Eating your way to a better you
Small steps are the key to all healthy habit changes.
Exercising regularly? Well that's 25 - 30% of your healthy lifestyle change in place, so now for the other 70 - 75%. The slightly more tricky part - the part that is going to determine the outcome of your results.
There is a cliche in this industry and it is so so true. YOU CANNOT OUT EXERCISE A BAD DIET!
I just want touch on the water issue first, on the back of a conversation I had this morning.
Did you know that sometimes when you're feeling hungry, you are in fact thirsty? Sounds a bit weird but it's true.
So, what I'd like you to do next time you feel hungry, particularly if you've not long since eaten - is try getting a drink of water instead and see if that cures your hunger pangs.
You may be pleasantly surprised.
So, two big steps to help with getting things on track - very important to ensure you get the best results possible.
1. CUT OUT REFINED SUGARS!
Now this is a real stinger as it's in so much stuff.
Refined sugar isn't to be avoided by everyone so let's get this straight first.
If you are super active then you will be OK to consume it. E.g, if you're a sports person, runner, cyclist or need something to give you immediate energy for an event or training.
I've personally used sugar when running long distances but still tend to rely on real food as long as possible before resorting to sugary snacks.
The less active your life, the less of this poison you should be consuming.
If your goal is fat loss, then you really ought to be avoiding it altogether, and that means alcohol, bread, biscuits, cakes, fizzy drinks, sauces like ketchup and salad cream, processed foods, chocolate, sweets, ice cream and so on.
Not to be confused with natural sugars which are in fruit but be careful here too. Yes fruit is good for you but as with all sugar - in moderation.
The list is immense.
Why should you avoid sugar, it tastes so nice?
Refined sugar is a carbohydrate that your body can digest quickly for energy. When you eat food or drinks that contain refined sugars, your body turns the sugar into glucose, a simple form of sugar that is carried through the blood. This provides your body with an instant energy boost, however, once the sugar is metabolised, your energy levels drop again.
If the supply of glucose in your body is up and down, say from eating foods high in refined sugar frequently throughout the day, it can feel like riding a roller coaster. Your energy levels will rise quickly and fall again, leaving you feeling fatigued.
As refined sugar has been separated from fiber, i.e. skin of fruit or other form, it can bypass the triggers or hormones that tell you to stop eating it - therefore it is easy to over consume.
If your activity levels aren't sufficient to burn it off then your body will simply store it as fat.
It is highly addictive hence the reason food manufacturers put it into highly convenient processed foods.
2. TRACK WHAT YOU EAT!
Studies show that people who track what they eat are 70% more likely to succeed with their healthy eating goals than those who don't.
Become aware of what you eat and how much you eat. This can be a real eye opener for people.
Tracking what you eat will help you understand food and keep you away from the over eating nightmare.
You may be surprised how much impact your snacking and drinking habits have on your calorie count at the end of a day.
If you're an athlete of any kind you could well learn more about the foods that work best for you performance wise, I know it certainly helped me when I found out I wasn't eating enough.
Not eating enough can be just as bad as eating too much and can create side effects such as fatigue, irritability, anxiety, sleep issues and even hair loss.
Tracking will help you regain control of what you're eating. It will help you find what's missing in your diet and you'll learn about the nutrition in your food.
One of the best digital food trackers available now is https://www.myfitnesspal.com/. This is a superb tool that can be used for a short period of time and allow you to learn about portion sizes.
Follow this LINK to download it to your phone or tablet.
I'm just going to add one more cheeky little trick in here if I may.
SLOW DOWN your eating, it's not a race.
It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to register with your brain that it's full. You can fit a large amount of extra food in there in 20 minutes.
Use the 80% rule and stop when you're 80% full, it will help you no end.
In Fitness & In Health
John 'FOOD POLICE' Withinshaw