Nutrition is not something that you need to outsource, you have the power to control it. If we focus on small simple strategies we can lose weight, burn fat, gain muscle and live healthy. The hardest part about nutrition is not the knowledge but rather the discipline and commitment it takes from you. Here are ten simple tips that can get you started today:
1. DO NOT DIET… what I mean by “diet” is when you go on a strict eating plan that doesn’t allow for individual adjustments nor accommodations. The term diet refers to what you eat on a normal basis and not what you go on and off of. Here are some simple few tips that will let you choose while still giving you direction:
a. Stick to high quality protein and fat in the morning, avoid high carb
b. Avoid traditional snack food and choose real food. Think of snacks as mini-meals.
c. Choose high quality protein, that is sourced from good sources…
2. SOURCE YOUR FOOD… quality matters so be selective with this one. Where your food comes from and the life that food lived is vital. Healthy food is more than macros, it is all about reducing inflammation within your body when you eat it. Inflammation is a link to nearly all diseases and reducing it should be a primary focus with all nutrition plans. Here are a few starter tips:
a. When eating dairy ONLY eat organic grass-fed, such as butter.
b. Local organic veggies are better than organic veggies from other countries
c. Eat in-season fruits and veggies mainly
d. Choose grass-fed beef and chicken when able
e. Do not eat farmed fish, choose line caught (wild)
3. PROTEIN AMOUNT… the easiest way for me to say this is by simply stating DO NOT follow the RDA guidelines, it is not enough. As a general rule of thumb, for most adults, I recommend all meals be 35-45g of protein when you are looking to burn fat, get lean and/or build muscle. Snacks can vary from 25-35g depending on the individual. However, you need an ample amount of protein to make sure protein synthesis happens!! Focus on quality meats and other complete protein sources. Here is my go to protein sources:
a. Grass-fed beef
b. Organic chicken
c. Grass-fed Whey Protein Isolate
4. MACRONUTRIENT BALANCE… this is probably the hardest part of eating for most people, figuring out how to pair macros. Macros are carbs, protein and fat. We get to focused on calories (will talk about this a bit later) and we neglect learning how to balance our macros out. However, when you learn how to pair these it provides you with the most flexibility. Here are my simple rules for this:
a. Protein is your constant, always include this in every meal
b. Carbs are high, reduce your fat
c. Fat is high, reduce your carbs
d. The higher your body fat percentage is the less carbs you need
e. Snacks are best served with protein and fat
5. COOK YOUR OWN FOOD… pretty straight forward but everyone should learn how to cook their own food so they can control the ingredients in them. When you eat out you expose yourself to high levels of sugar and sodium, which can cause havoc on your gut while increasing the inflammation levels within your body. Here are the best things to meal prep for the week:
a. Cook your own meat, in large quantities, so you have leftovers to meal prep
b. Carbs, it is best to prepare potatoes, sweet potatoes and white or wild rice
c. Veggies, choose bagged organic frozen veggies… easy and they reheat well
d. Healthy Fats, have some home roasted nuts and/or some avocado
6. REDUCE YOUR SUGAR… a quick way to reduce inflammation and lose some weight is by reducing your total sugar output. For this topic, I think it will be easier to share some quick tips that curb sugar consumption:
a. Avoid juice. Instead, choose the actual fruit in its organic state.
b. When drinking coffee avoid creamers
c. Quit Ketchup, well at least mainstream labels
d. Sugar alternatives are not good for you, so limit them
e. Limit dessert to the weekends only… finding “healthy” alternatives ends up
making you more addicted and less disciplined.
7. LOW CALORIE DIETS SUCK… this might just be the biggest lie ever told. Low calorie diets can work in the short term but will backfire in the long run. When you stay on a low-calorie diet for too long your body will adjust its Metabolic Rate to accommodate, thus causing your body to reverse courses and store all the calories you are bringing in. If you are looking to cut weight quickly you can move to a low-calorie diet for a short time (3-6 weeks) but then you should return back to normal eating patterns and a more sustainable calorie count. Sustainable calorie counts will be at the point where you stop losing weight and eventually begin tracking progress based on body fat percentages, not what is on the scale.
8. SKIP CEREAL… I know we have grown up and been told to eat cereal in the morning but that is one of the worst things you can do. When you first wake up from your slumber you are currently in a fasting state, which is a prolonged period of time in which you haven’t eaten. The hours of that fast depend on the last time you ate. The last thing you should do is dump a bunch of carbs & sugar in to your blood stream. This is a quick way to spike your blood sugar, providing you with short-lived energy and fat gain. Instead, choose a high protein and high-quality fat meal. This will create a more mentally alert state while decreasing fat gain.
9. AVOID FATS… this is a FAT lie!! Choose high-quality healthy fats to eat and you will be less likely to put on high amounts of fat, disrupt your hormones, and increase your inflammation. Avoid Choose omega-3 fats and other healthy fats… here are a few of my favorites:
- EVOO (not heated)
- Grass-fed meat
- Wild caught fish
- Coconut Oil
- Ground Flaxseed
- Grass-fed Organic Butter
10. FLEXIBILITY IS KEY TO LONG TERM SUCCESS… I will never promote a strict “DIET” because it is not long-lived. In fact, the only key to long-term success is to educate yourself on how to make your own choices. When you have responsibility for your food you take ownership and that will promote long-term success. Read the 9 previous tips again, challenge yourself to stick to them and you will be astonished how simple it can all really be!!
Watch the 8-minute VLOG on NoMoreSoftness.com where I talk about each of these topics and how it plays a role in nutrition and health.