Fix your diet in 30 seconds. Really?
You probably heard it a billions times – its 80% diet or is it 90%, maybe its 60%?
Either way what we eat plays a massive role in our health, wellbeing and our endless battle to look good, feel great and shave those kilos off. But while you stress over the endless amount of advice on which diet is better – be it paleo, keto, clean eating, atkins, etc – you feel no closer your goals.
Guess what? Im also guilty as charged. As a personal trainer Im expected to know exactly what the right food are to eat and how to get you to look your best. But truth be told I have also found it hard to manage a great body composition as I have gotten older. I have tried every style of eating in the hope of finding some “holy grail” of food combinations which will make me look like the dark-skinned Brad Pitt. (at least my wife thinks so)
What I have discovered is that nutrition is complex. Not because the food we need to eat must be broken down to the molecular level so to understand their exact function in the body, but because people are complex. Food plays such a huge role in our lives. Its emotional, its cultural and its individual. How then is there suppose to be one perfect diet or way of eating for any of us?
Well… there isn’t!
In a Ted talk from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Professor Eran Segal showed us that we all respond differently to different foods. So while some may have a high spike in glucose (sugar) to ice cream, another person will not have this response. Why are glucose spikes important? Because high glucose promote both hunger and weight gain. Excess glucose in the blood signals insulin to store the excess as fat – in the same token the speed of the increase can also cause the body to release too much insulin casing us to feel hunger again.
More research is being done here but it does already explain why some diets work for some and not for others.
So what can you do?
Im my early days being a personal trainer, It would be easy to train well and eat well. I could keep by body fat percentage to below 10% while drinking alcohol and partying all weekend. I tracked my calories, weighed my food, trained five days a week, napped during the day and enjoyed a sauna and steam room weekly.
But now – NO WAY.
I get a hung over from drinking one glass of wine and a late night for me is staying up past 10:30pm. With two babies to look after nap time is actually bed time and my only break is when the kids are in the shower, which is all of 5 mins before we have to dress them, feed them and send them to bed. Basically life is very different now and so I need a simple easy solution if I want to at the very least, maintain the body I have.
When is comes to nutrition I believe you need to focus on the foundations first – that means there is no point finding out what supplement will make me burn the most fat or should I eat carbs before bed – if you have not considered the amount of food you are eating first.
Calories are king and the law of thermodynamics (which in English means the transfer of energy) will always apply – energy in / energy out. In order to lose weight we need to be eating less than we are using. Therefore knowing how much food you should be eating or at least having some understanding of your portion size will go along way into figuring this out.
Our friends at Precision Nutrition have come up with a nifty diagram to show you how to check your portion sizes.
This is not a complete nutritional guide – but it does help you take the first step towards getting on top of your nutrition and getting it to work for you.
Once you understand how to measure your food you can adjust it accordingly to your circumstances, for example, if your male or female, what body type you have, what your goals are, how frequently your training, etc. All these have an influence on your nutrition and how much energy you may be expending.
This system has worked wonders for me. With my hectic and busy lifestyle I am still able to maintain a health eating plan with gives me the right amount of nutrition to look good but to also adequately fuel my work outs so I don’t burn out. Give it a try. It takes a little time to work out what are the right portions and meals for you that make you feel the best and get you the results your after.
Still need help?
Get in touch. We can sit down with you and work out a nutritional plan that is enjoyable and most importantly – sustainable.