Dieting doesn’t have to be difficult. So many of us look at creating a sensible and effective eating plan but don’t want to go through with it. Do you find yourself counting calories, eating only half of the day or trying to minimise your portions?
Whatever you choose and whatever your goals, here are some fundamental principles to follow for a healthy eating plan. Once you incorporate these rules, it will be easy for your specific needs.
Below are eight principles when approaching food and nutritional needs. Now is the time to learn the realities of diet planning.
Including protein seems like the obvious option, you need to take a look at your current eating plan and assess your eating habits.
Are you eating real protein? Do you take too many protein supplements? Have you spaced enough protein out throughout the day? Do you get enough amounts of protein?
All these questions are valid and make sense when you analyse them correctly.
Requirement: Take in a daily count of one gram per pound of body weight to get started. Make sure that the majority of your protein is coming from whole foods.
Whole foods are: Chicken, Lean meats, Fish, Greek yogurt, Eggs, Low fat cheeses and Low fat milk.
Some supplement use is fine but should be used when ending your training sessions and at times when you need a convenient, fast shot of protein due to having no real food available.
Most people believe that eliminating as much fat from their diet as possible is the only way to diet. That the less fat eaten means it turns into less body fat. This is not the case, the positive of fat and how it can fuel your training is shown below.
Requirement: Benefits including hormone regulation, energy production and inducing satiety, healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, nut butters and mixed nuts will help you achieve your goals. Since one gram of fat contains over twice the calories of protein you need to keep your intake in moderation. Try and aim for 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight.
3: Add Carbs
Carbs were always consumed and enjoyed. They gave us energy, nutrients and satisfaction. Now carbs seem to have taken a negative turn. Carbs are the worry of dieters everywhere. We can no longer enjoy bread without feeling guilt or the need to double our workouts in the gym.
Requirement: Ironically carbs are good! Carbs are our preferred energy source and although they aren’t essential, they are necessary in many ways for the high level athlete or gym person that would like to bulk. Try two grams per pound of body weight for four weeks and then adjust as required to your specific goals.
4: Eating All Day
There are more than several diet strategies out there promoting effectiveness as the only way to do things. Intermittent fasting and If It Fits Your Macros (IIFM) are just a couple that use extreme measures to promote marketing and goal promises. All types of new and improved ways of eating seem to crop up every year but what successes have been true?
Requirement: Follow a simple plan of action. One that isn’t a trend or the latest marketing campaign trying to sell everything that is a quick fix. Eat balanced, nutritious meals that are spaced throughout the day. Eat enough protein, carbs and fats that include all of your required daily nutrients. Do this without extreme measures or long periods of fasting or eating whatever you want.
5: Eat Enough
Anyone trying to gain muscle will tell you that they eat a lot of food and can’t gain an ounce of weight. They act as though they are being cross examined when describing their journey to gain muscle.
Requirement: If gaining a muscular body weight is your goal then write down everything you eat for three days.
Look at what you wrote and see if it was consistent.
If it looks like enough to accomplish your goal and that it includes all of the criteria listed above.
6: Vary Nutrients
The majority of diet plans have you eating the same thing every single day without variation. It is true that some meals are great to have every day. Varying your diet is good for better health because you get more complete nutrients by eating a variety of foods.
Requirement: Try different types of fruits and vegetables. Switch up protein sources from meat to different varieties of fish.
Different sources of nuts, oils and fatty fish for essential fats. The more colourful and varied diet you have, the more you’ll benefit from a wider variety of nutrients.
Many people count every single morsel, calorie and gram that goes into their mouth. People keep detailed files, spreadsheets and utilise several apps to help reach their desired goal. Their ways seem to never be enough so they find even more ways to track their every act of eating.
Requirement: Sometimes you get so lost in the idea of things that you lose sight of the big picture. Once you have an eating plan in place, give it plenty of time to have an effect. If you feel the need to track then that is fine but don’t be so hard on yourself. You need to allow fluctuation for the plan to work.
8: You Will Have Mistakes
Individuals seem to have an all or nothing attitude, they are either full speed or at a standstill. Usually these are the people who start everything on a Monday. Don’t focus on an optimal environment and eventual results in order to begin.
Requirement: If you are about to start a new eating plan then begin now. Why wait?
Another strategy is, whenever you have a bad day of eating, just pick up where you left off. Don’t throw the entire day away and start the whole thing over. Pick up the pieces and get back at it.
It Is Worth It
Creating a healthy eating plan for whatever reason shouldn’t be too complicated. Take simple but deliberate steps and set your plan in motion. Do this without overthinking every detail. Use these principles to break free from the diet accountant mentality and enjoy your achievements and goal journey.