This week we discussed:
- STEP 1: Get Honest
- STEP 2: Gain Knowledge
- STEP 3: Adjust Accordingly
Thursday 19th January 2017
Over the past week or so, I’ve noticed a trend with many of my clients and those I speak to online looking to lose weight/fat… a lot of people seem to struggle when it comes to their diets.
For optimal health, people should require good solid foundations in both their fitness and diet to ultimately have a happy and healthy body.
So over the next few days, I’m going to do my best to provide you with some simple tips, tools, and information on healthy eating habits, calorie intake and how to adjust your current eating patterns.
I’ll be delivering this information in 3 segments, so remember to check in daily to get all the good stuff.
Friday 20th January 2017
STEP 1: Get Honest
Know where you’re starting from.
It’s not common for people to either be unaware of exactly what or how much they eat, or to simply be in denial about it. But to really start making the appropriate changes to your diet, you need to know the foundation you’re about to commence building on.
So how do you do this when it comes to your diet? By tracking what you put in your mouth!
Step 1: Track your diet for 1-2 weeks using an app/website such as MyFitnessPal or FatSecret. These apps are great. They not only take the effort and guess work out of logging your food, but spit out some fascinating numbers for you too.
After tracking your diet for a week or two, it’s time to lay if out on the table and assess your REAL dietary habits, not the half truth you may have been telling yourself. Accountability is the key here. Whatever your current diet looks like, own it.
- If it’s good, own it.
- If it’s sh*t, own it.
- If you almost pass out looking at, own it.
- Did I log everything I ate?
- Does this seem accurate to me? If yes or no, then why?
- How many calories am I eating per week?
- How many more calories am I eating during weekend days vs weekdays?
- Are their any particular times/days where I eat more? If so, why might this be?
- What does my breakdown of macronutrients (carbs, protein, fats) as well as my level of sugar and fibre intake look like?
- Are the foods I’m consuming ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’… because, whilst calories in vs calories out is a big player when it comes to the loss of weight, to maintain muscle mass, be healthy and lose fat you need to be eating good quality, nutritious food.
If this is all too much, that’s okay. Know that not only are you now on your way to really making a positive change in your life, but you’re definitely not alone when it comes to receiving an unexpected reality check in life.
From experience I can tell you, don’t ever feel intimidated or be afraid when it comes to reaching out for support or encouragement if you find yourself ever needing it. Be it to your family, friends, an online support group, professional, anonymous forum or even me.
There are plenty of people who will be there support you, judgement free… many of which have most likely been through the same struggles and feelings as you.
But that’s enough for today. Tomorrow we’ll get into what to do once you have your new found insight, so stay tuned.
PS. Get tracking!
Question: Have you ever tried tracking your food before? How did you do it? How was the experience? Let me know.
Saturday 21st January 2017
STEP 2: Gain Knowledge
Know where you want to be
Now that you have a clear insight into what your current habits are, it’s time to workout where your diet and nutritional intake should really be looking like.
Note: You should have a day’s worth of food tracking by now. You can use it for the next step, however, I highly recommend coming back to it after 1-2 full weeks of tracking to get a more accurate picture of where you are and compare it to where you want to be.
Though there are a lot of factors involved in accurately determining how many calories a person should be consuming to reach their goals, a basic online BMR calculator such as FoodCoach BMR Calculator can help you get a basic idea of your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and how many calories you should be consuming to reach your personal weight goals. And best of all, it’s all easy to use and free!
So take the 30 seconds to do it!
As in, stop reading this post, and do it now.
Once you have your number, come back and keep reading.
Now that you have the number, compare:
- How many calories have I been consuming vs how many calories should I be consuming?
- Is it too high or too low?
- Will I need to begin to slowly reduce/increase my caloric intake?
- If so, by how much?
The average person looking for safe and sustainable fat loss should aim to lose 0.5–1kg per week. This of course will vary from person to person depending on the individual’s body, how much a person exercises, starting weight etc.
So how do you lose it? Well, to lose 1kg per week, you would need to reduce your caloric intake and/or increase your caloric output by approximately 1,100 calories per day.
One pound of fat equals 3,500 calories, so to lose 1kg or 2.2 pounds of fat in a week, you need to be in a 1100 calorie deficit every day for seven days or 7,700 calories per week. This may be achievable for those whose caloric consumption is extremely high or have a significant amount of weight to lose. However, others with less weight to lose this large decrease may not be sustainable or practical.
If you’re looking to make less dramatic dietary changes, a weekly fat loss of 500g may be more achievable. This equates to a 550 calorie deficit per day.
I know this may be a bit of a shock and reality check for some. A lot of people hope that if they really apply themselves to a training regime and starve to the bone that they’ll be able to shed the kilos within weeks, however the truth is that sustainable, long standing weight loss (with a focus on fat loss rather than water or muscle loss) takes time.
A sustainable deficit can comfortably be achieved with small increases in exercise and decreases calorie intake… but I’ll go through all of that in a lot more detail tomorrow.
For now, that a deep breath and try to sit with any feeling you may have, be it good or bad.
Tomorrow is a new day, and the first day of many amazing changes to come.
Question: Did you find your recommended daily intake to be higher or lower than that which you’re currently consuming? If so, let me know.
Sunday 22nd January 2017
STEP 3: Adjust Accordingly
Start making some small changes
So now that you know how many calories you are consuming and how many you should be looking to consume to reach your goal, it’s time to adjust your current diet accordingly… and the best way to do this is my making small, slow and consistent changes.
