Is Diet Your Downfall? Here’s 7 Tips to Help…
Nutrition is known to generate up to 80% of results so it is essential to have a good handle on this aspect of your fat loss program. When clients come to us, I usually hear things like “It’s not the training, it’s the diet I have trouble with!”. In this article, I share with you some tips to make healthy eating less difficult and much more enjoyable.
You need structure
Have you heard the saying – failing to plan, is planning to fail? Without a nutritional plan we drift. Be it a specific plan, or just an outline of what each meal should consist of, having nutritional guidelines will help you adhere to a healthy plan. It is particularly easy to eat for pleasure in the world we live in, as we have a million things to accomplish in a day, and often, food preparation is not high on the priority list. By the time you get home after a long day at work, then the gym, you tend to grab whatever you spot first. Make meal planning a priority. When you have your nutrition plan outline, a simple way may be to draw up a list of quick, easy meals that you enjoy and rotate them. Having something in writing helps when you’re hungry, confused and in a hurry. Many of our clients use diet tracking software/apps and before they go to bed, quickly enter in what they plan to eat the next day.
Remove all foods from the house that are not on your plan
Why be tempted? I understand it’s not always possible if you live with others who are determined to ruin their health and continue expanding their own waistlines (or those who have no problem with stopping at one, or those who like to have some treats in the cupboard for their children). However, if you do live alone, or if you can coerce your housemates to agree, removing temptation from eyesight will go a long way in preventing any food binges late at night when you are tired and feel like you just don’t care. For now, it’s best to save the treats for social occasions.
Some people find it difficult to control portion sizes of even healthy foods such as nuts or peanut butter. If this is you, remove the offending items from the house until you feel more in control. You can reintroduce these items as your confidence increases. Remember food is an inanimate object and does not control you!
TIP: Freeze single portions of nut butter in Al Foil – simply grab out of freezer when you need one. That way there’s no extra dips into the jar, or no scraping the sides. Yes, we’re all guilty of it!
Are you feeling deprived?
Let’s face it – food and the act of eating is enjoyable. When you enjoy something of course you will find it difficult to give up. It’s really important you find healthy foods you enjoy so that you do not feel deprived – after all this should be (or become) a lifestyle and not a ‘diet’. Good nutrition doesn’t have to mean hours of elaborate meal preparation. Some quick and easy recipes our clients enjoy regularly are Choc Raspberry Crunch, Salmon Caesar Salad, French Toast and Chocolate Toffee shake. Here is a small sample:
Choc Raspberry Crunch:
Chocolate whey protein mixed with a little water to make a smooth paste
100g (3oz) frozen raspberries
*Mix together and enjoy!
Salmon Caesar Salad
100-150g fresh salmon fillet, grilled crispy
2-3 cups Cos lettuce
30g avocado, cubed
2 anchovies, drained, chopped
2 fat free semi dried tomato halves, chopped
1-2 tablespoons Low Cal Caesar dressing
Sea salt to taste
A good nutritional program should also allow you to eat out without having to sacrifice your healthy meal plans. Many people become stressed when they need to attend dinners or social functions, for fear of ruining their good work. To make it viable long term, your food plan should include everyday foods you can purchase from the supermarket – easy on prepackaged items and nothing too fancy.
Client Carrie Anne sums it up – I am thoroughly enjoying experimenting with all this delicious healthy food. Thanks to all your wonderful creative scrumptious recipes I have had no need for a free meal! I am getting the thumbs up from the whole family – got to be happy with that!
Remember what makes you feel good
Nobody enjoys the physical or emotional feeling that comes with over-consuming junk (or any) food. Personally, I love waking up in the morning knowing I have eaten well – I feel light, energetic and empowered. I’m more motivated and productive in my personal and business life. I figured out long ago that if I want to be in shape I can’t have everything (certainly not all at once anyway!). I now leave anything indulgent for when I go out for dinner. The bottom line is, I really enjoy my healthy meals and even prefer them, to heavy, fatty, sugary meals that leave me feeling bloated and exhausted. With consistency, our taste buds actually change, and over time you too will enjoy and prefer to eat what makes you feel good on the inside, and what makes you look good on the outside!
The importance of attitude and mindset
Do you really want it? While it’s not always fun and we don’t always feel like training or eating a healthy meal, to accomplish great things we have to step out of our comfort zones. It’s easy to look at people who are slim and who seem to eat copious amounts of junk food and be jealous or envious. You may feel frustrated and upset about having to work hard to achieve your ideal body but if you are not one of these fortunate people then you need to make the commitment to a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and consistent good nutrition. The majority of people with fantastic physiques have to work hard to achieve that look – they weren’t born that way! Adopt the attitude of “whatever it takes’ and be amazed at what you can achieve.
Client Shelly W explains it well – “those times when you fall off the wagon, it’s not because you hit a bump but because you rock the boat yourself and then blame a bump. When it’s too cold to get out of bed to workout and you promise yourself you’ll do it later but you get home from work and you are too tired and don’t do it at all. Suck it up and put up with the weather and make the effort – it’s only when you get to the end do you realise how worth it it really is, was and can be!”
Drastically decreasing calories whilst overdoing training and cardio will make you hungry and tired, and physically and emotionally burned out (very quickly). Almost indefinitely this will lead to binge eating. If you find yourself in the binge/starve cycle, you need to find more balance within your training and diet program. Eating adequate calories, along with rest and recovery are vitally important aspects of the fat loss equation. I used to try to eat very little and exercise a lot. I thought that was the way to do it and I just had to have willpower. But our bodies are much smarter than that. If our Leptin levels fall too much by restricting our calories, our body responds by MAKING you eat (read cravings, hunger, bingeing)!
Are you getting enough fat in your diet?
- Many people make the mistake of avoiding fat completely. Fat is actually a necessary part of our diet for a number of reasons. Firstly, it satiates your hunger and prevents cravings – a very important aspect in the fat loss game. Secondly, fat plays a vital part in hormone regulation. If our hormones aren’t functioning correctly, it can make fat loss difficult.
The majority of people don’t consume enough Omega 3 fats. You can increase your Omega 3 intake by consuming fatty fish such as salmon or sardines, or Krill oil/Fish oil, on a regular basis.
You need positive influences in your life when focusing on your transformation. All too often there will be negative friends, family and work colleagues just waiting for an opportunity to bring you down. Steer clear of these types of people as much as possible, and find support and encouragement in other places. What better option than your own personal Success Coach with exclusive one on one support (Body Makeover Program). You will have bad days and it is extremely important to be reminded to always continue to move forward.
And finally, whilst it’s important to strive to be the best you can, always remember that nobody is perfect all of the time.
Sue Heintze is Director of online personal training and weight management company Ideal Bodies Online. Sue and her team have an absolute passion for helping others achieve their fitness and fat loss goals.
You can find out more at www.idealbodiesonline.com