Despite the proliferation of materials and education about losing weight, people are getting fatter than ever.
How you look, and how you feel is very much down to what you eat. Lack of muscle mass, high body fat, lack of energy, bad skin, digestive problems, sleep problems, mood swings… All of these can be because of unhealthy eating.
Being January, many new members have joined my Gym. One thing they all have is common is confusion about what to eat. So I’m taking this opportunity to share the 8 simple nutrition rules that I give them, with you. Together they will help you build muscle, lose fat & get stronger, as well as many other benefits.
1. Eat Breakfast. You will be providing your mind and body with energy first thing in the morning and you’ll be less hungry the rest of the day. It also gets you on the right track from the start of the day and the probability is you’ll keep eating healthy for the rest of the day. So start your day with a healthy breakfast.
Some good choices include omelettes, smoothies & porridge.
2. Eat Every 3 Hours. You should have breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning snack, afternoon snack and evening snack. The benefits of this include:
· Less Hunger. Eating smaller, regular meals rather then 3 big daily meals will give you constant energy, keep you full and help you lose weight.
· Less Cravings. Not eating for a long time period usually causes overeating at your first opportunity or grabbing a chocolate bar or some other unhealthy snack option.
Eat at fixed times every day and your body will get hungry at those fixed times. Example: 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm & 10pm.
3. Eat Protein with Each Meal. Protein is necessary to build and maintain muscle. Proteins also help fat loss since they have the highest thermic effect. Proteins keep you full longer than carbohydrates.
You should eat at least 1g of protein per pound of body-weight. That’s 200g/day if you weigh 200lbs. The easiest way to get this amount is to eat a whole protein source with each meal. Some include:
· Red Meat. Beef, pork, lamb, deer, buffalo, etc.(keep lean)
· Poultry. Chicken, turkey, duck, etc.
· Fish. Tuna, salmon, sardines, mackerel, etc.
· Eggs. (avoid Fried).
· Dairy. Milk, cheese, cottage cheese, quark, yogurt, etc.
· Whey. (Try a shake – a quick, easy source).
4. Eat Fruits & Vegetables with Each Meal. Most of these are low calorie: you can eat till your stomach is full without gaining fat or weight. Fruits & vegetables are also full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre which helps digestion.
Some of my favourite fruits & vegetables are: apples, berries, pineapple, oranges, bananas, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, pumpkin, beans, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, roman lettuce, chicory, peas, etc
5. Eat Only Complex Carbohydrates. While you need carbs for energy, most people eat to many simple carbohydrates. Cutting out simple carbohydrates will benefit you greatly.
· Eat Fruits & Veggies with all Meals. These contain good carbohydrates.
· Eat Complex Carbohydrates. •Whole grain breads, Other whole grains such as brown rice, pasta and oatmeal, Potatoes (both white and sweet), Lentils, Whole grain cereals
· Avoid Simple Carbohydrates. Table sugar, Corn syrup, Fruit juice, Chocolate, Cake Bread made with white flour, Pasta made with white flour, most packaged cereals.
6. Eat Healthy Fats. Healthy fats improve fat loss and health. Eat healthy fats and avoid artificial trans -fats & margarine. Balance your fat intake.
· Saturated Fats. Increase testosterone levels. Dietary cholesterol is not bound to blood cholesterol. Real butter, whole eggs, red meat.
· Monounsaturated Fats. Protect against heart diseases and cancers. Extra virgin olive oil, olives, mixed nuts.
· Polyunsaturated Fats. Increase testosterone levels, promote fat loss, decrease inflammation, …Fish oil, ground flax seeds, mixed nuts.
7. Drink Water. Drinking water prevents dehydration but also hunger since an empty stomach can make you think you’re hungry.
· 2 Litres/Day. Drink 1 cup of water first thing on waking up, 2 cups with each meal and sip water during your day.
· Get a WaterFilter. Cheaper than bottled water and tastes better than straight tap water. Try also green tea & water with squeezed lemon.
8. Eat Whole Foods 90% of The Time. To really get the results you want, 90% of your food intake should consist of whole natural foods.
· Whole Foods. Unprocessed and unrefined (or little refined) foods that come as close as possible to their natural state. Examples: fresh meat, fish, poultry, eggs, veggies, legumes, fruits, rice, oats, quinoa, …
· Processed Foods. Usually contain added sugars, trans-fats, nitrates, corn syrup, sodium and more chemicals. Examples: bagels, fruit bars, cereals, pizza, cookies, sausages, frozen meals, supplements, …
Eat whole foods 90% of the time. Difference in result is insignificant compared to eating 100% healthy. So if you eat 6 times a day, you can eat 4 bad meals per week guilt-free. Same with alcohol & sweet drinks: 10% of the time is ok.
Forget about portion size and calories. Just eat your stomach full. You won’t get fat eating healthy foods. Especially not if you exercise.
Food is the centre of our lifestyle and it makes up who we are from the inside out.