Keep it real – eating real food is the only way forward and I’ll tell you why.
With January looming our supermarkets are full of products aimed at people looking for so called “healthy” options like low calorie, low carb or low sugar products. However, anything that has been tampered with like low calorie or low carb foods are usually too good to be true and may even be the worst thing for you. If dieting was that easy, we’d all have killer beach bods all year round!
Products containing artificial preservatives and sweeteners (basically man-made chemicals), your body finds hard to process as they are not found in nature and often these additives can lead to you craving more. Not only this, but you are depriving your body of necessary nutrients that you need to keep you healthy and satiated. There is even research (Vasanti S.Malik et al.) suggests that added chemicals like artificial sweeteners and sugar alternatives may actually increase your risk of metabolic syndrome (the medical term for the combination of high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity).
So unfortunately, if you want to eat well there is no quick fix. A balanced diet with lots of protein, vegetables and whole grains is the only way forward. Keeping the vegetable count high provides an abundance of nutrients the body needs on a daily basis, so keep it fresh and mix it up when it comes to your vegetable selection – aim to eat a rainbow-a-day.
When it comes to meal planning keep protein high, it really is true that it will keep you feeling fuller for longer. This is because when eating, especially foods high in carbohydrate, you stimulate insulin production which causes your blood sugar to spike and makes it easier to put weight on. That’s where protein comes in and why it is so influential. It helps to control your blood sugar level, keeping you feeling fuller for longer and burning more calories during the digestion process. Even fruit could become a poisoned apple if you’re not careful. Having fruit on its own could lead to a spike in blood sugar levels which could lead to a rollercoaster throughout the day. This effect is even more pronounced when the fruit in question is in juice and smoothie form as your body digests the sugar even more quickly. Sugar really is something to be cautious of and the topic of a blog in itself!
When trying to stick to a healthy diet, planning ahead for the week is crucial and can really help you stick to a meal plan. It’s important to be aware of what’s ahead of you and think sensibly about what is achievable (Is cooking a chicken and veg packed stew really going to be realistic on a night where the kids have football practice or you’re working late?). I’m not saying spend the whole weekend cooking for the week ahead but things like making extra to freeze and having a few quick recipes up your sleeve takes that pressure off of the morning commute time. And it goes without saying that having a plan and sticking to it when shopping makes it much easier to stick to a meal plan too as if it’s not like n the cupboard you are much less likely to reach for a quick fix!!
So in summary…
- Keep to whole, untampered foods.
- Fresh is always better, shop organic if you can but ultimately keep it affordable.
- Support local businesses, they offer great local produce and you know where it has come from.
- Balance is key – carbohydrates and healthy fats are not the enemy but make smart choices and always combine them with protein.
- Avoid sugars wherever possible and remember that they can sabotage your good intentions for the day!
Contact Personal Trainer Josh Juryeff for help working out a balanced nutritional diet.