For most people its not about tracking everything and dieting all the time, its about installing good habits and building a good relationship with food.
Losing weight requires a calorie deficit. There must be a slight element of restriction but a calorie deficit means controlling the energy balance of calories in vs calories out. Be consistent with that and you won’t have to bounce from every fad diet to the next to get a result.
You don’t need to restrict everything, we must find a healthy balance, a healthy relationship with food, not depriving ourselves from eating, socialising and enjoying life.
How do we create good habits? How do we create a healthy relationship with food?
We’ve said before that tracking everything all the time isn’t for everyone, but its certainly a good place to start to create some consistency.
If weight loss/fat loss is the primary goal, then tracking your calories is the number one most important thing to do. Being aware of the amount of calories we are consuming is essential.
In the hierarchy of importance, meal timing is not that important and we should focus on total calories in a 24hour period but being consistent with the time you eat can create good habits and can prevent mindless snacking.
Focus on getting the majority of your food from single whole ingredient foods, such as meats, fish, dairy, wholegrain, vegetables and fruits. Be flexible, take about 10% of your total daily calorie allowance and enjoy some highly palatable foods. Regularly consuming foods that are enjoyable and tasty to your palate will help prevent bingeing and snacking.
Read food labels, get an idea about the amount of calories and protein in food. Start to introduce other foods into your diet, be flexible in the foods you eat, this will help nutrition become more interesting and easier to sustain long term.
Once we start to create some consistency with tracking, we will move slowly away from tracking from an app and start tracking our intake by eye. This will help the flexibility in our approach which in turn brings about a healthier relationship with food.
Remember there is no such thing as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods, it’s just food, with different nutritional value. Don’t feel guilty when we consume certain foods. It only becomes an issue when we consume too many calories from foods. You can still gain weight from eating too many calories from chicken and broccoli.
Being flexible in the foods you eat will bring about a much healthier relationship with food, prevent bingeing and snacking and will allow you to enjoy foods without feeling guilty.
We should be able to enjoy our life, go out and socialise without feeling restricted as to what we can eat and drink.
“Health, fitness and nutrition should enhance our lives, not consume it”
– Dan Smith –
Director of nutritional coaching – The PT Centre
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