diets, what should we avoid?
What are the top tips when it comes to our diets, and what should we avoid?
With any web-search, reviews of the best and worst diets are endless. When we use the term diet, we tend to link this to the goal of wanting to “lose weight” as the big end reward or to be told what good or bad things we can’t have to succeed. But in the fitness industry, it’s simple “the food we eat” makes up our diet.
If we look at the NHS and the “eat well plate” no food group is left out, and this is the foundation that makes up our “5 a day” and our “balanced diet”. Unless there is a health issue or a lifestyle choice, then there is no need to refuse your body a food group to help you lose weight.
So let’s look at what the body needs...
Your Basal Metabolic Rate: These are the calories your body will naturally consume at rest to maintain your basic recovery and bodily functions (pump the heart, fuel the brain, repair cells). Dropping below this level can lead to your body feeling tired, fatigued and lacking energy. So if your calorie deficit is too great, you could be putting your body under more stress than necessary.
Fuel (calories): Surprisingly most diets don’t get people to count or monitor calories, and this is because everyone is built different, so even your basal metabolic rate to the next person will also vary. Your body will source fuel in the form of; proteins, carbohydrates and fats. All together making up total calories that your body uses for its different energy systems (an average macronutrient distribution could be splitting the total daily calories into 45-65% on carbs, 20-35% on fats and the remaining 10-35% on proteins). When we look at overall calories, there are no good or bad calories. Only some food that can be more calorie dense than others. This is where portion control can come into play. All food is broken down and used, stored or passed.
Body Fat: As a fuel source body fat will generally be used when working the aerobic energy system. This is the body’s fuel system of choice when performing low-intensity exercise for longer periods of time without overload. This can be maintaining a consistent exercise for anything from 2 minutes to multiple hours. So a long brisk walk, swimming, cycling, any activity that keeps the heart rate in the fat-burning zone (120-140 bpm) for a significant period. In short to burn more body fat, we need to be moving for longer periods.
Now we know that, like any other machine our body needs fuel to function. But what about when our body lacks nourishment? Try and recognise the signs of hunger and how this affects your body and training. Your body is an intelligent and complex device that adapts to changes to meet your demands. The more we understand how it works and recognise the signs it gives us, the happier the body and mind will become. Being hungry isn’t just a rumbling belly, but can also include; tiredness, lack of concentration, light-headedness, and even feeling irritable. So if you are finding it hard to concentrate or you are becoming snappy, maybe you’re just hungry.
Sometimes we just need to consume more so we can function better. If today’s workout felt harder than usual, ask yourself why. Was it training at a different time of the day? When did you eat in relation to that workout? Most of all if the workout felt harder, your body is saying it was harder, and that’s okay. No two workouts are the same, no matter how much we try to mimic that “last good session”, and that is completely normal too. Refuelling and recovery are all just as important as the workout itself.
- All food is fuel.
- No single food group is healthy or unhealthy.
- We eat to train; we don’t train so we can eat.