Food is often the hurdle that is most difficult to overcome in a typical fitness journey. The majority of the population are not educated well concerning their diet. Food that is easily available, cheap and ready to eat is all too common in the diet of many from childhood.
This creates a disorder that is psychological and can only be combatted psychologically. The response is not to go on a crash diet, or cut out all foods you enjoy immediately. The way to defeat this disorder is by forging new habits, and breaking old ones.
Making and breaking a habit is now settled science, and there are many different ways to do it. You can read more about those here. For now, let’s take 5 areas that you should be looking to form new eating habits around.
1. Eat Veg at every Meal
As simple as it sounds, it is surprisingly common for people to go many meals without any vegetables. Vegetables are where the majority of your vitamins and minerals can come from. They are packed with micronutrients that will nourish the body.
Combine to this the fact that they will fill you up, and you are creating a habit that will serve your health and your physique well.
A tip to keep this interesting is to try and have a full spectrum of colours on the plate. Greens are excellent but don’t hesitate to go for a range of colour. The diversity will benefit your gut bacteria and the veg eating experience will be a lot more interesting than just broccoli.
Note: Potatoes don’t count, sorry.
2. Count your protein
If you are trying to gain muscle, lose weight and become fit, then you are going to have to train. This training creates a need in your body for more protein than is normally consumed in an average diet. This is where you will have to put your math cap on. Learn how much approximate protein is in, for example, chicken breast, steak, eggs etc. There are apps that will do this for you, so do not panic if numbers aren’t your forte.
The reason behind creating this habit is that we often will not eat enough protein for maximal results in our bodies. Therefore, being mindful of much we eat in a day will speed up our progress, and will serve you in the long run.
Note: Eat 1 gram per lb bodyweight if you are weight training.
3. Drink Water
Everyone needs to drink water to live, but some people will drink every liquid they can to avoid water. The health benefits of drinking water are so well established at this point that there isn’t any point in going over them again. If you really need convincing, read this.
Make water your default drink. Not juice, flavoured water, or tea. Water. It comes out of the tap in most western countries, and most of the time is good to drink.
The best way to make sure you are drinking enough water is to keep a bottle next to you at work, or at school, or when you are watching the TV. The point being that you should be attempting to drink 3+ litres of the stuff per day.
Note: Don’t mess about with sparkling water. You don’t need all those bubbles.
4. Carbs around training
Carbs are not inherently evil, and too many people in the fitness world incorrectly vilify them. While, yes, they can be easily stored as fat, and yes, most people eat way too many, they aren’t bad.
A good habit to create surrounding carbs is making sure your body is using them in an optimal manner. Carbs are easily utilized by your body as fuel, and thus, making sure you eat them when you need fuel is a good strategy.
Eating carbs before and after training will make sure that you are using them effectively.
Keeping the understanding in mind that carbs are there to be used should ensure that you are eating the majority of your daily carbs around training.
5. Shop carefully
IT is common knowledge that going food shopping when you are hungry can often lead to irrational purchasing decisions. Therefore, shopping whilst full can create a much more reasoned approach to your food shopping.
Another thing to bear in mind is that It is easier to say no to something on a shelf for 10/15 seconds than it is to try and resist it every day as it stares at you in the fridge.
So the habit to develop whilst grocery shopping is when something delicious and unhealthy is
staring at you, give yourself a mandatory 30 seconds waiting time. during that time, focus on the long term benefits of not giving in. Think of your energy, your physique your health. This should cut down instances of you giving in to useless food that will derail your progress.
So to recap:
- Eat Veg Every Day
- Count your protein
- Drink loads of water
- Time eating your carbs around training
- Take a 30 second pause when considering buying or eating crap
Getting some discipline into your eating will give you a much higher chance of making a healthy lifestyle a permanent feature of your life.