Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you think about your diet? There are so many different factors and variables to consider that it can quickly become very confusing. Especially with the flood of contradicting information you read or hear from the media. So, how to cut through the hype and confusion and learn what's really important?
Well, we’re here to keep things easy and help you simplify your nutrition habits so that you can give your body what it needs without spending too much time worrying about what's right or wrong.
1. Forget About Complicated methods
You might be thinking about going on a special diet such as keto or perhaps you've heard from others that you need to eat at specific times. Some experts and nutritionists claim that when you eat more frequently, up to every 3 hours a meal or a snack, it will have a significant impact on the amount of weight you will lose.
Another very popular eating method currently, Intermittent Fasting is claimed to have many health benefits. 'IF' doesn't tell you what to eat as much, but it does dictate when you can consume your daily calorie intake.
While all these factors may have an impact and could lead to success, achieving general fitness goals of losing weight and getting fit comes down to the basic principle of achieving an energy balance that serves your individual goals. You need to eat and exercise accordingly.
2. Ditch the Supplements
I don't mean completely, but I have seen many clients get distracted by trying to understand what type of pre workout or BCAA to purchase and whether or not they need other dietary supplements. It's just another opportunity for you to get confused.
Most people can get all the nutrients their body needs simply by just eating a balanced diet that is varied in colour, macro and micronutrients and spend some time under the sun regularly. I would say, fix your nutrition habits first and if still turns out you are lacking a specific nutrient, supplement just that.
3. Realise You’re Different
It’s important to understand that we are not all the same and everyone reacts differently to specific diets and nutrition habits. This is due to variations in genetics, metabolism and other key traits. As such, you should not base what you’re doing for your diet on what has worked for someone else.
Finding out what works for your own body will always be your most important personal experiment. Some methods might not to be as effective for you as they were for your friends or colleagues because your body may not react the same way. Some people respond to different training concepts better than others and it's the same with food.
Once you accept responsbility that only you are able to identify the habits that wll support your fitness goals, it will become imperative to stick to them and results will follow.
4. Eat To Nourish The Body
Food is to your body what petrol or gas is to your car. If you put poor quality food in your body, how would you expect peak performance? The priority when it comes to your diet should always be quality ingredients rather than taste or pleasure, however once you educate yourself more about food and portion control you will see how easy it is to achieve all at the same time.
By consuming the right foods you can strengthen your body, increase the rate at which you can build muscle and lower levels of fat. Ultimately, you need to make sure that you are using food as fuel to power your activities and compliment your fitness routine with nutrition habits that your body needs to perform effectively.
If you feel exhausted after exercise or a busy day, more often than not, this will be due to not providing your body with what it needs.
5. Consume Nutrient Rich Food
By nutrient I mean the whole spectrum: macroutrients like protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats; and micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. People think it’s difficult to get all these in your diet, but it isn’t too hard with a little planning.
For instance, you can get vitamin D simply by spending more time outdoors and walking around out in the sun. Increase your vitamin C by adding berries to your breakfast in the morning or citrus fruits in your water. Your meals and snacks should consist primarily of fresh whole foods including meat, whole grains, vegetables and fruits.
Vegetarians and vegans who avoid animal products will generally struggle to take in enough protein, vitamin B12, vitamin D, zinc and potentially iron which can lead to deficiencies and the need for additional supplementation.
6. Learn How To Lose Fat
Losing fat can be simple. Note that I didn't say easy but the principle is simple: Caloric deficit. You need to eat less calories than your body uses on a daily average to start losing weight. Once you're comfortable with the decreased food intake, you can optimise further by learning about macronutrients and how they affect your body.
You need to be eating nutrient rich, filling foods to keep you satied longer and less likely trigger cravings. This will vary by person whch is why we focus on personalised nutrition advice for our online coaching clients.
7. Learn How To Build Muscle
From a nutrition point, adding on muscle mass is the opposite of weight loss. You will need to eat at a caloric surplus so your body has extra energy to store to add mass.
How you train will decide where the weight gain will appear. Generally speaking you would like to focus on hypertrophy training and keep long steady cardio to a minimum.
8. Stick to What Works For You
You can explore different meals and diet plans until you find a lifestyle that provides the most benefits for you, not just from an ingredient point of view, but also in terms of meal timing, cooking habits, portion sizes and number of meals.
9. Consistency Is Key
Big changes don't happen overnight. If you have a long-term goal, you will need to be able to adhere your plan consistently for a prolonged period of time. This is why it's important to find out what works best for you and your lifestyle and then stick with it.
10. What If It’s Not Working
If you can honestly say that you've consistently been doing the right thing in terms of exercise and nutrition for more than just a few days or weeks and still nothing has changed, then you may want to consider consulting a doctor or having some blood analysis done. This can help identify any potential underlying health concerns that may be inhibiting progress.
If you have questions on this topic or you'd like a commitment-free consultation about your goals and lifestyle, feel free to get in touch.