You are likely aware that Slice.ca just finished running two Get in Shape for Summer Bootcamp series — Healthy Diet Bootcamp (mine!) and Fitness Bootcamp. My diet Bootcamp gave you top tips for making the eating part of getting in shape simple. Post-Bootcamp, I want to break it down even further by sharing 2 “secrets” I bet you didn’t know about that will help with your healthy diet efforts. Better still, these daily steps are easy as pie — without the calories.
Daily Diet Secret #1: Take Vitamin D
If you work out regularly, Vitamin D will help you see results sooner, specifically in strength. And the stronger you are, the easier it is to progress with your training. Research has linked Vitamin D insufficiency with reduced muscle strength; so if you’re low in this nutrient, you’re not getting as much bang for your buck during your workouts.
Now, you may be thinking, “I eat well and I get lots of sun — isn’t that enough?” Unfortunately, the answer is no. First off, summer has really only just arrived, so unless you live somewhere blessed with sunshine year-round (in other words: not Canada) and catch about 15 minutes of sun every day on your arms, legs and face without sunblock (which I do not advise), chances are you don’t get enough Vitamin D from that infamous source.
With regards to food, you’re also out of luck tyring to get this nutrient “naturally.” Vitamin D is one of the most difficult nutrients to get from foods, because it is only found in a few — mainly fish — and you would have to eat about 5 – 7oz every day to take in what your body requires.
The daily diet secret here is to take a daily Vitamin D supplement, 400 – 800 IU. The upper limit is 4,000 IU/day.
Daily Diet Secret #2: Get at least 6 hours of sleep
Believe this: less than 6 hours of sleep translates into more cravings, higher body fat and fewer calories burned. Three strikes! Here’s why you didn’t them coming:
Less sleep throws off your hormones, specifically Ghrelin, which is delightfully referred to as the “Hunger Hormone.” Sleeping at least six hours daily (preferably a bit more) keeps this hunger hormone in check — no unnecessary appetite stimulation.
Less sleep yields a 45% increase in hunger and cravings for high-carb, high-calorie foods. (This stat applies to daily sleep intake of 5.5 hours versus 8.5 hours.)
Less sleep leads to fewer calories burned. You burn calories when you sleep but most of that occurs during REM sleep. If you wake up often during the night, or don’t get enough total hours sleep? No REM phase, and none of that good burn.
The daily diet secret here is to get 7 – 9 hours of sleep. Wear ear plugs and a sleepmask if you need to!
There you have them: 2 simple things you can do right away, and impact your health and diet immediately. Get to ’em!
What are your own daily diet “secrets”? Tell us in the Comments!