We all get to that time in life when an extra few pounds creep up out of nowhere and plonk themselves on our waistline. If you are not in satisfied with your physical condition, it is time for a change and the first stop is the kitchen. Despite being one of the most overused clichés, you really are what you eat, and a healthy diet can have a profound impact upon weight loss and body composition.
But just where to begin? Below we take a look at some steps that can be taken on your quest to achieving a healthy diet:
Protein. Protein. Protein
The macro nutrient most commonly associated with the diet of a 20 stone bodybuilder in the weights room, you know the one – grunting as he lifts the weight of a small car off their chest. Many keep away from protein due to its association with bulky muscle growth, but that perception is purely a myth, especially for women who lack the requisite testosterone to make significant muscle mass gains. Protein has been proven to be a nutrient which has a high thermobolic load and satiety value. In layman’s terms, that means it helps you to burn calories and keeps you full for longer. Fantastic! Try and include protein as the staple of all meals throughout the day. It is possible – eggs for breakfast, fish for lunch and meat for dinner.
Bye Bye White Carbs
Bread, cakes, pastries, pasta. They taste so good at the time, then after they make you feel tired and lethargic. An hour later you are hungry again and craving the same foods. That is the unfortunate and difficult to escape cycle that simple carbohydrates put you in. Yo-yoing blood sugar levels caused by diets high in the foods listed above, make weight gain easy, and weight loss very hard. That is not to say this advice is going all ‘Atkins diet’ on yo ass. No. Some carbohydrates are essential, but the ones to consume to ensure a healthy diet are foods that have a low GI score i.e. they do no spike blood sugar levels. Brown rice and sweet potatoes are personal favourites and will leave you feeling full for longer. Eat carbohydrates when you need to use them – i.e. earlier in the day. Carbohydrates are for energy and eating them late at night when you are spread-eagled on the sofa watching Eastenders, will just result in the energy being stored as fat.
Don’t be afraid of fats! Fats may be high in calories per gram and the word does also refer to the blubba that can congregate around our stomachs when we have had a few too many pies over a prolonged period of time, but fat gets a bad rap. Some fats are good for us and fatty foods usually have a high satiety value. Did you know you can only transport vitamin A,D,E and K in fat? So if you don’t eat the good fats you cant get these vital vitamins around the body. Without vitamin A,D,E and K your body finds it hard to unlock your energy from your carbohydrates and proteins and therefore more likely to store body fat. Snacking on some almond nuts at your desk instead of reaching for that packet of crisps will leave you feeling full for longer and will help keep that waistline in check.
The big three macro nutrients deserved their own sections, but there are other tips that can be followed to achieve a healthy diet. Consuming lots of water is a great way of flushing out your toxins and can supress fake hunger – sometimes we think we want a snack when in fact all our body needs is a drink. Also, as your mother will have told you as a child, eat your greens! These vegetables are high in micronutrients, vitamins and fibre which promote vitality and keep the body ticking along nicely.
When embarking on your quest to eat healthier, a personal trainer can be a good idea. With expert knowledge in both nutrition and exercise, a personal trainer can help generate a plan which will lead to a fitter and healthier you.