1- No refined sugar. It gives us no nutrients, causes our blood sugar to spike, leaving us quickly tired, hungry and craving more, and it turns into glucose in the blood faster than Usain Bolt out of the blocks. It’s like you’ve just had 100 boxes of chocolate chip cookies delivered to your house. You may eat one, two or heck, even three, but that’s all you can handle right away, so you pack all the others away for another day. It’s the same for our bodies. Refined sugar turns to glucose so so fast, (without fibre and healthy fats to slow it down) that most of it can’t be turned into energy, and instead makes its way to our fat sells for storage. Not cool.
2- Eat fat. This is a topic that gets me super excited. Hold on tight. Healthy fats help you lose fat. Woo hoo! Avoiding fat is way more likely to make you store fat. Long story short – if it comes from nature it’s not all that bad for you: nuts, avocado, olives, seeds, salmon, sardines, mackerel, red meat (not too fatty cuts). Some has been extracted for us to make life easy, delicious and nutritious: olive oil, coconut oil, ground flaxseed. The bad? This is the stuff which is a far stretch from it’s purest form: margarine (totally man made), shortening, and those-which-must-not-be-named: trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils. These are loaded in commercial pastries, cookies and crackers. It’s their structure which makes foods last on the supermarket shelves for a looooong time… that gives you a clue where to start looking!
3-Eat every four hours. This one I need to remind myself of every single day. Our bodies need good healthy fuel to work to their optimum, including Nasa level brain-power. I’ve dabbled with different eating patterns, and I think there are pro’s and con’s to all, but for me, I try my hardest to stick to the rule of eating every four hours. This is actually easier when I’m working, as structure and habits are easier to form (thanks to the power of tuppaware). On days off, I have to be a bit more prepared and on the ball. And lets make it clear, its not a three course meal every four hours, it may just be an apple and a hard boiled egg. If I know I have to go 6 hours between meals, after three I’ll munch on a protein ball. Why? When meal time comes I eat less – fact (the starved lion effect is less) and I’ve done something to try and keep my bood sugar level stable – with the bonus side effect of greatly reducing the risk of Grumpatron making an appearance.
4-Treat days. It’s all about control. As I write this, it’s a very cold Wednesday morning, and I am having filthy fantasies about hot, gooey, cheesy lasagna. Mmmmm. So my beloved boyfriend (and masterchef) has already been set the task of concocting a culinary masterpiece on our treat day…. Saturday. By Friday (and the point when he will have bought all the ingredients…. oops) I bet I will have changed my mind and will want something completely different, and in between times – will not have overindulged. Boom! It is vital not to ban foods we love. Food is not the enemy! Our self control, portion size and life balance is! Ban a food… it becomes all you can think about… making it more tempting (and demoralizing) to fall “off the wagon”. Note how I call them Treat Days. Life is for enjoying. If I eat a slab of my mums homemade choccy cake, I’m not cheating. I’m Treating. It’s planned, controlled and I’m gonnna enjoy every, single, bite. Pick your Treat Day, encourage others, and stick to it. The greatest Superheo of them all…Will-Power!
5-Balance. Carbs=energy, Fats=health, Protein=repair, Fibre=absorption. Ok so that is a super short macronutrient analysis for you, but assuming we are eating healthy whole foods, the message is combine them for the best results. Try to have a little of everything on every plate. Fats make food taste a-m-azing, protein fills us up, and fibre slows the pace in which we digest it all. Eat carbs alone and they turn to energy too fast, and we don’t absorb all of the crazy good nutrients too. Know what is on your plate, and question it: where is my carbs, fat, protein and fibre. Will we get is right every time? Of course not! But being super aware – we’re likely to get there 60% of the time, which is pretty darn good. (Things get a bit different around exercise -I apologise when we start talking about food pre/post training, as I’m gonna sound like a contradiction, but stick with me… it will all make sense.)