My grandfather used to say: “You cannot put on weight from what you don’t eat” :) I tried it and he wasn’t joking – you cannot go wrong with this one. It is a very simple way to look at your eating habits. To expand a bit and provide you some weaponry in reaching your goals, I came up with the 5 points that have helped me so far and gave me tangible results.
1. You don’t know your calorie math :)
It might look obvious but not everyone realizes that it’s simple math. Let’s get inspired by the good ol’ high-school times and look at this simple and just made-up equation: a – b – c = d.
a = your daily calorie consumption: everything you eat and drink(eeeeeverything!)
b = your daily passive calorie spent: energy you spend by doing nothing :)
c = your daily active calorie spent: energy you spend by exercising, walking, dancing … any activity really, other then acting all couch-potato.
d = net calorie intake: can be negative (you’re losing weight), positive (you’re gaining weight) or zero (maintaining your current weight)
2. You didn’t adjust your eating to your daily needs and habits.
How many calories should you be eating per day? Team Beachbody comes with this super basic calculator – finding your weight maintenance needs. If you are planning on losing/gaining weight you need to substract/add around 500 calories from the following results:
- Sedentary lifestyle – current weight in pounds x 12
- Moderately active lifestyle (yoga, pilates, dancing – couple of times per week) – current weight in pounds x 13
- Very active lifestyle (HIIT/MIIT training, cross-training – 4-6 times a week) – current weight in pounds x 14
3. You didn’t realize that not all calories are the same.
Each food type has a different nutrition value. There is a big difference in how our bodies react, according to the composition of what we eat. We can speed up/slow down our metabolism, lose or gain vitamins and nutrients, have good or bad cholesterol and so on. For a very simply division, we can have a look at Michi’s ladder and his food tiers. Try to avoid preprocessed foods as much as possible, the closer food is to its’ natural state, the better and healthier. Let’s take one yummy, self-prepared greek desert(yoghurt, nuts & honey) – this will always be a better fit for your metabolism than the same number of calories in a Snickers bar(bad sugars and conservatives).
4. You are not spreading your meals throughout the day.
Do you skip breakfast often? I know a lot of people who do. Also lunch is easy to skip if you have a busy day at work. Having only dinner (late in the day) makes it so easy to overeat. You need energy throughout the day, but when you skip meals you’re not getting any at the regular time intervals. Instead, you get all your energy when you don’t need it – at the end of the day, when you are going to rest. I am personally going for 5 meals a day – 3 main + 2 snacks(fruits, protein bars, etc).
5. You are not honest about what you are eating.
Even though it seems dreadful, weighing your food or at least approximating it will give you the real overview – how many calories am I really eating? Did I add everything? Did I add in the right quantities? The positive part is that, at some point, you will get used to your regular meals and already know more or less how many calories they contain. It’s an exercise worth trying and the key of the 5 points in meeting your goals. Here’s my little helper for that.
You must have heard at least some of these points before – this time you’re hearing them from me :) I also have the following confession – Saturday is my cheat day, will be eating whatever I feel like, most likely sushi all-you-can-eat and regret stuffing myself afterwards. It’s all numbers and biology in the end and it works the same for everybody. A 6th point that is somewhere there, in between the lines, the word ‘diet’ gives weight watching a negative vibe. It’s not about dieting/starving/keeping our body from healthy, full nutrition – it is about a lifestyle and a lot of awareness. It’s about the combination between nutrition and exercising, finding a place for them in our daily routine. I’m already thinking of a sequel to this, mostly oriented on muscle gaining/fat loss. Also, let me know if anyone is interested in a post/updates on my meals and tricks to easily organize them. Will be back :)