class fitness BEGINS with "Eat". It's that important.

"Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat" gives one of, if not the single most simple explanation of eating for lifelong fitness. Why? Let's pull it apart and see.

Eat Meat - Our ENTIRE body is made up of amino acids a.k.a. proteins. The BEST source of that is animal protein a.k.a. meat. Can you you get them from other sources? Yes. But meat is a far more bioavailable and complete source. It's a deeper convo for another day so my vegan/vegetarian friends just know, I get it and I support your choice. It just means you have to be WAY more intentional about this to ensure optimal outcomes. For everyone else, eat meat. Leaner cuts are better for weight control.

and vegetables: Veggies serve as 2 things; carbs and fiber. Yes, veggies are carbs. Carbs are NOT the enemy. But most of us eat far too many carbs from processed grains and those specific types of carbs are easy to over eat. Think about it: when was the last time you ate too many green beans? Now compare that to the last time you ate too many breadsticks? Also, veggies have more fiber that helps with gut health and have a ton of vitamins and minerals that grains do not. Again, carbs (grains) are not the enemy, but you're better off getting your dense carbs from other sources (coming up later in the list).

nuts and seeds: Nuts as seeds are mostly fat. I know, the package says they're a "Great source of protein". They're not. They're 70-80% fat. Which is what we're after here (along with the vitamins and minerals in them). Our body needs fat to do a lot of things, mostly to do with hormone regulation. If your hormones are out of whack, an easy shift to make is to ensure you're getting enough healthy fats in your diet. It might not solve it, but it will help (you still may need to work with a doc to get it right). Nuts and seeds (not nut oils or seed oils, but the actual foods) are a strong way to get there.

some fruit: Here was see our first quantity limiter. Why? Fruit is very good for us! It's also a denser source of carbs than are veggies. They're sweeter and our brain likes that. So, have some fruit. Good carbs, some fiber, some vitamins and minerals. But watch it, it might be more carbs than you need. And eat the whole fruit. Smoothies make it easy to over consume and fruit juice is just sugar water.

little starch: What the heck is starch? Basically just heavier carbs. Think potatoes and beans. but I thought beans are protein? Nope. Beans are 70%+ carbs. Starchy carbs. Good fiber and along with potatoes help in making you feel full and satisfied. But like fruits carry a bigger carb punch, so eat 'em, but watch how much.

no sugar: This is the one that gets the most push back. "but fruit has sugar in it." Yes. It does. But it's not the same as all the other sugar we load our bodies with. Think of this as no ADDED sugar. If they added sugar or sugar substitutes (like stevia, splenda, etc.) It's best to be avoided. This one is a whole blog by itself (which I will do for sure). But if you're trying to gain control of your weight and health, avoiding added sugar will move the needle BIG.

Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat: This is MASSIVE. If you eat the way that has been prescribed so far, calorie control is actually pretty easy. No matter what, weight loss comes down to math: calories eaten vs. calories burned (through the whole day, not just in your workout). Which means you need to pay attention to how much food you eat through each day and through each week. This is another blog by itself (which I will do), but know that it is important to the equation. Eat to fuel your body, but not more.

As you read through this, you may think "well what about..." And I get it. There's a lot of diet info out there. To cover all of the specifics would take what would feel like a lifetime. These are good general rules/guidelines that will absolutely get you fitter and healthier. And if you need or want specific and individualized nutrition guidance, we have certified nutrition coaches here to help.

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