The “best” diet doesn’t exist.
There’s hundreds of coaches and companies that will argue that point but it’s all a matter of opinion. There are however some general rules or guidelines that do apply to most people and can be followed with great results.
When I say most people, I’m referring to non-athletes. The guys and girls that want to lead a healthier, active lifestyle and are looking to lose a few kg’s in the process.
I’m not saying that these guidelines don’t apply to athletes, they do. However, for most athletes, these guidelines are already embedded into their daily eating and training habits and they require a more specific approach to nutrition.
Now that we’ve got that part covered, let’s talk food.
The health and fitness industry can be an extremely confusing landscape to navigate due to the abundance of information and opinions being readily shared across all the social media channels.
The biggest issue with this is CONTEXT.
There’s a ton of fantastic information out there but a lot of it is read and applied in the wrong context.
For example. A bodybuilder preparing for a contest will combine 4 – 6 weight training sessions per week with regular bouts of both high and low intensity cardiovascular exercise, every meal is methodically planned, weighed, measured and accurately recorded down to the gram and calorie. Is this essential to get into unnaturally low body fat levels for competition – Yes.
Is this a necessary approach for a busy guy working 40 – 60 hours per week looking to lose 5-10 kilos? No.
However, if an article written for the bodybuilding audience was titled “The 6 Pack Diet Plan” and highlighted the details I mentioned above, it would still grab the attention of both readers but it won’t work for both readers for multiple reasons.
For everyday people, especially those who are just starting out exercising and eating healthier, tracking macro’s, counting calories and utilising cheat meals or refeeds is overly complicated and sets them up for information overload, Info overload tends to lead to inaction.
If you’re trying to get your health back in check, lose a few a kilos and want to follow a healthier eating patter then let’s keep it simple.
Get the most out of the least and as you travel further down the path of improved health and increased fitness, if your hunger for knowledge grows, you can start to explore tracking your macronutrients and managing your daily calorie intake.
All too often though, coaches and clients alike try to run before they can walk.
In the beginning there’s really only 2 things you need to focus on:
#1 – J.E.R.F (Just Eat Real Food)
There’s a stereotype that athletes and fitness fanatics all eat healthy all the time and for the most part this is a pretty accurate assumption. Sure, we all enjoy a little junk food every now and again but the majority of our meals are lean meats, vegetables, some starches, little sugar and rarely deep fried.
Your habits form your life and dictate your behaviours. By focusing on the JERF principle you start to become more aware of the junk you’re eating too regularly and you start to change what’s on your plate.
The simplest changes you can make today:
Eat at least 2 x fist sized servings of salad or veggies at each main meal.
Eat 1 – 2 pieces of fruit per day
Have a lean serving of protein with each main meal
#2 – Intentional Eating
This is what forms the basis of a healthy athlete, or fitness fanatics diet. They are intentional about the foods they eat and the quantity they consume. As always, there’s a few who take things to the extreme and that’s just the nature of the beast.
Unfortunately, most of us have become too busy for our own good. The simple act of intentionally eating good food is almost non-existent for most people.
Eating on the run, forgetting to prepare food in advance and not having it in the fridge at home are just a few of the reasons why so many people fall into the rut of eating on the fly, and just ‘grabbing something quick’ which is usually not a great option.
When push comes to shove, if you’re trying to lose weight, improve your health or make a lifestyle change, you need to become a lot more intentional with your food choices.
Becoming more intentional takes thought and consistency, but it will soon become a great habit.
Here’s 3 simple strategies to help you become more intentional with your eating:
Do your grocery shopping on the weekend and make sure you purchase enough groceries for the week.
Start preparing your meals the day before. Get breakfast ready the night before, set yourself up for success by preparing meals in advance and either freeze them or keep them in fridge for convenience.
Plan your dinners for the week. Especially if you’ve got to cook for your partner or your family. Plan out your dinners that way when you get home from work you know what’s on and you know you’ve got the food in the fridge ready to go.
In the beginning, it doesn’t need to be any more complicated than this. After a few weeks or even months of following the J.E.R.F principle and eating intentionally if you’d like to learn more or take things to the next level, sure, begin tracking calories and macronutrients.
For now, keep it simple and keep it consistent.
You’ll be surprised with how much you can achieve with these two strategies.