To be healthy you need to limit your fat intake. Wait, I meant don’t eat carbs. Eat 7-11 bananas a day! Eat lots of eggs! Don’t eat eggs! Eat the whites only! Go paleo! A ketosis diet is for you! Eat Mediterranean! Eat like rural Chinese! Be Vegan!
What? Why is this so hard? There is so much competing information it can be hard to make sense of it all, so allow me to share a few things that most experts seem to agree on.
As much as possible, avoid entirely or limit:
- Drinking calories
- Processed sugar
- Processed carbs
- Processed anything
- Chemicals and substances that you can’t pronounce
- Stressing out about food. Don’t beat yourself up over it.
- Negativity leads to more negativity.
As much as possible, try to:
- Plan! Planning ahead makes it easier to avoid reaching for whatever is convenient.
- Keep a record. We record workouts to plan and monitor improvement. Doing the same with nutrition will yield positive results.
- Eat regularly.
- Have protein and vegetables with every single meal.
- Fill hunger gaps with small snacks that include protein.
- Get fiber from various sources; nuts, fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains.
- Drink water throughout the day. More with exercise and the outdoors.
- Eat high quality carbs like vegetables and sweet potatoes.
- Enjoy your food. It’s fuel that you need to be healthy and happy.
- Be positive about your food. A positive approach leads to more positivity.
Get comfortable with the above first, then you can start tweaking the plan and find what is ideal for you. Remember that any diet will only work if you can stick to it, so going extreme is likely not sustainable for you, and when you fail, you’ll likely gain back more than you lost.
Unless you are preparing for a specific event that’s imminent, enjoy a single cheat meal per week (a single planned cheat that you are preparing for is better than just allowing little cheats here and there which will eventually become uncontrolled). If you know you’re going to be spending an evening eating lots of bad stuff, you can prepare for it by keeping track of your cravings and satisfying them with your cheat meal. Knowing that you are only delaying gratification during the week, rather than never having it again, will help you stay healthy. If possible, you can also plan your single biggest or most intense workout for that day or the day after. Of course, when you feel how much harder that workout is with junk fuel in your system, it might also help you make more steady progress towards your goals.
To implement, try adding and/or removing one thing a week. Remember that bad eating can be an addiction. Few people succeed quitting smoking by just stopping all at once, so maybe try weaning yourself off caffeine and sugar over time, save yourself the headaches and enjoy watching that gradual and sustainable progress.