Nutrition and training are really one in the same - meaning you don’t see maximum benefits of one without the other. A healthy diet can help you lose weight, but without resistance training you can’t build lean tissue to obtain the coveted “toned” look many are going for. On the other side, everyone knows you cannot out train a bad diet. They are the ultimate compliments to your overall health and wellness, which is why we frequently discuss both topics.
For the purpose of this article, we are going to stick to the nutrition side of things. There is so much information out there on what to eat, how much to eat of it, when to eat it and so on. While some of this information can certainly be helpful, it often leaves you overwhelmed, ultimately leading us to fail and fall back into our old ways. Our goal here is to simplify information and keep things realistic. Even small improvements day by day will yield results in the long run.
Start a food log. The first thing we have our clients do when they are looking to improve their nutrition and/or body composition is log everything they put in their bodies. This can be on your phone or on a piece of paper. This request doesn’t come with a set of instructions, but instead creates awareness of what they are eating. Information isn’t always the problem, and sometimes it’s better to see firsthand that those two slices of pizza every day for lunch could be easily replaced with something better.
Drink water. This should be fairly self-explanatory and works for a few different reasons. If you put an emphasis on water consumption (some say 80oz ounces, some say half of your body weight in ounces - either option is probably better than what you’re currently doing), it will naturally deter you from drinking sodas and sports drinks that are loaded with sugar. Even better, staying hydrated will curb hunger as many times the body confuses hunger and thirst, leading you to eat when you should drink. Lastly, the overall body simply functions better when you’re hydrated.
Eat more protein. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, old or young, a weightlifter or sedentary - the body needs protein. The amount should fall somewhere in the 0.7-1.2g per pound of body weight depending on many factors such as those noted above. By consuming protein, you promote lean tissue growth (muscle mass), improve recovery, reduce body fat and help you become full and satisfied. Protein can come from lean meats, fish, dairy, beans, tofu and protein supplements (listed last because they are called “supplements” for a reason).
Eat slowly and stop at 80%. Your body will tell you when it’s full. This is a simple habit that allows you to register fullness between the gut and brain. Many people eat too fast and too much, never giving their body a chance to register when they are full. By slowing down when eating, enjoying your food and only eating until satisfied not stuffed, you can lower your caloric intake with little-to-no effort. If you eliminate just 100 calories per meal…400 per day…2800 per week…it adds up.
How hard do you think it would be to implement these four habits into your life? It shouldn’t be too bad since they are simple and effective. Notice we didn’t discuss calorie counting, macronutrients, carbohydrate manipulation and so on.
Nutrition can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it, however, many people look past the simple foundations of good nutrition to move on to more complex regimens. If your goal is general health and fat loss, give a few of these a try and see the difference consistency makes!