Cauliflowers are for later.
However, for now my little fitness freaks I would like to
preach to you about talk about diet. Yes, the dreaded ‘D’ word which strikes fear into the heart of pretty much everyone. I could just say:
“FOR THE LOVE OF BLOG, STOP EATING CRAP!!”
And it would probably be the quickest post I have ever written. But I’m not that cruel & it is beginning to dawn on me that not everyone is as obsessed with nutrition as I am and have probably opted to have lives instead…….
I bet every gym has at least one person who, regardless of what time or what day of the week you go in, they will always be there but never seem to make any progress no matter how much work they’re putting in. Why is this?
That is why.
Just to reiterate because it really is important
If you eat shit, it will show. It’s as simple as that.
Two of the most important things you can do if you are planning to seriously overhaul your grub regime is to work out how much you should actually be eating according to your goals & keep a food diary. There are some brilliant free tools on the tinterweb but the most user friendly ones in my opinion can be found at Bodybuilding.com. There is a macronutrient calculator which (assuming you have an idea of how much you actually weigh) is a brilliant starting point for breaking it all down. There is also a whole selection of other nutrition tools & calculators. to help you get in to the nitty gritty of it all once you find your feet a bit. There is even a printable food log for the fan of good old fashioned paper record keeping. If however like me, you have a habit of losing pieces of paper in among all the other pieces of paper strewn around your home & office, you may want to opt for something you can track on line. For this, I quite like My Fitness Pal. You can keep a daily food diary which will track the overall calorie intake, carbs, protein, fat, fibre, sugar etc. There are a few options so you can change the focus so for example, if you don’t give a monkeys how much sugar you a necking but want to avoid sodium, then you can adjust it in the settings. There are a couple of things to be mindful of though. It is kind of set up on a default that it assumes everyone wants to lose weight & it doesn’t differentiate between natural sugars in fruits, vegetables etc & added sugar in refined foods. So if you don’t want to lose weight but use it as a tracker only, my tip would be to ignore the default calorie setting & go by whatever you have worked out your recommended calorie intake to be. With regards to the sugar, I don’t include any naturally occurring sugars in my final total. So if for example it is telling me I have consumed 20g of sugar for the day, but 15g of them were from natural sources, then as far as I am concerned I have consumed just over a teaspoon of added sugar which takes me well within the recommended guidelines of no more than 6 teaspoons & I give myself a pat on the back or flog myself with a damp teacloth, (depending on where the opinion of how much sugar we should eat is currently sitting according to the Daily Mail). I recommend before you start changing your diet, that you complete a day based on what you currently eat & be completely honest. It will be a real eye opener & the majority of people I know who have done this are shocked by the amount they are eating & it’s been a real wake up call for them. There are lots of other nutrition tracking sites & apps out there with all the bells & whistles on them but for many of them there is a fee. My Fitness Pal is free.
So, You’ve worked out how much you should be eating, you’ve tracked your food for the day & realise you’re shovelling enough food into your mouth to keep a family of four going for a week. Where do you go from here?
Now, this part can be as easy or as difficult as you want to make it. You can either:
1) Carry on eating the kind of food you already do, just in smaller amounts because hey, everything in moderation right?
2) You could even follow the current trend of missing meals & then filling your pie hole full of any sugar & chemical laden rubbish you can get your hands on after a workout Because. You. Earned. It.
3) You could even do both of these but realistically, how long would you be able to keep this up before you started to feel cheated? I try not to dwell too much on ‘calories’ as there is far more to good nutrition than calorie intake alone but for simplicity sake I will use them in this example. If your totally calorie intake is set at 1500 (as I said this is just an example, other calorie intake amounts are available) in the world of junk food this would equate to:
Breakfast of Frosties & semi skimmed milk = 152 calories (this is assuming you actually only have the recommended serving, the chances are it will be more). A cup of coffee with 2 sugars = 40 calories.
Total for breakfast = 192 calories (1308 calories remaining for the day).
