As professionals in the health & wellness industry we are constantly asked about nutrition and what to include in a diet, when to eat it, how much to eat and what to avoid. Nutrition plays a vital role in the way our bodies are maintained on a day to day basis and also on how we perform. Abuse this and you increase the chances of picking up disease and decrease life expectancy or open your eyes to what you are putting in your mouth and expect to feel and perform better – not mentioning that you may actually add a few years to your life!
There is so much info on ‘diets’ and what to eat to lose weight quick or how to build muscle through increasing your protein intake. Step back and ask yourself….. why are you looking at these diets? Are you doing this because you have a friend doing it and it worked for them? Are you doing it because it’s the hottest selling diet book in the shops right now? Are you doing it because none of the other diets you have tried have worked and therefore it’s just another one to try? Has your favourite celeb lost 5kg in a month and swears by their new diet formula? When setting up or changing your diet ask yourself why you are making the changes and what you want to achieve. I would urge you to look at the long term and not the short term changes so many of these ‘fad diets’ promote. Your diet should be very important to you so take the time to sit down and look into it more (or talk to one of us about it!).
A healthy diet should contain a good mixture of macro/micronutrients. This means you should have a balance of Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats. These macronutrients will contain foods which are rich in Vitamins aiding the production and maintenance of Minerals found in the body. If you are hitting the veg only, 500 Kcals a-day diet that your favourite celeb lost 5kg from are you hitting all the areas in your diet mentioned above to maintain good health?? NO! Health should be the first thing you think about before starting a new diet or modifying your current diet. Yes our goals are important but why bother if the strategy you employ actually makes you less healthy? Reaching optimal health through diet takes a long time and you need to have the patience to learn from what your body is telling you. Some people function better having a higher carb intake whereas others respond better on a higher fat intake. Your diet should be specific to you and your bodies needs.
James’ Tips for setting up a diet for you:
1- Measured Starting Point
– Track your diet through a weekly food diary. Write down everything you eat and drink (be true to yourself & no cheating!).
– Use a tracking app such as MyFitnessPal to track your Macro/Micro Nutrients. You will also be able to count how many calories you are consuming against how many you use. This is usually the first step in creating a diet where your goal is to either lose weight, tone up or add more muscle by playing with the number of calories you consume depending on your activity level.
2- Set Goals
– Why are you doing this? Write down a goal as a daily reminder of why you are doing it.
– What would it mean to you if you achieve your goal? Again write it down somewhere you can easily remind yourself.
– Your goals have to be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic & time bound.
3 – Talk to us!
– From this point we can look at your food diary and make subtle changes to kick start the process. Simple changes such as increasing your water intake, cutting out certain foods or increasing the amount of colour in your diet (fruit and veg) can all have a great impact on your health and usually will help with the goals you have set.
To finish my advice would be to always keep things simple and stick to foods which are as natural as possible. Restrict the amount of processed /sugary foods you eat but don’t completely eliminate foods that you really enjoy. Life is about balance and if you are too strict in your diet and you don’t enjoy it this can impact other areas of living. Diet is a very important process in everyday living but there are other things to think about that can contribute to a poor diet. Stress, sleep, job and lifestyle.
So, get enough sleep (7-8hours per night), plan your work – address tasks with a clear and positive mind, enjoy some time out – do something you love (play football, go out with friends, read a book etc.) and finally eat a balanced diet that will give the fuel to do all of the above time and time again!
Please get in contact with us if you would like to talk about your diet.
James & The Results Training Team