In today’s world there is so much noise around healthy eating which can range from what diets work, the types of foods you should be eating and even what food groups to cut out. It’s no wonder then, when we decide to embark on what I like to call a ‘Healthy Food Plan’ not a ‘diet’ that we end up more confused then when we started.
To help cut through some of this noise I try to follow this simple philosophy when it comes to food and nutrition, how you look is 70% dependent upon what you eat and drink and 30% on what you do. Therefore Abs are definitely made in the kitchen and finessed in the gym.
Here are my top tips when it comes to Nutrition:
1. Cook to lose weight
When you prepare your food you know exactly what ingredients go into it, there are no hidden oils or excess sodium unless you put them in there. Often when we buy takeaways or even salads it’s the hidden extra’s that can cause bloating or a creeping weight gain at the end of the week. Preparing your food allows you to control exactly what’s going in.
2. Understand Portion Sizes
In an era of everything being ‘super sized’ avoid the temptation of ordering extra servings of food and drink that you don’t need. When we talk about serving sizes ‘1 hand’ is all you need. 1 protein serve = the size of your palm, 1 fist = a serving of vegetables, 1 cupped hand = a serving of carbohydrates and 1 thumb = a serving of fats. Try to listen to your appetite centres and stop eating when you are full rather than finishing the plate.
3. Drink your food and chew your water
Chew your food until it turns into liquid form as this assists with the digestion process. Large chunks of undigested food can ferment in the stomach causing bloating and food allergies. Hold and swish water around in your mouth a few moments before swallowing which can also assist in the digestion process.
4. Does it fit my Macro’s?
Wherever possible, to stave off cravings and to avoid overeating try to eat a protein, carbohydrate and fat source in every meal and snack. This provides the body with the right amount of sustenance and ensures you don’t crave sugar or carbs at the dreaded 4pm slump. Eating these macronutrients will keep your energy levels on an even keel which will improve your mood and ability to concentrate.
5. Don’t undo all of your hard work on the weekend
I have this very conversation with the majority of my clients who thrive on the routine of Monday to Friday but when it comes to the weekend their food and exercise habits fall apart. When we talk about having a ‘cheat’ meal it is exactly that, it is not drinking a bottle of wine and eating a large pizza plus dessert. Try not to go crazy on the weekend, rather relax your food a little bit but try and get some outdoor exercise on at least one of the days. Some great incidental exercise is spending some time in the garden, stand up paddle boarding, walking the dogs or swimming with the kids.