Lunch of Big Mac = 490 calories. Fries = 330 calories & wash it down with a strawberry milkshake = 380 calories
Total for lunch = 1200 calories (108 calories remaining for the day)
You see where I am going with this, by the end of lunch time you have 108 calories to last you until bed time. That’s 108 calories to share between your cups of tea/coffee & evening meal. I hope you like eating lots of lettuce. Yes you can burn off calories in the gym to give you more to play with, but if that was going to work you would already be lean & shredded wouldn’t you? ;-)
How about the point system of working? Again as above, how long can you keep it up? These things are great for a kick start but don’t really encourage people to move forward & learn why they should only be eating X amount of something. In my opinion improving the diet should be focusing on re education of eating habits rather than reducing serving sizes.
So this only leaves one option. You’re going to have to eat clean. Yep, I know it’s unreasonable isn’t it to have to eat as pretty much as nature intended? What is eating clean? It is eating plenty of vegetables & fruits. Lean meats & fish. Nuts & seeds. What it isn’t however (see point 2 above), is hash tagging a #eatclean selfie of you wearing your skimpiest gym gear while scoffing a bowl full of ice-cream mixed with just about any sweet/biscuit/chocolate bar you can get your hands on. That kind of stuff is just bull shit perpetuated by a breed of skinny fats who really have no place in fitness. Silly little twig like girls trying to peddle the image that yep, you can go to the gym, eat shit & look like me!! What they conveniently forget to tell you is that it’s the first thing they have eaten in 2 days & they probably won’t be keeping it down either. I say this from some what of a position of authority as I was one of those girls & believe me, there is no bigger power trip than having someone believe you can eat what the hell you want & still remain tiny. IT’S A LIE. Please do not be sucked in to feeling “I will never look like them, so what’s the point?” Do it properly. Eat well & do it safely. I’m not going to give you one of those “If I could go back & tell my teenage self…” craps because I’m a great believer in everything happening for a reason. If I hadn’t spent the best part of 20 years of my life with eating disorders I undoubtedly would not have the knowledge I do & I wouldn’t be heading in to a career I love. But what I can do, is warn others. I can’t stop them as ultimately everyone will chose their own path but as they say, to be forewarned & all that……….
And just so there is no confusion, this is not a quick fix it is forever. There are no short cuts if there were I would have found them by now. ;-) It is a lifestyle change. ( I feel I have to point this out as it isn’t immediately obvious to a lot of people. I realised this when I got a text message from a friend I had been giving bits of advice too, which went something along the lines of
Ronald: If I see another vegetable piece of chicken or fish I’m going to kill myself!!
Me: How long you been eating clean now?
Ronald: Six days…..How long do I have to keep this shit up for???
Now for the Ronald’s of this world, if the thought of never ever eating anything ‘unclean’ ever again makes you want to head for the top of the nearest tall building why not opt for a day off once a week? You have rest days from the exercise so why not do the same with the nutrition? I try not to think of them as treat days – You don’t need to reward yourself with food, you’re not a dog. Or cheat days – This just reminds me of my ex husband & implies that you’re doing something sneaky & underhanded, which he invariably was. Have a day where you eat what you want. The chances are once you have been eating clean for a while you will no longer want to eat junk food because it makes you feel bloated & sluggish after a week of clean eating or because you just don’t enjoy it anymore.
If you have a day where you don’t eat so well, don’t beat yourself up. Start again the next day. Just don’t use this excuse for weeks at a time ‘Ronald’ style. If you need advice don’t be afraid to ask there are lots of nutrition types on Twitter, Facebook etc who are more than happy to answer questions – but please don’t be cheeky. Answering questions is one thing but expecting someone to write you a whole diet plan free of charge is taking the piss.
So I’ve ranted on quite a bit in this post but if it gives only one person a starting point, then it’s been worth it *polishes halo*
Now we have established what you should be eating next time I am going to cover how you can eat it. You may be thinking “Meh, vegetables…boiled, roasted, steamed or grilled. What else can you do with them?” Well, you would be surprised just how versatile they are…. and that my friends, is where the cauliflowers come in……. :-)
You can actually adjust the settings on My Fitness Pal to suit your goals. Whether they are staying the same weight, gaining weight or losing. But then you’re probably all a lot more compootah savvy than me & have already found that out for yourself. Sorry about that……………