There is a common trend among those who try and ‘’diet’’ to get their dream body. They yo-yo in and out of ‘’good’’ eating phases which ultimately means they get nowhere fast and become demoralised! We don’t live in an ideal world, for most to eat like an elite physique competitor they would have next to no life and would struggle to stick at it more than 5 days at most! You know, weighing every gram of food for every meal, eating when the clock strikes 3 hours since last meal and so on.
Instead I think you should focus on ‘’better eating’’ if you are a complete beginner. When you consider most people’s diets are awful, largely based around sugary carbohydrates a few tweaks can have a massive impact on your health and physique without taking over your life.
Here are my 10 top tips for ‘’better eating’’ to improve your health and shape!
1 – Single Ingredient Foods
In a nutshell this means foods which can rot or degrade within a few days. Vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, eggs and so on. There are many more (obviously not all degrade so rapidly). By eating the bulk of your calories from single ingredient foods you are going to notice an improvement in health pretty quickly. This is largely due to the fact you will be eating nutrient (not calorie) dense foods, especially by increasing your fruit and vegetable intake. The micronutrients will help the body become more efficient and as a result healthy. The added fibre will also help immensely!
2 – Eat More Protein
Most beginners will have 2/3 servings of protein based foods a day at best and they are often poor choices at that – processed deli meat, burgers and bread crumbed packaged ‘’stuff.’’ Increase your protein intake from better sources such as lean meat, oily fish, eggs and natural dairy products (not low fat).
3 – Eat More Fat
Yep I used the ‘’F’’ word and I won’t apologise for it. Almost everyone I come across doesn’t eat enough fats and especially of the right variety. Fats have a myriad of benefits to offer including better hormonal function, brain function and fat metabolisation to name a few. Get most of your fats from sources rich in Omega 3s including oily fish, avocado, organic eggs and extra virgin olive oil.
4 – Be Carb Conscious
Don’t think carbs are the enemy, they aren’t. Instead be aware that you probably eat too many carbs, especially from poor sources and as a result might be more insulin resistant than you would like to be at the moment. To help improve this try and take the bulk of your carbs in around your workouts, personally I would recommend afterwards. Reduce complex carb intake on non-training days and get most of your carbs from fibrous vegetables and from SOME fruit. The leaner you get the more tolerant of carbs you usually become.
5 – Don’t Stress
I personally champion regular eating patterns, even if they are not ‘’time phased.’’ However, for the everyday person simply following the ‘’better eating’’ principles will make a massive difference. If you go 4-5 hours without food it isn’t the end of the world!!
6 – Go Free
Some praise gluten free diets, others hate it and think it’s overboard. I will speak from experience, I am yet to meet someone who has gone gluten free and doesn’t feel better for it. In ‘’real life’’ terms I think reducing gluten intake is a better option. You will find by eating more wholesome, ‘’natural’’ foods you will drastically reduce your gluten intake by default.
7 – Avoid Low Fat
If the food is ‘’low fat’’ avoid it. Ben Coomber, leading nutritionist and expert once said ‘’see fat free, think chemical s*** storm!’’ If a food is naturally high in fat, for example cottage cheese then that is the way nature intended it to be. The synergy between the nutrient profiles will be altered by removing fat. What’s more, MOST ‘’low fat’’ or ‘’fat free’’ foods are higher in sugar. Not good.
8 – Eat Breakfast
A lot of beginners I come across don’t do this. When you consider skipping breakfast will probably make you peckish by ‘’brunch’’ time it is a potential recipe for ‘’binge-o-clock.’’ Enjoy a breakfast packed with protein, healthy fats and fibre. Think omelette!!
9 – 90/10 Rule
If it’s a lifestyle change you are after get rid of the thought mentality that you have ‘’cheat meals’’ and regard foods which you can’t usually eat as part of the plan. Just acknowledge that you can only consume them on a very occasional basis, I find once a week is a reasonable goal for most. Think Saturday night in front of the TV watching a movie; enter home-made gluten free pizza and some ice cream for dessert.
10 – Be Consistent
If you are consistent with all of the above rules you will see massive progress, which I assure! Oh yes, drink more water too – this is a must!