Sunday, 12 June 2011

My view on diets and a few simple guidelines to lose some unwanted pounds...

Am I a big fan of low fat, high protein, high fat or you name it diets??! Not really! I have not got a degree in nutrition, however I have taken several nutrition modules at University and I have always been interested in training, food, recovery strategies and how it all works together to optimise sports performance. Today I wanted to post a little blog about diet and nutrition for the general poublic. The reason why it is important to emphasize that it is for the general public and not for serious athletes  is because this can and will be very different depending on what sport you do and the goals you have. However I wanted to explain a few guidelines and try to make you understand a bit more how it works in a simple way.

I have several people asking me about food and nutrition advice on a daily basis. As you have probably gathered already I am not a big fan of strict diets when people are after long term weight loss. The reason why I have this view is I because I have seen time after time that most people can’t keep their regimes up over a long period of time and a lot of the time people end up putting on more weight than before they started. I believe that everyone can stay away from certain types of food and “treats” for a certain period, but I don’t think you should cut out something you like completely! This does of course not mean that you should eat crisps, chocolate, chips and coke every day, but you should still have a day now and then that you treat yourself. As long as you eat healthy on a daily basis, you can afford to treat yourself from time to time.
I don’t think that you need to count calories and become too obsessed about what you eat, I think it is more important to understand how it works with calories expenditure and intake. It is actually fairly “simple” if you want to lose weight and you don't need to be a math geni to figure it out (Trust me I am not!) We all need food to function on a daily basis even if we don’t do anything; this is called your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Your BMR will vary depending on your age, sex, weight and height so this is different for everyone. You can easily calculate this on various calculators online to find out how much YOU need if you don’t do any exercise or activities. Bear in mind that you willl need more than this when you are active and do normal everyday actvities. If you exercise on top of this 3-4 days a week you will need even more on these days.

What I am trying to get across here is that:

It is about the amount of calories you take in and the amount of calories you burn that determines if you lose or gain weight

If you take in more calories than you burn, your body will go in “pluss” and this will be stored in your body. The same is the case if you burn calories than you take it, your body will go in minus hence you will lose weight when this happens over a period of time. This will vary from day to day which is why you can’t really see any difference on the scales until after weeks and months of being in plus or minus.

This was not meant to be very overcomplicated although it may seem like it, but the main message to get across is that you have to be patient if you want to lose weight (or put on weight). It is about changing your lifestyle and making healthy choices in your daily life and still has treats now and then.

Simplified you have 3 options if you want to lose weight:

1. You can start spending more than you use, which means moving and exercise more!
2. You can start eating less (healthier) and not exercise
3. Or you can of course do them both together, exercise/move more and at the same time make some changes to you diet which means that you don't necessarily eat a lot less, you just make some adjustment to make sure you eat healtier without starving yourself

I definetely know which one I would go for..
Who knows what his diet consisted of when he was at his peak!!!
Today I am focusing on the nutrition part of it and by doing small changes to your lifestyle this can and will make a massive difference to the result you get. There is no point in training like Arnold (Schwarzenegger) if you feed your body shi*t. Your body needs proper fuel to function well, just like your car. There are so many debates going on between nutrition specialist on how much you should eat of the various macronutrients (Carbohydates, Fat and Protein), but I think that it is very individual what people need depending on goals and needs, but I belive that having a diet that consists of a combination of the 3s (plus vitamins and minerals) will get you far.

Here are a few suggestions for you in order to make some healthy changes to your diet:
Add some fruits to your cereals to make it more interesting
1. Always eat breakfast

2. Eat several smaller meals during the day rather than two massive one
• Have a snack (example fruit) between meals in order to avoid your blood sugar getting to low as it is easy to eat “anything” you come across then

An apple a day keeps the doctor away
3. 5 A DAY- Try to eat fruit or vegetables during the day and include it in your main meals too

4. Chose a smaller plate as this is an easy way to reduce your portion size if you need to

5. Eat slow! Chew your food properly as it takes a while for your body to realise it is full!

6. Don’t eat a huge meal late at night if you are going to bed straight after

7. Cut down the sugar drinks and alcohol! Drinks are empty calories which is easy to "forget"

8. Drink plenty of water - 2 - 3 litre per day

If you stay active and exercise you will be surprised how much food and treats you can have and still maintain your weight! As I have always been a big fan of doing sports and training I will give you some simple tips in order to move more even if you don’t have access to a gym in the next blog post....

Until then, stay active and enjoy the rest of your weekend:)

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