Nothing will get you results faster than getting your DIET in check. Sadly, this tends to be the hardest part of any Fitness Journey and will quickly crush any chance of achieving the success you are working towards. Which is why I am going to make this as simple as possible.
FIRST: You need to enjoy your diet. If it is not something sustainable (specifically for you) than it will never work. For this reason, I suggest designing your diet around 1 or 2 things.
1: Will you actually follow it and be excited about it?
2: If you are sharing your meals with a family, will they follow it and be excited? The second you start feeling guilty about making your kids or spouse eat meals they don't like; the whole thing is over.
BEFORE I get into it: Here is a simple and easy guide:
Breakfast: Eggs or meat with any veggies you like
Snack: Protein shake and/or fruit
Lunch: Salad with meat
Dinner: Meat and Veggies
Yes, I know it's simple but you have 100% control which meats, fruits, veggies you eat and how you cook them (just don't fry it or go crazy with bread)
Again, I'm going to keep this simple because honestly IT SHOULD BE. There are 5 main areas I want you to focus on that will really speed up your results if you do this right. You can contact us anytime for help but after over a decade of writing meal plans and helping others with their diets I have found that it really needs to come down to what you will actually eat and stick with.
Here are the 5 areas of focus:
1: Veggies: I can't stress how important this will be for your diet. In a perfect world we would all have access to fresh veggies that are also affordable and won't go bad before eating, but I think we all know this just won't happen. This leaves you with a few options.
1: The healthiest option - Buy fresh a few days a week. You'll get the best nutrition and taste this way, but many can't do this. PLEASE do not convince yourself you will do something that you just can't achieve. If you can, that's amazing, if you can't - THAT'S FINE.
2: Buy an even mix of fresh veggies and frozen veggies. You will find the frozen veggies are a lifesaver when you come home late or just don't have the energy to prepare a big dinner. They tend to be cheaper and just so much easier. Yes, you are going to lack some benefits, but if frozen veggies get you eating healthier than that is 100% fine.
Ideally, 3x a day but I know breakfast can be hard (mixing last night's leftovers in your eggs is an easy win). So, let's aim for 2x a day.
Lunch: Salad or Wrap filled with greens and other veggies
Dinner: Side of any veggie you like
Bonus: Carrots or other veggies make for an easy snack
2: Fruit: I find this much easier to get into your diet since they tend to stay fresh longer and can act as a pretty good snack. Your goal is to try fruits that are in-season, so you don't get bored but if you really enjoy Bananas and Apples than have them every day.
How I do it:
I pack a cooler with fruit before work and just eat while driving. Blueberries, apples, and bananas are perfect driving food. Bonus: I'm less hungry so I'm less likely to hit a fit of road rage.
3: Protein: Unless you are a vegetarian, this should be a very easy one for you. Even if you are trying to lose fat, your goal should be to build and maintain healthy muscle which requires protein. The problem is, we tend to enjoy greasy meats or fried meats. Personally, I am not against any form of meat, and I feel Steak, Eggs, Fish, Poultry, and Pork are great ways to make a solid diet. You may find that the fastest results will come from a chicken and fish plan, but I hate watching people get bored with their diets and view it as torture.
Protein as snacks:
Whey Protein would be my top choice, but nuts, cheese and yogurts all make for some really good options. I am not a fan of most protein bars so be careful, if it looks and taste like a candy bar it probably isn't the best option.
5: Fats: Fats always get a bad label, but they add a lot of health benefits. Being that Fats tend to be the most avoided, I'm going to spend the most time on them:
Here are some of the key benefits of eating healthy fats:
- Reduce inflammation - Healthy fats like omega-3s from fish and avocados help lower systemic inflammation in the body. This protects against chronic diseases.
- Improve cholesterol - Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can raise good HDL cholesterol and lower bad LDL cholesterol to reduce heart disease risk.
- Aid absorption of fat-soluble vitamins - Vitamins A, D, E and K require fat for proper absorption by the body.
- Provide sustained energy - Unlike carbs, fats break down slower and provide more steady, prolonged energy without the crash.
- Enhance brain function - Omega-3s support brain health and cognition. Avocados contain fats that keep neurons firing properly.
- Support cell membranes - The phospholipid bilayer of all cells requires fatty acid chains from dietary fats to function and regenerate.
- Hormone production - Cholesterol from fatty foods is a building block for hormone synthesis including estrogen, testosterone and cortisol.
- Improve skin and hair - Healthy fats keep skin moisturized and hair glossy by providing essential fatty acids and nutrients.
Sources of beneficial fats include fatty fish, olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds and full-fat dairy products. Be sure to balance healthy fats within your total daily calorie needs.
5: Hydrate: If you are working out, you will need water more than ever. Please, don't spend your money on drinks that will hydrate you, just drink WATER. We aren't just hydrating our bodies but also flushing out all toxins. A well hydrated body will move better (lubricated joints), digest better (more nutrients being absorbed), get sick less often, and just have significantly more energy.
Tip: It's time to buy a water bottle. You aren't going to get up every 20 minutes to get a glass like you are telling yourself you will. No matter what your job is, find a way to have a decent sized bottle sitting right next to you.