By making small but consistent changes, you’ll be a lot more likely to stick with them over the long term and get long standing results without throwing your life into disarray. Sure, this way of establishing a healthy ‘diet’ may not sound as sexy as a ‘miracle pill’ or ‘a magic shake’ that will see you lose 5kg in 2 weeks, but it will definitely give you the long-term results you are after.
By paying attention to portion size and committing to a diet full of complex carbohydrates (such as wholegrain bread and pasta), lean proteins (such as turkey and chicken breast) and healthy fats (such as avocado), as recommended by The Australian Dietary Guidelines, you will not only be fueling your body with the nutrition and energy it needs to begin shedding those extra kilos, but giving yourself the best possible chance of maintaining the fat-loss you’re after long term.
So pick one or two small things per week to replace, reduce or remove from your diet, and once you’re use to this and it becomes more habitual simply add another.
- Replace – Swap some of the “bad stuff” for more of the “good stuff”
- Reduce – Eat less of the “bad stuff”
- Remove – Remove the “bad stuff”
Reducing, rather than completely excluding, foods from your diet is a great approach when it comes to making a small but tolerable dietary change, especially in regards to weight loss.
By understanding correct portioning, you can easily help to reduce the amount of calories in your diet without the feeling that you’re missing out.
The following chart can be super useful as a quick reference: Healthy Food Guide: Portion Size Guide
- Example 1: One slice of bread is a serving of carbohydrates.
- Example 2: One apple is a serving of fruit.
Whether you’re constantly on the go or just doing regular grocery shopping, it’s worth having a quick go-to list to help you identify ‘better for you’ packaged foods.
I recommend: Healthy Food Guide: Best Packaged Foods For Weight Loss
- Example 1: Substitute a pie for a pack of John West Tuna to Go Tomato & Basil.
- Example 2: Substitute Kellogg’s Corn Flakes for Kellogg’s Special K Advantage.
These simple product changes in the grocery store can really begin to add up over time. By simply swapping from 100g of Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes [Calories: 397 calories, Fibre: 2.5g, Protein: 6.5g, Sugar: 31.7g] to 100g of Special K Advantage [Calories: 351 calories, Fibre: 17.6, Protein: 13.6g, Sugar: 18.5g] or even 100g of Weet-Bix [Calories: 117 calories, Fibre: 11g, Protein: 12.4g, Sugar: 3.3g], you’d be saving on calories and sugar, whilst gaining the dietary fibre and protein our bodies need to feel full and function optimally.
If you want to take this a little further, and try making some simple swaps in your day-to-day meals and snacks, you can find some simple tips via: Konquer Fitnsess: 27 Simple Food Swaps To Make You Instantly Healthier – No Effort Required
- Example 1: Swap sugary breakfast cereals [100g of Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes – Calories: 397 calories, Fibre: 2.5g, Protein: 6.5g, Sugar: 31.7g] for a whole grain cereals such as porridge or shredded wholegrain wheat cereal [100g of Weet-Bix – Calories: 117 calories, Fibre: 11g, Protein: 12.4g, Sugar: 3.3g], with no added sugar.
- Example 2: Choose leaner cuts of meat, for example, swap 100g of t-bone steak [Coles 3 Star – Calories: 217] for 100g of Sirloin Tip Side Steak [Calories 150], or regular mince for lean mince [Coles 5 Star – Calories: 129] .
Whilst some people might find reducing easy to do, others may find it particularly hard due to the ongoing exposure to temptation. Whilst I don’t advocate the concept of removing whole food groups from a person’s diet, I do believe removing specific temptations from your household and workspace etc can be helpful.
The food you choose to keep in your house can greatly influence your daily dietary choices. So by keeping a well-stocked pantry, fridge and freezer full of healthy options, you’ll not only reduce the temptation of your favourite treats, but make healthy meals and options easy to enjoy.
Example 1: It’s lunch-time at work, and instead of going to the cafe for a burger or pie, you have a healthy homemade meal of leftovers to tuck into.
Example 2: After a long day of work you open the pantry to find a tuna and cracker pack to enjoy as a pre-dinner snack instead of trying to fight the temptation of packets of biscuits and chips staring you down.
And of course, don’t forget the benefits of exercise when it comes to fat/weight loss.
A 30 minute HIIT session can get you burning approximately 500 calories depending on your weight and training intensity.
So think about it, to lose 2kg in a month/4 weeks, you would need to cut 15,400 calories per month. And whilst this may seem like a big number at first, when you break the numbers down and factor in the calorie burning effects of exercise, you begin to realise just how attainable this level of fat loss is.
A 2kg fat loss per month = 15,400 calories per month = 3,850 calories per week = 550 per day =
- 30 minute HIIT session (400-500 calories) and 1-2 less TimTam (80-160 calories) per day.
- 30 minutes of walking (60kg – 90kg person = 85-100 calories) and eating half a large bag instead of a whole bag of Smith’s Original Crinkle Cut Chips (465 calories per 85g = 465 calories less than a big bag at 170g) per day.
So there you have it. I hope the information you’ve gained over the past few days has helped, and that by getting honest, gaining knowledge and adjusting accordingly, you’ll find tackling your diet a little easier. And finally, remember, if you ever need help, advice or an accountability buddy, don’t hesitate to get in touch.