There are so many different diets out there: low fat, low carb, Atkins, cabbage soup, 5:2…and the list goes on. How do you know which one works? I’ve actually tried most of them at some point in my life, a couple not so clever like the “eat 2 bowls of cereal a day and lose fat”, which is more like a recipe for metabolic damage and muscle wastage. So what are we to believe??
Let’s face hard facts: there is actually NO magic formula! If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Everyone slips off the band wagon now and again, but don’t let that turn into a monumental path of destruction. You know the feeling when you have that one treat followed by another one, and before you know it, you are deep in despair so you may as well continue on the naughty binge and start afresh on Monday.
I know I’m guilty of that “all or nothing” mentality. I’m on it this week: healthy eating and working out, it’s all going so well. Then there is the drink after work, and it’s so tempting after a hard day at the office. I will just go for one – you tell yourself. A second glass won’t hurt, I did work out this morning after all. Then the slippery slope gets slipperier and somebody buys you another one. You protest in your loudest voice, it’s just nobody can hear you. Since you’ve blown it, you might as well have another one and hey while we are at it, let’s throw in some greasy food on the way home to soak it all up. You’ll start again tomorrow, but then maybe you won’t because you’ll be hangover (and we all know what that means).
The truth is, one slip up isn’t going to ruin anything, so have the slip up – enjoy it, and move on! But where do you start from in adopting a healthy eating lifestyle?
9 secrets to a healthy eating lifestyle
The good news is that the secret to clean eating is not rocket science. In fact, it’s fairly easy. Keep it simple and stick to these 9 basic rules, and I guarantee you will see results and you’ll be well on the way to loosing body fat.
- Be consistent: What does that mean? Well, essentially it means adhering to your healthy eating at least 80% of the time. Prepare your food in advance. Know what you are going to eat and don’t just grab a quick fix snack on the go. That means carrying healthy snacks such as almonds, berries, fruit and maybe boiled egg or some chicken with you. Time to get a bigger handbag! The trick is to be consistent at least 80% of the time and not to beat yourself up for the odd slip up.
- Stop counting calories: It’s about the right amounts of protein, fats and carbs, also known as macronutrients. Let’s be honest: a couple of bars of chocolate or a couple of slices of cake, and even a glass of wine or two, and you’ve reached your calorie goal for the day…but you certainly won’t be losing body fat! You may lose weight if your calorie intake is low but it’s neither sustainable nor healthy for the body.
- Protein should be consumed with every meal: People have differing views on how much protein you should eat but from my experience you need 2g of Protein for every kilo of body weight. E.g. if you weigh 60kg then you should be eating 120g of protein a day.
- Eat GOOD fats: Fat will not make you fat. This is an old myth that was generated in the 80s with the government telling people eggs and fat was bad for you. A load of, you guessed it, RUBBISH. Good fats such as Avocado, Almonds, and oily fish are all needed to maintain a healthy body and to lose fat.
- Drink 3 litres of water a day: Get ready to make lots of visits to the loo. Water is so good on every level, and simply put, it helps you lose weight.
- Eat Protein at Breakfast: Ditch cereals, it’s the devil’s food! Make sure you eat some form of protein for breakfast. I typically have 3 eggs and 100g of spinach cooked in a teaspoon of coconut oil. Asparagus is a really good alternative too. If I’m looking for something quick, I will have oats with a scoop of my favourite cookies and cream whey protein with a handful of blueberries, and a banana. This is especially good after a workout.
- Carbs are not bad: Eat good quality carbs. Sorry I’m not talking cake! I eat oats, sweet potato or white potato, and brown rice. You can’t lose body fat and gain lean muscle by starving your body of carbs. And by avoiding them you will crave the demon sugar.
- Eat plenty of green veg and fruit: You can’t eat too many green veg, they fill you up, are a great source of fibre and have all sorts of lovely vitamins. I make it a rule to have at least one portion of veg or fruit with every meal.
- Have a treat now and again: I don’t believe in cheat days as this is too long but nothing wrong with the odd treat. Factor it in and enjoy it. The more you think you are restricting yourself, the more you are likely to fail and give up. If you know you are going out for a meal, eat less that day – but do always make sure you are getting your protein in.
Remember fat loss should not be a rapid thing – slow and steady wins the race and means you are more likely to stick to a healthy eating lifestyle rather than seeing it as a one off diet.
Moral of the story: your grandma was right, moderation is the key!