One of the hardest things that you have to endure when on a journey towards fitness is to create, live and follow a healthy diet that you can sustain for a long time if not for a lifetime.
Sometimes, working out is such a breeze. Some have this notion that they are okay health-wise, since they workout but they still continue their bad eating habits and then complain why they aren’t losing weight.
We all know that working out is just part of the equation. Eighty percent of weight loss happens in the kitchen; 20 percent happens in the gym.
There are so many diet plans available in the market today like the 5:2, Keto, Atkins, Vegan and Weight Watchers among others.
But unless you have a deeper understanding of what food is, then you could not expect positive results.
Knowing and understanding what food is or what it does to your body is important. If you are not equipped with the right knowledge, then you would not know how to control your intake leading to your diet falling flat on its face.
What are Macronutrients?
The first and most important thing you have to think of before building a diet is to get yourself acquainted with macronutrients, otherwise known as macros, and what its role in one’s diet.
Macronutrients go beyond the usual calorie counting. Macros make up the calorie content of three major categories that are required in every meal.
These categories are carbohydrates, protein and fat.
Tracking and counting your macros is important because you need to get the right amount that will suit your nutritional needs and fitness goals.
This means that you have to know how many carbs, protein and fats you need in every meal. Each macro provides a certain number of calories per gram. Knowing the amount of carbs, protein and fats that you consume is important to help you achieve your fitness goals.
However, let us first try and break it down and explain it in a simpler way how we should portion our meals that are complete in macros.
People think that carbohydrates are bad for one’s diet. But it isn’t. It is about the right portion. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into sugar, or glucose.
This type of sugar is used for energy and stored right away for later use. It provides the body with the energy and fuel for the brain needed to go about your daily tasks.
Your brain and blood cells need glucose for energy because they cannot use fat and protein for it to function the way it should.
Here comes the difficult part…
If you live a sedentary life like say if you have a desk job, you actually do not need ast many carbs in your diet as an active individual.
Using carbs for energy, you have to work at an extremely high level in order for it to be fully utilised.
There are two types of carbohydrates: The simple carbs and the complex. Simple carbohydrates are found naturally in our regular food like chocolate , cakes etc . They are broken down quickly and therefore can right away be used as energy.
The complex carbohydrates, technically-speaking are made up of sugar molecules strung together in long, complex chains. They are found in beans, whole grains and potatoes.
Your carbohydrates should come from natural sources for optimal carbohydrate intake.
Protein helps repair torn muscles and tissues.
They are the building blocks of diet and help build muscle tissue after exercise. They also help in metabolism and make you feel full longer.
Some people are scared of fats.
But fats give you energy and it is your main energy source and it also supports cell growth. It also keeps your organs and body warm. And a moderate amount is needed for a good diet.
Now that you know how these three key elements to your health can affect your body, it is now easier to build a diet.
The 4 Essential Elements Of Any Diet
There are three things that you may want to include to your daily routine.
1. Drink plenty of water. 2.5 -3 liters of water is the right amount. If this is difficult for you, slowly build up to it daily. Drink water the moment you wake up and slowly drink throughout the day. It is essential in all your organs and tissues and it keeps your hydrated.
2.Plate your food well. Half of your plate should contain vegetables. You can never go wrong with vegetables. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female or what your fitness goal is. Pile up on plenty of vegetables to help you fill up and get the needed nutrients for the day.
3. Protein is a must in every diet. One quarter of your plate should have protein. It is important to have animal sources of protein in every meal for the best form of protein, however if you are following a plant based diet trying adding a variety of plant based protein sources .
One portion should be as big as your palm. A recommended one portion for women and 1.5- 2 palm-sized portions for men.
4. Carbs should be kept at a minimal. Carbohydrates should only be about 1 quarter of your plate especially if weight loss is your goal. You can add a little bit if you are maintaining or gaining muscle mass.
How to Create a Healthy Diet Plan?
There are also strategies that you can try in order to create a healthy diet plan.
But beware, dieters, because this will take a lot of discipline and willpower to see this come to fruition.
First, set up your own rules and follow this strictly. Rules help give you direction especially when you are just starting out.
A simple one is enough because it lets you get into the groove of things, which you can later on tweak:
Eat three meals and two snacks
Depriving yourself will just trigger you to crave for more. But, remember to have moderation in everything white: white bread, white pasta, white rice, sugar
No snacking after dinner
Eating mindlessly at night — even you’re not hungry — can increase unneeded calories. Other than weight gain,American researchers have also found that late-night eating can affects one’s memory. Meanwhile, Canadian researchers found that it can trigger to negative sleep pattern and weird dreams.
Do your shopping after going to the gym.
It gives you an extra motivation to make the right choices. You wouldn’t want to waste an hour at the gym but buying a box of cookies at Tesco , right?
Do not shop when you are hungry.
The tendency when you shop on an empty stomach is you are trigger happy and will be buying anything that just looks so good to eat, thus ruining your hard work.
Make a list and stick to it.
Plan ahead what you want to buy sticking to the basic and the healthier choices and buy only those.
Prepare your own meals.
This way, you will know the ingredients that go into your food. Prepping has helped a lot of weight watchers as they are able to prepare their calorie-counted, healthy, nutritious and delicious meals ahead of time. This means they always have something to eat and not resort to buying junk because that is convenient.
Healthy doesn’t have to be boring
There are many options in the market that will make your food delicious even if you cut out on the unhealthy stuff. There are spices and herbs that will help you do away with anything that has too much fat, sugar and sauce but still make your food taste good.
Get your own support crew
Sometimes, this journey is better when you have someone to share it with. You can motivate each other and you can share your good stories as well as the bad.
Rules and strategies like those mentioned gear you towards the right direction into creating a good diet program that will work for you.
Those laid out, commercially-available plans have proven that they work. But it is also good to map out your own diet goals according to your needs, time and, of course, budget.
They are important because there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for diets and that is why you should learn how to design your own diet plan.
Each person has his or her own unique needs and you should create one that will work for you.