I’ve tried many different diets in the past: Paleo, Atkins, Ketogenic, intermittent fasting, flexible dieting, intuitive eating, vegan – you get the idea.
From all of my personal experimentation and through years of coaching all kinds of clients with different bodies, fitness goals, hormone profiles, sensitivities, intolerances and of course, personal taste, I can only conclude one thing:
Nutrition is highly personal.
Amongst all the confusing information out there, these are 4 simple guidelines that will make navigating the wide world of nutrition a little bit easier.
1. Discover real, unprocessed foods that you enjoy
Very few people will dispute that a diet consisting mainly of vegetables, fruit, meats, fish, nuts is going to serve you best. The key is to enjoy them enough to eat them most of the time. If you’ve never enjoyed vegetables, learn to cook them in a way that is more palatable. If chicken breast isn’t for you, try tenderloins. Experiment with seasonings, recipes, and different foods but don’t settle for packaged food because it’s easier to prepare or it tastes better. Learning to prepare healthy food is an investment in yourself and your future self will thank you for it.
2. Learn to read nutrition labels
The ability to read nutrition charts and ingredients lists is crucial if you want to gain full control over your own nutrition. If you see an ingredient you’ve never heard of, google it. If there are too many ingredients to count, you probably want to tread with caution. To understand exactly what you’re putting into your body, the biggest thing you can do is to educate yourself so you’re able to look past the fancy marketing strategies in the food industry. And believe me – they’re everywhere.
3. Eat according to your fitness goals
While nobody should look past the quality of their food, there’s still no way around the law of thermodynamics: calories in vs. calories out. It doesn’t matter how healthy the foods are, if your goal is to change your body composition, the calories and the macronutrient breakdown of your diet simply matters. Many clients have come to me confused, asking why, when they are eating nothing but healthy foods, they aren’t seeing the results that they want. Turns out, the calories of healthy foods adds up too – particularly foods high in fat such as nuts, avocado, cooking oils and seeds. I rarely recommend clients to track forever, however 3-8 weeks of diligently tracking everything you eat will give you a deeper and more informed idea of what you’re really eating. You’ll find yourself coming up with hacks and strategies that you will keep with you for the rest of your life.
4. Experiment, pay attention and make adjustments
It’s common for foods that make one person feel great to cause another person to have bloating and indigestion. Learn what foods make you feel good, not so good, and straight up sick. If you’re noticing frequent bloating, indigestion, gas, mood swings or anything else that isn’t ideal, try looking back on your food log so that you can recognise patterns of eating that led to certain responses by the body. Don’t be scared to experiment with cutting out a certain food such as gluten, dairy, sugar, processed foods or wheat for a period of time – I would recommend 4 weeks for a fair assessment of change. If you feel better, then fantastic! You’re one step closer to understanding your body fully. If not, then there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from introducing those foods into your diet again. Nothing has to be permanent – unless you decide it’s worth it.
At the end of the day, nutrition is a highly personal, which is why at Real Fitness Training, we provide personal coaching for nutrition – helping make the right adjustments each step of the way and guiding you so you never feel lost or alone. We hold seminars (click here) each month to educate our members and to give them the tools to navigate their fitness journeys, while providing an awesome community to do life with. If this article resonates with you, and you want to find out more about how we change lives here at Real Fitness Training, click here to get in touch.
We look forward to hearing from you!