EAT BETTER, CONSISTENTLY, AND NOT BE MISERABLE!
How to eat better and not be miserable!
As Homer Simpson once told us, you don’t make friends with salad. Now, I happen to quite like salad. It’s fresh, makes me feel good and is a great side to lots of meals. It can also be an awesome main meal if it’s filled with the right things – protein, feta, olives, I’m looking at you! The thing is that when some people decide they are going to become healthier, they think they need to eat like a rabbit and starve themselves to lose weight. I’m not here to tell you how to live your life. If you want to eat kale for breakfast, lunch and dinner, go for it. But if you want sustainability, that’s where I come in.
Don’t get me wrong – I am definitely no expert, but I have made it a habit to eat food that makes me feel pretty good. Your reason for eating better might be because you want to lose some body fat. It could be because you want to perform better in your training regime. It may even be just because you have been eating and drinking whatever you want and you are starting to feel pretty sluggish. These definitely are not tips for professional athletes or someone competing in a bodybuilding competition, for example.
These are everyday actions that you can do to ensure you are eating better and feeling good.
As humans, we are really bad at estimating how many calories we eat. Adding to this, our Apple watches and Fitbits are actually not accurate at estimating how many calories we burn – they can be off by as much as 90%! So, to eat better and lose body fat (if that’s your goal), you’re going to have to find foods that are tasty, but that are also going to fill you up, because, guess what…..hungry people tend to binge or consume too many of the wrong foods.
Our foods are made up of macronutrients – protein, carbs and fats (this is obviously a very simplified version). We want to consume good, high quality protein. Ingredients like chicken, steak, some legumes and beans, if you’re a vegetarian or vegan. Then you’re going to add in some vegetables or salad to your meal. Veggies can be a game changer if you are looking to add a maximum amount of nutrients with the minimal number of calories. If you overeat broccoli, you might eat an extra 20 calories. If you overeat pasta, you could be looking at 500-1000 calories. But don’t avoid carbs – adding in some carbs is also going to help with satiety, as well as giving you some energy for training. Then you can add some fats – avocados, nuts and cheese make meals tasty!
This isn’t to say that you can’t eat any of your favourite foods. I regularly fit pizza, lasagne and burgers into my daily diet because I make them at home and have amended them slightly to fit into my calorie goal. I also eat chocolate on the regular basis, because how good is chocolate? Again, it’s about fitting what you enjoy into a daily or weekly plan so you aren’t feeling restricted. This is about a sustainable lifestyle change, not a “diet” that we follow for 8 weeks and then go back to how we were before. A good diet is one that suits you and your lifestyle. If you decide to go keto and all you dream about is eating carbs, then it’s not going to be long lasting or sustainable.
What are some simple fixes to ensure you are getting some nutrients into your daily life? I make sure I add vegetables or salad to every meal. And I mean every meal. Making a lasagne? I am throwing in spinach, mushrooms and zucchini. Going for eggs for breakfast? They are made into an omelette with spinach, mushrooms and capsicum. Schnitzel burger? Fill that bad boy with salad. Huge changes don’t need to happen for some good results. Temporary changes create temporary results. We want long lasting change, which means creating long lasting habits – consistency trumps restriction EVERY SINGLE TIME. Eating better doesn’t have to come at the cost of enjoyment. Unless you have some specific body composition goal, you can still enjoy your eating while adding a good amount of nutrients in every day. When it comes down to it, the important question you need to ask yourself is – what way of eating are you going to enjoy and therefore, stick to, long term?