By John Annillo, C.S.C.S Men's Fitness
The food that you eat will be the number one obstacle when trying to achieve your fitness goals. Whether you're a Paleo, Vegan, Slim Fast, Low Carb, High Protein, Low Fat Diet fan, consistency is the hardest thing and will be your biggest challenge.
Diets are often overly complicated and make it unrealistic for most people to follow them. Seeing results from a diet is extremely easy but sticking with one and keeping all the results is a different story. Stick with these realistic basics and you can expect: a healthy metabolism, more energy, more muscle, less fat, increased testosterone and, more importantly, a different mentality when it comes to eating.
Before you read any further ask yourself, what are the last three bad things that you ate and the last time you tried a diet, why did it fall apart? These problems will come up again if you do not fix them; most hurdles in fitness are behavioral problems that need to be altered. Most likely your last diet fell apart at one of these three stages of eating: buying the groceries, preparing your meals, and eating your meals.
Buying Groceries 101
This is where it all starts. If you're the person buying the food for your kitchen then try these strategies.
Go to the Supermarket After the Gym.
You'll feel motivated to keep up with all the hard work you just put in by buying the best options for your body.
Donít Shop on an Empty Stomach.
This will shut-up that voice inside your head that tells you to buy those amazing looking Oreos.
Make a List.
Stick to basics and add or rotate one new snack/meal a week to switch things up. Don't know what to get? 9 Foods That Should Be In Every Diet >>>
Use A Basket.
It should be all you need. If you buy in bulk you'll be more likely to overeat.
Make it Fast.
Avoid aimless wondering, it will make you susceptible to temptations. Youíre on a mission every time you go, in and out.
Shop the Perimeter.
Most of the food youíll need is on the outside border of the supermarket. Avoid the snack and processed food that poison the middle of the store.
Donít Be Fooled.
If it says diet, organic, or whole wheat do not assume itís healthy. At Training for Warriors we recommend what we call the "Warrior 20" which are the foods most commonly found in the high-performing athletes, top trainers, and nutritionists kitchens. Focus more on good foods you can eat rather than ones that you can't. Combine that with a great exercise program and you got yourself a more improved body.
You've just had a long and stressful day at work and the thought of cooking seems horrible. Follow these strategies to avoid the path of fast food.
Prepare your meals for the week ahead. Eventually you'll accept this as a part of the routine and dieting will be significantly easier.
When you're in food prep-mode, make sure to look down and see a protein source, vegetables and some grains.
Calories can sneak up on you with portions that are larger than you think. Use the nutrition facts to your advantage and know how much of what is going into your body. (calories, carbs, fats and protein)
Some of the healthiest meals can be ruined by things you put on to make it taste better i.e. butter, salad dressing. Find healthy alternatives like spices and herbs. As for salad dressings, simple is better, stick with items like red wine vinegar and olive oil.
Unless you are preparing meals for the week, learn to cook and eat just enough to keep portions small.
Youíve bought and prepared your healthy meals, now itís time to enjoy!
Take Your Time.
Enjoy your food to avoid eating faster then your mind can register it being full. It takes the body and mind about 20-30 minutes to acknowledge you're satisfied.
Use your other hand to slow you down.
Build Your Support Group.
Focus on the relationships with the people you're eating with by enjoying good conversation. Talk about your struggles and triumphs with trying to reach your goals. This will slow down your eating and get your mind right to stay focused.
Not the hard stuff, the clear stuff. Your beverages should have zero calories.
Eat until you're 80% full whether you leave a couple of bites on your plate or do so by lowering the portion size during meal prep time.
You should be eating small meals throughout the day to avoid overeating binges.