Diet for Health

An optimal diet for an individual is going to be, at least in part, dependant on the persons underlying health and genetics. Some people, for example, do better with more carbohydrates in their diet. Others do better with more fats.

However, for the majority of people who don’t have any of these issues of concern, the principles of a healthy diet can generally be as following:

  1. Get an adequate amount of calories for your goals
  2. Drink lots of fresh water
  4. Ensure enough PROTEIN
  5. Ensure adequate HEALTHY FATS
  6. Add in enough VARIETY to KEEP YOU SANE!

Diet for Weight loss

Actually… scrap that – instead, replace it with: DON’T ‘DIET’ FOR WEIGHT LOSS!

If there is one thing that gets most people into trouble when tackling a weight problem it is the thought of ‘I am on a diet’. When someone ‘diets’ (in the traditional sense of the word) they immediately set in place a ‘short term, unrealistic, self-depriving’ frame of mind. It is a state of ‘over-control’…

So the first steps in any goal surrounding diet and health is to let go of most of the ideas that the diet industry has drummed into your head…!! ‘Unlearn’ all of the myths that we have been told about what to eat and what not to eat and simply ‘getting back to the basics’.

“They all work…when you stick to them… when you stick to them ” (see: Nutrition Journal 2008, 7:34doi:10.1186/1475-2891-7-34)

This study essentially found that although people receive numerous instructions about what to do to address their weight – very few are given appropriate long term guidance or support with which to follow through those instructions. But as when they DID follow through they were successful and did LOSE WEIGHT – REGARDLESS of the ‘diet’ they eventually followed!

So with this in mind I DARE you all to tackle the problem differently. Change your outlook – see it as a LONG term challenge, a change. Something to ‘create’…  A general approach to ‘health’, ‘fitness’ and ‘balance’.

  1. In my opinion, achieving a healthy ‘weight’ and maintaining this for the long term is mostly about this change in attitude.
  2. Once you come to understand what your body ‘needs’ (and you realise that you can eat ‘good food’ and ‘your yummies’ and still achieve your goals – you’ll see things in a much more positive way!!
  3. Don’t think dieting means ‘giving up’ all the fun things in life, and ‘suffering’ through tasteless foods – find SOMETHING that allows you to create an ‘energy deficit’, that maintains an adequate state of ‘health’ and that you can stick to and you’ll see a difference!!

Ok, ok… so I have talked a lot about ‘eating less than you need’… But how do you determine this? Does this mean you have to COUNT calories obsessively? Well… you can…. If you want…. But there are easier ways – and that is to simply rely on accurate ‘servings’ of all your favourite foods.

  1. Create a ‘pick List’ (mental or physical) which are lists of ‘serves/portions’ of the different macronutrients of protein/fat/carbs It may help to find easy ways to ‘portion control’ here (eg: pre-packed boxes of nut, cans of tuna etc) as you get ‘serves’ without having to worry about dividing quantities… But if you don’t mind dividing bulk foods – then do this
  2. Make yourself a ‘free food’ list (eg: celery, lettuce, cucumbers, black tea and coffee, herbal tea, if you must, diet Jelly/Jello)

Then you can give yourself ‘x number of portions’ of these food groups based on your body weight and activity level…  Giving you the freedom to ‘pick and choose’ your meals each day without being stuck with eating ‘the same thing’ endlessly and without having to ‘laboriously’ count!

Now that the basics are covered – let us go on to discuss some specific nutrition topics :

  • Protein – how much do you need…? Is MORE always better…?
  • Fats – What are ESSENTIAL fats? Do low fat diets work…?
  • Myth Busters – confusion, types, weight loss and low carb dieting…