Consistency is key with everything about a healthy lifestyle and this is definitely the case for your diet. You have to have a fairly structured approach to what you eat if you want to achieve results.
Here are 4 simple and effective ways of keeping your healthy eating track:
A “diet plan” isn’t what we mean here. However, to be consistent in your healthy eating you do need to have a structured plan.
Whether that’s tracking your food by hand in a notebook or using an app, making sure you stick to an exact target every day will help you to control your calorie intake and have a clearer picture of what you’re going to eat and when. Being organised really does help take away some of the temptation of just grabbing something as you go.
Mastering meal prep is something we’ve talked about before and it really will help you reach your fitness goals more quickly. Take away the stress of daily food decisions by knowing you already have healthy choices ready in the fridge or freezer.
A couple of days a week spent cooking are worth the time saved when you’re deliberating over what to eat and occasionally picking the wrong choices.
So many people go into a new healthy lifestyle with the belief they have to start eating and drinking things they don’t like. If you don’t like fish, don’t eat it, if you don’t want to drink green smoothies don’t drink them.
No foods are mandatory and if you want to stick to your new healthy eating approach you’ve got to enjoy it. If you don’t like certain fruits and vegetables swap in others instead and plan an approach to healthy eating which embraces the foods you do enjoy.
Rigid diet plans with no opportunity for enjoyment lead to failure. Most personal trainers and professionals suggest that focusing between 75% and 90% of your diet on nutrient-dense, non-processed and fresh foods is sufficient to get results.
The remainder can be used as you wish, to suit your preferences. Small amounts of high sugar and high fat foods are not going to sabotage your efforts. What’s more, no food should be considered ‘bad’ or ‘good’ and everything has its own properties. If it fits in to your plan, there is no reason you can’t enjoy a treat every now and then.
I like the fact that even nutritionists advocate a 75% - 95% healthy diet, which allows for treats. After all, we all need to grab some ready made food sometimes, and we are surrounded by treats so it's tough to completely ignore them all the time. And a little of what you like does you no harm, in my opinion.
Being flexible is a good one to remind people of, because I know the tendency to be obsessed if you follow a fad diet (or any type of diet). Allowing myself an 80/20 approach means I can have some chocolate or a pint without guilt. No fad diets for me.
Prep in advance is the best advice I've followed. I often make a bulk load of grains and lentils, then just add things to them during the week. Saves times. and it's healthier than a sandwich!