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When it comes to your diet, there’s a few things we want to focus on. Much like the training commandments, we need to focus on the fundamentals not fluff. 

That means the bigger things matter. What you’re consistently doing on a day to day basis matters most. 

Are you doing the following?

  • Eating a sufficient amount of protein? 
  • Limiting refined carbs and sugar?
  • Regulating your eating patterns?
  • Detaching emotion from food?
  • Eating slow?

Strategy #1: Eating Protein

Protein is incredibly important for many things. Most notably repairing and rebuilding tissue (aka you look hotter and hotter). Not only that but it’s great for hormonal balance, cellular structure and regeneration amongst many things. 

With each meal you need to prioritise your protein.  Inside your nutrition guide you’ll notice the most favoured and least favoured sources. For reference, here’s some great sources. 

Chicken breast, Turkey mince, beef mince 5%, Salmon, White fish (not battered 😉), eggs, Greek yoghurt, whey protein. 

Aim for around 1 fist sized of protein with EACH MEAL. You read that right, every meal. It doesn’t matter the goal, get it in. For guys, you can get away with 2 fist sized portions. 

Here’s a great breakfast idea:

  • Breakfast: Eggs topped with smoked salmon, guacamole, and Cholula hot sauce. Plus a high fiber food: either lentils or steel cut oats (made in a rice cooker and topped with berries and/or Greek Yogurt)

For those of you that follow along with Myfitnesspal then you can work out how many grams of protein you need below. 

Your weight in lbs x 0.8. 

Example: 160lbs = 128g

Strategy #2: Limiting Refined Carbs & Sugar

Refined carbs are usually heavy in sugar and have been stripped of bran, fibre and nutrients. When we’re looking to eat healthier, lose weight and get in shape we have to manage the volume of food we’re consuming. 

Generally speaking the more we can eat, the better. However, with the below list you’ll realise that you can get through a lot of calories without much volume – thus leaving us hungry in a relatively short time afterwards. 

Here’s some refined carbs:

  • White pasta, artificial sweeteners, white bread, refined grains, pastries and bagels, pizza dough, tortillas, pitta bread. 

For dinner, you could have the following that links both strategy #1 and #2:

  • Salad with steak, crumbled bacon, feta cheese, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Side of roasted vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts) with hot sauce. 

Strategy #3: Regulating Eating Patterns

When dieting we want order, not chaos. And part of that order regulating our eating patterns. The most successful people I know repeat behaviours over and over until they get the results they need and it’s no difference with your diet. 

Aim to eat your meals at the same time each day, look to consume similar foods too. Doing so reduces cognitive load, improves adherence and streamlines your diet. You don’t have to eat different food each and every day. Do you know how hard that is?

Working out in the morning 6am class?

Pre Workout: Black Coffee
Breakfast (Post Workout): Eggs topped with Smoked Salmon, Feta and lentils on the side. 
Lunch: Naked Burrito
Dinner: Lean homemade Beef Meatballs with olive oil, chopped tomatoes and onions, courgetti on the side with asparagus. 

Working out in the evening, 7pm class?
Breakfast: Greek Yoghurt, Oats and berries on top. 
Lunch: Grilled Salmon Salad, with homemade salsa on the side
Dinner: Lean homemade Beef Meatballs with olive oil, chopped tomatoes and onions, whole grain rice on the side with asparagus. 

Strategy #4: Detaching Emotion From Food

Food tends to be a coping mechanism. One that is used for reward, pain, suffering, heartache etc. Food is then used as a reward to deal with the above. To make the pain go away, to celebrate the good times, to make time pass by. 

If food is the only way you deal with the problems at hand you’ll be eating a whole lot of food. This isn’t a food problem, it’s a lack of variety in rewarding yourself. 

So our goal is to experiment with a variety of different ways (food and non food) to reward/deal with the problem at hand for yourself. 

If we’re stressed and we always resort to food, we don’t have choice. We’re restricted and limited in our actions. This short term ‘reward’ then leads itself to long term pain.

We want and need a variety of choices. When our lives are busy, stressed, over-scheduled, we want to be rewarded even more.

It’s very easy for food to be our only reward because of its accessibility, convenience and easiness. We need to develop a bigger menu of rewards. Non food based rewards. 

Here’s a few non-food ideas to reward yourself with:

  • Doing a craft, getting a hug, listening to music, practising yoga, sitting in the garden, playing video games, closing your eyes and taking some ‘time out’, having a hot bath/shower, reading some great books, watching your favourite shows or Netflix, petting a pet, colouring or painting, playing an instrument, learning something on Youtube, taking a nap, taking a class, enrolling in a course, taking a trip to a museum, going to a concert, going for a walk, meeting up with friends, doing a puzzle, playing a board game, going to your favourite place

There’s so many things you can do to reward yourself that isn’t food related, different ways to reward yourself. These can be for small or big rewards. 

And if these things don’t ‘do what food does’ then that’s ok, it’s normal. You just need to experiment with different things. 

Start brainstorming ideas, write them down and build your own ‘reward menu’. Then when we reach milestones / goals we can pick one to act upon. 

It’s good to have choices.

Strategy #5 – Eating Slowly

How often do we rush our food, guzzle it down because we have limited time and would rather move on to other things instead of taking a moment to taste the food and enjoy the meal. 

Food is social. It’s a way of interacting. 

You may have heard the saying ‘it takes 15 minutes to feel full’. And in a way, it’s right. It roughly takes that time for our gut to tell our brain ‘hey, we’re a little full down here, let’s stop eating‘. And with that, your hunger goes. 

Next time you’re sitting down, let’s be present in the moment. Phone off, distraction free and fully focused. 

How does the food taste? What’s the texture like? All things you should be aware of. When we eat slower we tend to eat less because we’re more aware of our hunger cues. And eating less is what we want to achieve when we’re looking to lean up. 

Ways in which we can do this:

  • Put the fork down between bites. Turn off distractions. Chew around 20-30 x per bite. Don’t have the next bite already sitting on the fork, waiting to be eaten before you’ve even finished your current bite. Finish your food before you load up more in your mouth. 

Take your time, be more aware and as a result you’ll eat less but feel fuller. 

In summary, focus on these steps before you move onto the fluff such as ‘what food is better, x or y?’. We will move on once the above 5 strategies are practised. 

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