Mastering your Nutrition
You will have most likely heard of a hundred different diets and eating plans and many of you have most likely tried a few of them yourselves.
I am here to tell you that a diet does not work long term and to be honest why the fuck would you do that to yourself in the first place?
Why restrict yourself and be so rigid, I personally could not think of anything worse.
Whenever I speak about health I always like to make sure I help people focus on ‘’what they can control by controlling the controllables'’.
When it comes to nutrition, we are blessed to be in a position of having the privilege of being able to make a choice.....Many people around the world don't.
You can choose what to eat
You can choose what to drink
but doing things right takes planning and preparation....... this planning and preparation will provide you with structure and
‘’structure provides freedom’’.
Over the course of your life, be more concerned with the quality of your food you are eating rather than the amount of calories they contain.
Concentrate where your food is coming from, sourced or grown, also whether it is organic or non organic….
My personal beliefs regarding Nutrition
I have been lucky enough to have worked as a personal trainer / coach for over 25 years and a large part of that journey has been spent experimenting with different eating plans on myself.
As an adult I have been able to build myself up in weight to 100kg flat on the scales, then drop that weight down to a lean 72.5kg.
Trust me if I never eat another tin of tuna in my life it will be too soon!!
I have experimented with gluten free, high alkaline, vegan, paleo and intermittent fasting, to name a few.
They have all provided me with some sort of benefit and in most of them you will find some great scientific research or evidence to support these claims.
I believe in evolution!
Not that long ago our ancestors were hunters and gatherers..... therefore here is what a typical week possibly may have looked like for us human beings back then.
- Some days we would have eaten just plants, vegetables, legumes and possibly different types of nuts and seeds. We NOW call this Vegetarian or vegan.
- Some days you would have eaten meat, fish and wild game / chicken. We NOW call this carnivore or paleo.
- Some days we would have eaten a combination of everything available. We NOW call this a balanced eating plan.
- Some days there would have been very little food available. We NOW call this Intermittent fasting.
- Some days we would have had an abundance of food and most likely have eaten too much. We NOW call this overeating or to some people this is just plain normal.
I believe in a combination of all of the above. If I truly want to keep my eating plan as close as possible to the way we are supposed to eat then for me it makes perfect sense to follow this plan.
- Plant based eating. Vegetables, legumes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruit, nuts and seeds. You are still eating a ton of protein, carbohydrate, essential fats, vitamins and minerals by just eating a plant based diet and you will be surprised how many options you actually have. I don’t think it is an ideal permanent solution but I do think you should be aiming for a minimum of 4 plant based meals per week.
- Balanced eating plan. Protein, vegetables, carbohydrates and essential fat. This is by far my most preferred meal plan. Using portion sizes as your guide and including protein, vegetables, carbohydrates and essential fats from a wide variety of sources at each meal will work best for most people, most of the time.
- Intermittent fasting and fasting. Picking a set amount of time where you will not eat. Most popular is a 16 hour block of time with only water, BCAA and black coffee. This is ideal and will allow your body to start initiating some of the benefits associated with fasting. The main one being Autophagy. This is basically where your body discards old dead cells and replaces them with new ones, so regeneration of your cells. But there is also a strong scientific link to the prevention of certain diseases number one being cancer. Your body will also increase its production of HGH or human growth hormone, great for fat loss and muscle gain.
Initiate gene expression or changes in the health of your genes which is linked to longevity, anti aging and prevention of other certain diseases such as alzheimers and dementia.
So as you can see I am a fan of IF due to these benefits rather than just focusing on weight loss, although it will assist you in losing weight due to the fact that weight loss is mainly due to calories in vs calories out. So if you burn more than you consume you will lose weight, providing you do not have any other associated health issues.
- Carnivore or paleo eating. The great Charles Poliquin was one of the original experts to promote meat and nuts for breakfast, he actually died of a heart attack about 2 years ago at a relatively young age 57. Not saying this was to blame but point being you need balance. So I would definitely include meals where you are just focusing on including something simple like meat and nuts or meat and avocado or something similar.
- Re-feeding or a free day. Sundays I have basically whatever I like, it is not over the top but I fast until lunch and then basically eat whatever I like after that, but Monday I am straight back on the wagon. Pick your day or 2 free meals throughout the week where you will have whatever you like. This is very important for long term success because I believe if this is planned into your week smartly it is not a ‘’cheat meal’’ and you don't need to feel guilty about it because you are planning for long term success as opposed to a fad, diet or a restrictive eating plan. I have even followed this same plan while dropping or cutting weight and as long as I stuck to the plan of 2 free meals it worked.
Here is what my week looks like:
Monday - Plant based meals - 3 main meals + 2 snacks
Tuesday - Balanced eating plan. 3 main meals + 2 snacks
Wednesday - Balanced eating plan but a plant based lunch. 3 main meals + 2 snacks
Thursday - Balanced eating plan but a plant based lunch. 3 main meals + 2 snacks
Friday - Balanced eating plan. 3 main meals + 2 snacks
Saturday - Intermittent fasting till 1 or 2pm then a balanced eating plan. 2 main meals + 1 snack
Sunday - Intermittent fasting then my free meals / Sometimes I have breakfast.
You will find benefits in all of these eating plans and as you can see some of these benefits go much deeper than just weight loss.
Remember we have more of the hormone called serotonin (the feel good hormone) in our guts then we do in our brains and there is a direct link from the brain to the gut via the vagus nerve.
So if your gut is unhealthy then you are not going to be feeling, looking or performing at your best.
I want you to be more concerned and aware how the food you eat affects every aspect of your health.
Where do you start for long term success?
> Keep a food diary and identify the red flags.
Step 1 - Identify:
first step for long term success is to keep a food diary for a minimum of four days. You then need to identify the red flags. When we talk about red flags we are referring to the main things you need to eliminate or change to get your eating on track.
- Processed food
- Soft drink
- Extra large portions or servings of food
- Random, unplanned meals
- Under eating
An effective quick exercise to get you all on the right track is to write down what you ate and drank over the last two days. Once it is down i want you to identify the main areas you need to change to get on track.
Step 2 - Planning:
Your next step, once you identify the things you need to change is to plan out your perfect week.
What does a perfect week of eating look like to you?
I have provided you with a clear path and plan of action that works for me with my nutrition plan.
How you are going to plan out your perfect week, what does that perfect week look like?
Make sure your meals are mainly based around the balanced eating plan but do not be scared to plan in:
- Plant based meals
- Intermittent fasting - make sure you are prepared.
- Carnivore or paleo
Do you have the food you want to eat available?
Don’t forget you need to make sure the food you want to eat is available.
A major part of planning is shopping for everything you need for the days or week ahead.
Get that shopping list ready and make sure you have everything you need ready to go.
Step 3 - Preparation.
Make sure your meals are prepared.
I can’t emphasise this enough, you need to have your meals prepared.
If you are not Jamie Oliver or Nigella Lawson in the kitchen then keep it simple but make sure you have your meals prepared for the days / week ahead.
Use a handful or "staple'' meals that you eat on the regular, for long term success your eating plan does not need to be complex or over the top.
Plan and take action...... and you win every time.