1) Start your day right.
Your first meal should be within 30-45 minutes of waking. If you sleep well, you’ve been asleep and fasting for approx. 8-10 hours… Your body is HUNGRY. Don’t starve it of nutrients for any longer than necessary.
Your first meal should be built on Protein’s and Fats. My favourite approach to this is the ‘Meat & Nut’s breakfast popularised by Charles Poliquin. By eating a meal low in carbohydrates, you’re ensuring that your insulin level isn’t spiked upon waking and avoiding the sugar crash later on in the day. Proteins are more satisfying from a hunger level, and fats are slower digesting than the other macronutrients, keeping you fuller for longer.
2) Fats are Friends, not foe!
Nutrient rich fats such as Nuts, Seeds, Eggs & Avocado provide a whole host of health benefits, and by removing these from your diet, you’re depriving yourself of a whole host of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals that play a vital part in your body’s function such as magnesium, potassium & Vitamin E.
Fats take longer to digest than carbohydrates & proteins, meaning you’ll feel fuller for longer. A small handful of nuts will do more for keeping hunger at bay than an apple or banana.
3) Earn your carbohydrates
Yes, your body requires carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores. However, if you’ve done nothing to deplete that glycogen in the first place, then you don’t need to replenish them at all. If you’re eating more carbohydrates than your body needs, the liver converts the excess glucose to fat and it is stored as adipose tissue (body fat) all over the body. Your mum wasn’t lying when she preached ‘a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips’…
The easiest rule of thumb here is keep your meals high in protein, with an adequate amount of fat, and unlimited quantities of vegetables. Did you train? Add an appropriate amount of carbohydrate to your post workout or evening meal to replenish what you’ve lost.
The leaner you are, the more responsive your body becomes to insulin and therefore the more carbs you can tolerate. A bigger incentive than ever to work hard and eat right 😉
4) Quality, not calories
Yes, for some people (people with excellent self control and willpower) an ‘If it fits your macros’ approach may be successful. Yes, you can get results from eating in a calorie deficit with controlled macronutrients. But, what will your insides look like, really?
A calorie is not just a calorie. Everything you eat has an effect on the body. Hormonally, physically, emotionally… Eating a 250 calorie mars bar will absolutely NOT have the same response on your body, training or mood as 250 calories worth of sweet potato, animal protein and vegetables.
Food does not HAVE ingredients, it IS an ingredient. If you have to check a label for what something contains, chances are it’s not something your body wants or needs.
A side note in relation to this point and something to consider: Food is our most freely available form of medicine and so seldom do we treat anything with it…
5) Supplementation is key
I’m preaching a well-rounded, nutrient rich diet full of foods abundant in vitamins and minerals which provides a fantastic base of your essential vitamins for good health and energy levels. However, most of us cannot afford the amount of calories required to ensure we hit optimum levels of essential vitamins and minerals. As a base supplementation for optimum health my favourite daily supplements are: