The word 'diet’ is normally associated with starvation and pain, which is not its correct definition. Diet refers to our daily food choices. Starvation is not necessary and in fact is not advised at all for a healthy diet to exist, and neither is dramatic change to your current diet. For most, gradual changes to diet over a longer period would be more likely to have a positive impact on the achievement of one’s health goals. Gradual changes are also more sustainable over the long term, which is crucial in preventing reverting back to your old bad eating habits.
Fat Loss Diet Tips
Gradual small changes to your diet can be made every two weeks. Remember the key to making long lasting changes is to not go for too much too early.
Diet Tip Weeks 1-2 - Cut Fat
In the initial two weeks look at the labels of foods you eat to cut out as many fats as possible, particularly the saturated and trans fats. From now on, instead of baking or frying, consider steaming, microwaving and boiling your foods. Replace high fat salad dressings with low fat equivalents. Replace high fat cuts of meat with leaner options. Skinless chicken or turkey are good examples of what to use. Choose lean cuts of red meat and incorporate more fish into your diet. Reduce the amount of oils you may be using in your cooking.
Diet Tip Weeks 3-4 - Axe Refined Sugars
Regular soft drinks contain a large amount of sugar. Flavoured mineral waters such as Vitamin Water, Mizone and Gatorade as well as energy drinks such as Red Bull and V also contain a fair amount of sugars. If you must drink them, drink diet drinks instead or use these drinks sparingly during heavy workouts. Stop using table sugars and discontinue the consumption of sweets and sweet snacks such as donuts, muffins and cakes.
Diet Tip Weeks 5-6 - Drink Water
Drink more water than you did previously. Replaces soft drinks and fruit juices with water. Juices, while containing natural sugars are concentrated forms of energy and it may be adding a lot more calories into your daily diet than you think! Ensure that you drink water with every meal and at each workout.
Diet Tip Weeks 7-8 - Portion Control
Split your food intake into at least five to seven meals a day. Remember to make these meals smaller as eating the same amount as you did before each meal would mean extra calories. Remember to split your recommended total daily energy consumption over the number of meals you are having. Feel free to make your main meals a little more and your snacks a little less in calories, but still keeping to your toal daily figure. Keep a journal of all the foods and drink you consume so you have an idea of where you could improve.
Diet Tip Weeks 9-10 - Manage Macronutrients
Ensure that no more than 65% of your calories come from carbohydrates. It is advisable that this figure should be reduced to about 45-50% to make way for extra protein important to maintain positive nitrogen balance once you start to work out. Protein should make up 20-35% of your total energy intake. However, a better method of calculating your protein intake is to consume at least 2g/kg/day. Make sure your fat consumption is 20% or less of your total daily calories.1
Gradual Fat Loss is More Sustainable
By this stage, if you have been consistent with your diet, and eliminated, or at least reduced, bad foods such as sweets, meats high in fat, and soft drinks, you be rewarded with a sound fat loss. Ensure that you keep an accurate food journal, to analyse where improvements can be made if necessary. Don’t cheat yourself, include all calories, including alcoholic drinks. By taking a gradual and consistent approach to fat loss you will be greatly rewarded if you are consistent throughout.
1. National Health and Medical Research Council. Nutrient Reference Values. 2006