One of the most common things our members ask our fitness teams for is diet tips. Nutrition and exercise are the two cornerstones of achieving your ideal shape. We also know there’s a huge amount of information out there, and that much of it is contradictory and confusing. We decided to create a list of easily remembered and applied diet tips that cut through the fads and fluff.
1. A calorie is always a calorie
At a very basic level, when it comes to weight management it doesn’t matter whether your calories come from fat, protein, or carbs. If you’re eating more calories than you burn for energy each day will make you gain wight. Simples.
2. Make every mouthful count
You have a fixed amount of calories you can consume each day without gaining weight. You also need a certain amount of different nutrients to stay healthy. Balancing these two requirements means you should mostly choose foods that contribute necessary nutrients. In plain English, mostly whole grains, vegetables etc. and occasional cake.
3. Simpler is better
As a general rule, the more ingredients something has, the less likely it is to be good for you. The exception here are herbs and spices, where you’re free to add whatever you like making it one of our favourite diet tips. The same goes for preparation. If you need a factory not a kitchen to reproduce it, it’s unlikely to be the best food choice.
4. Healthy doesn’t mean expensive
You can buy many seasonal fruits and vegetables for under €1 and staples like onions and tinned tomatoes are just cents, among the cheapest products in the supermarket. Smart choices about which bits of meat to eat can cut your shopping bill too. Chicken thighs are half the price of chicken breasts. They’re tastier and juicier too, negating the need to coat them in breadcrumbs.
5. The 80/20 rule
Many people get put off eating well because they find it too restrictive. Which many diets are. But if you apply the 80/20 rule, eating well 80% of the time and allowing yourself whatever takes your fancy the other 20%, you’ll find it much more sustainable.
6. Fat doesn’t make you fat
For a long time, fat was advertised as the thing that made you fat. Our shelves are still crammed too bursting with low fat products. But then, we used to allow cigarette advertising to children too. Fat only makes you fat if you eat too much (see point one). And you need to eat fat from fish oil and non animal sources such as seeds and avocados to stay healthy and support your weight loss.
7. Eat sugar sparingly
The low fat products we just mentioned are often crammed with sugar. Which can be bad for you. Check out our article on sugar for more information, but for the purposes of these diet tips, just eat it sparingly.
8. Plan ahead
Investing just 30 minutes planning the week’s meals on a Sunday night when you’d be plopped in front of the TV makes a massive difference to your food choices for the week. You don’t have to spend hours chopping lettuce. Just make sure you know where you’re getting each meal from and how it fits into your 80/20 plan.
9. Don’t shop when you’re hungry
This is a killer for all of us at Gym Plus. You’ve finished your workout and you stop at the supermarket on your way home. All of a sudden you’ve got a trolley full of refined, processed foods because your brain is telling you to refuel and fast. Instead, shop after a meal or snack, and with a list to keep on track.
10. Beware diet tips from books
In order to sell books, diet “experts” follow a formula. They promise you the perfect body. They tell you that the only way to get your dream body is to follow their plan. The plan in their book. And they make that plan very specific and restrictive to differentiate it from the hundreds of other plans in other books. You follow the plan, lose a bit of weight, lose focus, lose heart and regain the weight. Making you a prime candidate for the next expert’s book. And so it goes on…
Sustainable, healthy habits that are easy to remember and apply will see you get the shape you want AND keep it.