Type ‘Nutrition’ into Google and you’ll find 968,000,000 results. Knowing what articles to listen to is probably your greatest struggle. I mean, there’s clearly plenty of information out there, but how much of it is misinformation? So there’s no wonder it’s hard to get started and actually know what to do when it comes to losing weight and beginning your health journey.
What I’ll outline below are 5 nutrition principles that anyone can adopt, to ensure you reach your health and fitness goals without the BS.
Eat Slowly, Like real s-l-o-w-l-y
I mean like, put your fork down between bites will you? I get it, you feel rushed and anxious but take time eating your food and actually taste it.
It takes around 20 mins for your mind to register it as full, and if we begint to practise the art of eating slower, putting your fork and knife down between bites, then we typically end up eating less. Not only that, but we feel fuller and reduce our hunger ratings.
Follow the 80/20 Rule
We can’t be perfect but we can be consistent. What the 80/20 rule means is 80% of the time, follow the plan.
- Eat the right quality foods
- Eat the right quantities
For your goals of course. And the other 20% can just be off plan. Eat what you want, as long as you’re within your ‘caloric budget’. Following this plan won’t have any adverse effects to your body composition or health. More than likely you’ll be happier you can actually spare a glass of wine or that Twix without feeling so god damn guilty.
Here’s what it would look like:
Say you eat 3 meals a day for a week. That’s 21 meals in a week. 80% of those meals = 17 meals. These are the ‘stick to the plan, eat well’ kinda meals where protein, carbs, fats and calories are in line with your goals.
The other 4 meals in the week are ‘off piste’ and can typically be made up of what you want except they have to tie into your caloric intake. So it could be that glass of wine with your meal, or some apple pie after dinner or just some dairy milk between meals.
Notice I’m not saying ‘STUFF YOUR FACE AND THROW YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR.’
Increase your protein and fat intake with every meal
Sure, we all have weaknesses and overindulge in certain foods but from experience, two things we never over indulge in is Fats and Proteins.
If you have cravings, and typically tend to act on them, increase your protein and fat intake in your meals you have throughout the day.
Aim for a fist sized portion of protein with every meal and a thumb sized portion of fats with every meal.
Protein let’s you eat less, without feeling so hungry. You’ll find your cravings subside, your energy increase and your overall fullness increase, meaning you’ll be less likely to crave.
Great sources of protein include white meat such as Turkey and Chicken, Fish such as Salmon, Cod, Haddock, Sea Bass, Eggs, and protein powder. And sources of fats include extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, butter, nuts and seeds (the real things alright), avocado’s and nut butters like Whole Earth’s Peanut Butter.
Stop when you’re satisfied but not stuffed
You know we don’t have to eat to our hearts content and we can in fact just eat till we’re satisfied, but not stuffed?
I remember the days when I’d go out for meals or get home from school and feel like I’d have to eat everything that’s on the plate.
Every last bit. Didn’t your mum ever tell you you couldn’t leave the table until all your food has finished?
Well, that’s not strictly true and whilst everyone is trying to force feed you, you can quite easily say ‘no, I’m full’.
Begin to register when you’re feeling satisfied on the hunger scale and stop when you’re satisfied. Doing so will decrease the amount you actually eat, and let you enjoy the next couple of hours rather have the food coma state we often find ourselves in when we eat too much. Christmas perhaps?
Ideally you want to stop when you’re around a 2-3 on a scale of 1-10 (10 being so hungry you could eat a horse and 1 being stuffed). Think about it and tune in with yourself.
Save carb heavy meals for post exercise
Sure, we may want the rice, pasta and bread but let’s save them for after a workout, when our body is most ready to utilise them.
Focus on fats and protein throughout the day, but with a greater emphasis on carbohydrates after a workout. During exercise our glycogen stored become depleted and with an increase in carbs post workout it helps to restore your glycogen stores, repairs damaged muscle tissue and decreases muscle protein breakdown.
Cycling our carbs like this has been beneficial for my clients in their body composition and for them, they tend to feel a lot better throughout the day for it.
At the end of the day, do what works for you, but these simple nutrition principles have worked well for my clients and myself over the years when results have tended to stall and progress needs to be picked up.
Becoming more aware of our actions and habits go a long way in determining how satisfied we are with our progress and gives us more data that we can use to further enhance our health, beyond the scale.