So you think you know healthy?
Well, even if you do, stick around for the bonus tip. I’m here to make you re-think your ideas.
There’s some serious confusion as to what the goal should be when it comes to a healthy diet. One of the most common mistakes I see with those who are trying to start out a healthier lifestyle is a tendency to pepper a lot of science around, when it really doesn’t need to be that complex. Keeping this in mind, let’s try the simple approach. Here are some tips that I’ve gathered over twenty-six years of experience in the health and fitness industries. These are some of the tweaks and tricks that’ll help you achieve healthier living, lose that fat fast, and more importantly, keep it off. It is by no means a comprehensive list, but it will definitely jump-start your quest to being a mean, lean muscle machine.
It’s a lifestyle change – That’s right. It’s not a session or a course or a programme. These are habits that you put into your life forever. So you better make sure they’re things you can sustain. If something you’re doing is making you miserable, then you’re not going to be able to sustain it. Period.
No crash diets – Please avoid any diets that tell you to severely restrict your calories. They are a very bad idea. Sure, you’ll lose weight, but most of that will be water-based. You’ll probably rebound badly after that. Keep it smart, keep it healthy. Again, this is not an event, it’s a lifelong journey.
Go easy on the high G.I. carbs – Everyone knows this one. Those nasty high G.I. carbs screw up your insulin levels. Reduce them to a minimum. And yes, it’s difficult because everyone prefers pasta, pizza, chocolate, potatoes and breads to other foods. You just have to widen your culinary repertoire to the lower G.I. options. With a little imagination, they can be very tasty.
Eat five to six meals a day – Eating every three hours does not really increase metabolism as has been popularly believed in the past. However, frequent meals ensure you won’t overeat, and your calories are spread evenly across all snack times. Smaller, more frequent meals will decrease stomach size over time, and you’ll have more energy and focus, since larger meals tend to make you lethargic. You’ll also be less likely to cheat if you know you’ll be eating in three hours’ time.
Eliminate the sugared drinks – Soft drinks and juice are bad news. Even freshly squeezed fresh fruit is a bad idea! Check what you’re drinking for the sugar level; you might get a nasty shock. Always go for clean, fresh water when possible. If you absolutely need to have some sugar, make sure it’s the exception rather than the rule.
Water, water, water – Yes, we need a lot more water than we actually drink. A 90 kg person should be drinking at least 3 litres of water. 4 litres would actually be better. Additionally, for those who are trying to control their portion sizes, water will fill you up and help you eat less.
Carb rotation – I’ve found that if you eat 1gr per pound of body weight for three to five days, then double that for the next one or two days, it really helps with your fat loss goals. That means a 90kg person can eat 200gr of carbs for two to five days, then 400gr of carbs for next one to two days, and repeat.
Up the veggies – Vegetables pack a lot of nutrients in a very small space. Plus, they help you go to the toilet regularly. Make sure you get clean, healthy vegetables from a source that doesn’t use any pesticides and is completely organic.
No fat burners – Everyone wants that magic shortcut. Fat burners are the number one question I get from my clients who are looking to lose body fat. There are a ton of useless fat burners out there and also some very good ones. Get your diet on track first before considering any other options. Discipline is paramount.
Pack the protein – Science is finally backing up what bodybuilders have known for decades. Significantly increasing your protein intake is a fantastic way to burn fat and build muscle. Forget the scare stories; for normal, healthy people, elevated protein intake will not harm their liver or kidneys. If your goal is to get leaner, protein is going to be an amazing and tasty help.
Cheating is good – Yes, cheat meals on planned occasions will help you with your fat loss goals as well. That’s because they elevate the amount of leptin in the body, a protein that regulates appetite and energy. This will stop the body from going into starvation mode and holding onto your fat stores. So don’t be afraid of cheating a little sometimes.
Bonus tip! Invest in a coach – This is the one thing that few people ever do. There’s a difference between spending money and investing money. There’s also a huge difference between a personal trainer and a coach. Do your homework. Learn the difference. Once you find that great coach, go for it. You’ll save yourself so much time and effort, and get to your goals so much quicker.