Diet is the major part of any weight loss or fitness regime and can account for about four fifths of your achievements. You can help improve your diet by planning your meals for the coming week and eating more frequent, smaller meals, to spread your intake over the day.
The basics of any healthy diet are proteins, carbohydrates and fats. For healthy eating, your proteins should concentrate on poultry, such as chicken and turkey and fish, eg, tuna. Your carbohydrates should be healthy ones, such as salads and green vegetables, while your fats should come in limited quantities from almonds, flax seed and olive oil. Try your best to avoid processed foods and refined sugars.
Eat 5 – 7 small meals a day. The reason behind eating so frequently throughout the day, is that, every time you eat, you raise your metabolism. This is why eating breakfast after your 7 – 8 hour overnight fast is so important when trying to lose weight. Do remember that you want to maintain the same calorie intake (assuming that your current calorie intake is at the appropriate level) across the larger number of meals as you ate previously with fewer meals. For example, if you should be eating 1800 calories a day, a rough breakdown across 6 meals would be 350 calories for a main meal, ie breakfast, lunch and dinner and 250 calories for your three snacks, mid morning, mid afternoon and pre-bed. You may need to modify this depending on when you train but I will expand on this in a later article.
Plan Ahead. Choose one day during the week when you have a couple of hours free to prepare your food for the next 5 days. I say 5 because I only prepare my food for Monday to Friday but some people may find it easier to cover the full 7 days. I aim to make all my lunches and dinners for the working week. This ensures that I am not tempted to reach for fast, high calorie food, which ends up being more expensive anyway.
I prepare my week’s food on a Sunday, making sure I check on portion sizes, based on the “size of your hand” principle. This usually means one chicken fillet, a cup of lean mince or a palm-sized piece of steak for each adult. Because the protein preparation is the most time-consuming, this is mostly what I prepare ahead of time. The carbohydrate portion is usually salad, which I prepare in the morning, or frozen vegetables which only take a few minutes.
Possible meal choices for the week might typically include two chicken, two fish and one steak dinner, plus lunches. The fish is frozen, so can easily be cooked on the day of use. I might cook 8 chicken fillets, 2 steaks and 6 hard boiled eggs. Half the chicken (4 fillets) goes in the freezer for one dinner and one lunch at the end of the week. The cooked steak and the other half of the cooked chicken fillets (4), plus the hard boiled eggs go in the fridge, assuming cooked meat is safe in the fridge for two or possibly three days. The chicken is used both for dinner and for lunch. The hard boiled eggs can be used for snacks or for breakfast.
In addition to the chosen cooking day, I use a Wednesday evening to prepare any snacks for Thursdays and Fridays, such as hard-boiled eggs.
On a closing note, always remember, failing to plan is planning to fail. For more information on fitness and diet look at the WordPress Blog – My Fitness Tale