Thank you to everyone who commented on my post, “Self belief and ‘The Experts’” . It is obvious that lots of work needs to be done in the health and fitness industry to keep it real and accessible for everyone. My blog content is hopefully a small start in the right direction.
We’ve worked out that many parts of the diet and fitness industry are promoting unrealistic expectations for both diet and training programs. This has left many women confused and scratching their heads as to whether pursuing a fit and healthy lifestyle is worth it! What do we need to do to start ‘keeping it real’?
Whilst I believe that strong self belief and cultivating self confidence is the cornerstone to living a healthy lifestyle in the long term, often our thinking becomes clearer when we’re beginning to fuel our bodies in the best way. As I alluded to in my last post, there’s a huge umbrella of different nutrition strategies that will keep you happy – the key is to try different things and become your own best experiment.
Therefore, with a mechanical focus on nutrition, these are some of my personal recommendations for a saner approach to eating.
- Eat some protein with most meals. A good whack of protein takes awhile to digest and provides good ‘staying power’ between meals. It can be animal or vegetarian – you choose! If hunger between meals is still an issue or you know it’s going to be awhile between snacks, add some fat to that meal as well. For example, I get quite peckish between lunch and dinner so this week I have tried the combination of a fillet of salmon, some nuts or avo, and some extra virgin olive oil and a mixing bowl sized amount of salad – afternoon ‘blowout’ averted.
- Eat at least three cups of vegetables a day – before you do anything else – I personally try to get 5-6 cups in but don’t stress it if I’m not getting there every day. Vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals and fibre and can be very filling. For example – as well as my salad yesterday, I got creative and gave zucchini spaghetti a try. If you hate eating vegetables, the key is to practice eating them. When I first changed my lifestyle, I used to take a cup of vegetables with me to the gym and choke them down after class. After a few weeks, I started to enjoy them more – now I don’t like every vegetable out there, but I eat them anyway. Now this may sound counterproductive to listening to your own voice but this is where learning to cook and prepare them properly make the biggest difference in the world.
- Don’t stress out about fruit…it’s God’s nectar..really.
- Forget transitioning to a ‘perfect’ plan (whatever that may be), but don’t be afraid to try new things. Back to dear old Facebook, I see posts about making your own nut milk and eating quinoa – which quite frankly is a little intimating if you’re used to Pauls Smarter White. Try things out, but don’t feel inadequate if you don’t enjoy them – that is called ‘personal preference’.
- Be smart with ‘processed foods’. For example, back to the quinoa – tried it and hated it. I’m giving it another go, this time from a packet that has been preflavoured with herbs and spices. I started eating Uncle Toby’s flavoured oat sachets before I worked up the courage to try plain oats. Oven baked chips are better than McDonalds fries …can you see where I’m going?
- Don’t be carb phobic. Yes, theoretically we can live without carbohydrates, but when you’re an active chick, why go through the pain?
- Eat at regular intervals. Most of us seem to like something to eat every three to five hours, but of course there are exceptions to the rule.
- Be sympathetic to your menstrual cycle. Women have a need for increased energy around menstruation time so enjoy an extra snack and stay sane, rather than try and white knuckle your way through it and regret a big PMS fuelled sugar buffet as a result.
- Have a little bit of ‘joy’ food every now and again…sometimes we all get so bent out of shape over being healthy we forget to enjoy a treat every now and again. And if you make these treats ‘every now and again’, you’ll savour every bite when you do indulge
Get a few mechanical issues sorted and I guarantee you’ll be able to think with far greater clarity about your nutrition plan. It’s hard to think positively if you’re spun in a web of guilt, deprivation and body hatred. We want to be able to give our best when we do all the stuff we love -eating well is an integral part of that.
What nutrition strategies work for you? I’d love your input!