Healthy eating and nutrition is one of the most overcomplicated topic on the Internet right now. I can completely understand why beginners in their fitness journey, novices and even advanced people can be confused. There are so many diets, approaches to eating, different ways to calculate macros, conflicting information on how to start – it’s daunting and overwhelming to say the least.
When I started to figure my nutrition alongside my training, it was so hard. I’ve tried clean eating, I’ve categorised foods into groups, initutitive eating, flexible dieting, If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM), becoming vegetarian, becoming a vegan, and plant-based diet. Despite all the switching and the information from that, I’ve found an approach that works for me and that is tracking my macros but being flexible with my food choices.
Healthy eating is not supposed to be complicated but we overcomplicate so much that we end up setting ourselves up for failure when we slip off track because we are too focused on the end result, and not the process. It’s the small habits that you do everyday that build up to big changes overtime. If you are committed to your health, the longevity of your life and benefits that eating healthy will do to your productivity and performance – here is my secret to healthy eating.
Start Out Small
You need these four essentials on your plate everyday to maintain your body functions and to get your vitamins and minerals in daily. Make sure that for every meal – a source of carbs, a source of protein, a source of fat and a side of fruits and/or vegetables (vitamins and minerals) is included. This will consciously help you to become more intentional about what you putting on your plate, and what you are putting in your body. I would recommend keeping a food diary and noting down how these foods make you feel. Do you feel more energetic or drained? Do you feel bloated or does it give you headache? Keeping a food diary has helped me figure what foods my body likes and what foods it doesn’t like. It’s also a good method to help eliminate any foods that causes allergies.
Buy fresh foods and shop in bulk
Buying fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, meats and fish in bulk is a great way to preserve foods without the extra sugar, sodium and other items that are added during the process of foods. By buying in bulk, you are able to prepare your own meals, learn new recipes and you can put most of the unused items in the freezer for a later date. Fresh fruits and fresh vegetables are packed with so many vitamins and minerals. Even if they are frozen, they don’t lose these nutrients which are great for smoothies and/or toppings in cereals or yoghurts.
Eat your meals without interruption
Do you eat your meals in front of the TV? In front of your phone or laptop? Raise a hand if you do. Don’t be shy, I do it too and it’s a habit that I’m trying to unlearn. Eating is a culinary experience that should be enjoyed both by your body and your mind- it shouldn’t be rushed but you should take your time, it’s a form of self-care. It’s an experience that leaves you very satisfied and relaxed. Both your body and mind send cues and messages to let your know when you are full so you don’t overeat.
Drink more water
Do you find drinking enough water each day difficult? Start out small just like you are with your meals. Aim to drink 1L of water a day for a week and then increase by a glass or 500ml the following week. Keep increasing it week by week until you are drinking at least 2.5 to 3 L a day. As a powerlifter, I’m constantly drinking water but from a health perspective, drinking water helps to regulate our temperature and maintain bodily functions such as digestion and breathing. It protects our tissues, spinal cord, and joints. It prevents us from becoming dehydrated. I have a separate post on Why Drinking Water Is Beneficial For Optimal Health to help you figure out how much you really need.
Create a budget
Having a budget for your food shopping and a list helps you to stay on top of what you are bringing into your home. It also stops you from impulse buying and running over the budget. I have a separate post on How To Eat Healthy On A Budget to help you stay on track money-wise.
With all these secrets of healthy eating that I have shared such as creating a budget, drinking water, eating without interruption, buying fresh foods and shopping in bulk, and starting out small, doing a form of exercise and staying fit will benefit your progress and consistency in the kitchen. Training and nutrition. Health and fitness. These two things are a team. You need both to maintain a healthy body, a healthy mind and your overall well-being.
Until next time,