Whether you are well into or starting out on your fitness journey, more than likely you will come to terms and realised that it takes more than just a few gym sessions to get you a six pack abs or tone thigh or plain and raw even just to shift a few pounds. It’s worth remembering that you’ll get out of your body what you put in, so if you’re fuelling up on crisps, fried foods, high sugary foods and chocolate, then you’ll probably start to struggle pretty quickly. Your body needs a wide variety of different nutrients to function properly and provide you with the energy for conquering those tough gym sessions and your goals. If you’re starting to think that your diet might slightly lacking on the healthy front, then it’s time to fix up — my top 5 best ways to get you started on eating healthily.
Healthy Eating Habits
If you are having trouble curbing your grazing habits, that’s completely normal. Instead of focusing on the snacking fails — we’ve all been there — try to focus on making little changes that eventually replace the not-so-good habits.
You don’t need to prove anything to anyone by leaving it all to willpower when a little bit of planning and strategy will save you the stress. Eating habits are just that: a habit and habits can be hard to break. The answer is to find an approach that works for you and block out all the noise of suggested diets that work well for the person next to you.
First of all, identify where you can make your cuts to start eating healthily. Referring to our previous points, can you cut the soda and sugar drinks and find your energy from healthier food sources? How many takeaways and frozen meals can you replace with a protein-rich alternative that you’ve made from scratch? Or even a good quality meal replacement You could also try swapping out unhealthy snacks for healthy (but still satisfying) options. Go for an almond or soya yoghurt lower in fat and sugar, or opt for dark instead of a milk shake.
If you’re worried that you’re over-snacking, then this is where tracking what you eat can work wonders. Keep a journal of simple notes on what you eat throughout the day. At first, it needn’t be too detailed, just an outline of what you’ve had so that, at a glance, you can see if on the surface it seems to outweigh what your body needed. If so, see where you can cut, especially between meals. As your drive and motivation increases, you could add the protein, fats and carbs, along with the number of calories in each meal and snack so that you may address your levels accordingly.
When you begin analysing what you are putting into your body, it’s important to look at everything and not just the food.
While water may constitute the majority of your fluids, especially during a workout, you might be surprised to learn how many calories are in your favourite fizzy drinks. It’s no good counting calories, protein and carbs in your meals if you are not counting the nutritional value of what you drink. It’s also not about cutting out all drinks except water, though, it’s just a matter of being conscious of how healthy they are. After all, drinks are an easy place to start if you’re trying to cut your sugar intake as people often find edits to their eating more difficult to adjust to.
Juice, milkshakes, alcohol and fizzy drinks are full of empty calories that could be contributing to your waistline as well as having a detrimental effect on your exercise and recovery capabilities. If you’re a fan of fruit juice, avoid ‘from concentrate’ and go organic and natural where you can and swap out the sugar for water or tea for a healthier alternative.
Caffeine and sugar-loaded energy drinks may feel like your best ally when you’re trying to keep your energy and motivation up to tackle a workout along with everything else you need to do that day, but it’s also a good way to burn out your motor. Have your caffeine sparingly, and choose water where you can.
Kill The Sugar
Sugar: it’s everywhere, in everything, but do you need it? Glucose makes up an important portion of your energy stores that you can’t exercise without. However, too much sugar can result in health problems and, in the short term, has a detrimental effect on your energy levels.
When it comes to cutting sugar, your enjoyment of food needn’t suffer. It can be as simple as cutting it from your tea and coffee or opting for a sugar substitute. Natural food sources tend to have all the sugar you’ll need so it will be mostly in your sweets and snacks that you may need to find low sugar substitutes. You should cut these out or limit them if you’re looking to start eating healthily.
Its best to, stick with natural, organic sugars: get you’re five a day of fruit.
Stay Low On Fat and
If you don’t think that you’re eating too much and have already managed to stick to a pretty regulated eating pattern, the next question is then what you are eating that isn’t doing you any favours.
Not all fats are bad, but there are good and bad fats. A good place to start is limiting the amount of processed food and refined carbs. That means cutting down on frozen food, fast food and takeaways. It’s a safe bet that by choosing a low-fat or fat-free option you’ll be getting all of the joy and none of the bad fats that are best avoided.
However, some low-fat options are filled with sugar or some other substitute to compensate, so be careful. Best advice: always check the label.
Down Size Your Potions
This is one thing we all hate most, however it is the most obvious calorie saver of all: put a little less on your plate. Skim on the sides and cut the carbs, first so that you’re filling up on proteins and greens, taking only what you need for energy and fuel from carbs and very little fats.
Here you should refer back to my advice on keeping track of what you eat with a journal and make a note of how much you’ve cut your portion by and how you’ve felt as a result. It’s most certainly not about starving yourself or suffering low blood sugar, just getting what you need to do all that you have to do in your day to day.
This blog is updated by Tranquillity 360 fitness personal trainers, as well as other guest bloggers.