Everywhere you look people are talking about how to have the perfect body and diet is considered the most important means to achieve it. This is just not correct! Finding a suitable balanced lifestyle that can help you lose weight, eat more healthy and still have the occasional treat is the most important part. This is the way that worked for me.
I see the same people at the gym all the time, sweating like crazy on a spin session, or dancing across the room in a Zumba class, all needing a lifestyle change. Working out is fantastic and I always have praise for anyone that is active, but you have to be strict on yourself. Working out and a great diet will get you positive results, working out and a bad diet will have you ‘Zumbering’ with love handles till you are a pensioner. You can blame genetics, age, routine, stress, anything that you want, but the truth is that changing your lifestyle to have a consistent healthy diet is nearly 80% of the way to gaining that body that you have always wanted.
To get in the best shape that is possible, I stick to a set process. I am not a believer in diets, I don’t want to starve my body or try something that is short term. My first and main aim of eating to success is to have a sustainable lifestyle. I like chocolates, I like the odd fast food and the odd glass of wine so I found a diet where I could get in fantastic shape and still be able to have a social life.
My first step was to decide what my perfect weight was. My gym offers a free service of offering an ‘InBody 720 Body Composition Analysis’. You simply stand on a machine and grip two sensors. The sensors send an electric pulse throughout your body and measures Body, Muscle and Lean balance (See below. This is only an example and not my own personal data). I work very well with targets and measurable statistics and so created a weight graph of where I was and where I wanted to get to. I knew what weight I was, and what weight I needed to be, so it was only a matter of finding out how to get there. On the graph there are two lines, my actual weight and my target weight, when they both cross I will have reached my goals.
The most suitable diet I have found has been high protein, with 1 cheat day a week. Its a very basic diet and my personal trainer described it to me as “eat like a cave man. If there is fruit on a tree eat it, if there is meat around eat it, if there are vegetables growing eat it, you don’t need anything else”. Although my diet is slightly more complicated than that and I restrain from having to hunt dinosaurs, this basic idea runs throughout. Your body doesn’t need huge meals, sweets, breads, fried foods chocolate, but your brain does!! It is crazy to decide that you are going to eat perfectly, eat tiny portions of chicken salads every day and think that is the solution. The strongest of willed people will last for a week, maybe a month, but there will always be a point where you crack, where you feel like you need a reward, and this is the slippery slope that de-rails you. Acknowledge that the ‘reward’ is part of the diet, but not the focus.
The routine that I stick to and have maintained for the past 4 months has been 6 days of perfect eating with one day (Sunday) of eating anything I like (CHEAT DAY).
The routine is:
8;30; eat a high protein meal within 30 mins of waking up. I tried to eat eggs but after a week I just couldn’t take any more. I have one banana and a protein shake; 400ml water, 1 scoop protein powder, 1/4 scoop of Nesquik. If I was really calorie counting I could cut out the nesquik chocolate powder, but this would make digesting the protein shake harder and so throwing me off my routine.
12;00: I can start to feel my stomach grumbling and so again a high protein meal. This needs to be low calorie, high energy and low fat. It is important to have the right mix of protein such as chicken/ turkey / steak, vegetables and legumes. I was never a great fan of legumes such as kidney beans, black beans or lentils, but replace carbs with legumes and you will see your energy levels raise and your fat decrease.
3;00; Many people at work will tend to feel the afternoon slump. Your blood sugar will decrease, you will feel tired and will crave something sweet. Eat another high protein meal, same as lunch but just slightly smaller.
5:00:On days where I am going to the gym at night I will have half a protein shake. Same measures as breakfast and same mix. This gives me the energy to have a great gym session, and keep my etablosim high.
5:45;Just before the gym I have a single or double espresso, put my music on and switch off. I need to go in to a gym session relaxed, stress free and energetic.
Post Gym Shake:I finish the remaining half of the shake I had at 5:00 to help recovery and anf fight hunger
7;00 to 8;00:Final high protein meal. Make sure you meal consists of a good quality protein like Chicken Breast, Beef, pork, Fish, Legumes such as lentils , black beans or red beans, and vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, and mixed veg.
9;00:1 glass dry red wine. Its is low in calories, great for fat loss and makes you feel that you are still part of the real world and not stuck calorie counting and lacking sweets.
I stick to this diet Monday to Saturday, no sweets, no bread, nothing that is not on the mentioned list. I weigh myself Monday and Friday and plot the progress on my graph. If I have not lost any weight, it is because I have not stuck to this routine.
This is the day that keeps you sane, that keeps you moving on towards your goals. I literally eat anything I want to on this day: hot chocolate, muffins, bacon sandwiches, sweets, crisps, wine. I reward my body with the week’s healthy eating that I have just gone through. My brain refreshes, my body relaxes and by the end of the night I can’t wait to be eating healthy again.
Plan of Action
(1) create a graph with your current weight and target weight and weigh yourself once a day
(2) stick to the high protein meals and the set times
(3) reward yourself one day a week
Stick to this and you will be seeing noticeable changes within weeks.