At Body & Mind Fitness, approximately 90% of our clients are working towards improved Body Composition/Weight Loss.
As I’ve mentioned previously, this is a fairly simple process. At its most basic level it’s a case of “Eat Less, Move More.” Although most people accept the “move more” part of the equation, the “eat less” side tends to cause problems.
While there are hundreds of different fat loss diets and nutrition plans, the underlying principle of all of them is that there is some degree of calorie control: in other words, you are usually required to eat less food than you’ve become used to.
Calories are important, but quality of food, and timing of meals also play a crucial part in the success of a healthy nutrition programme.
There are lots of clichés that try to highlight the importance of good nutrition compared to regular exercise: “You can’t out-train a bad diet” and “Abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym” are 2 of the most common and they certainly contain an element of truth.
Over the last 14 years I have worked with many hundreds of people in group classes, as members of sports teams, and as individual personal training clients. My own experience backs up what all the research states: physical training, without a healthy nutrition plan to support it, is a very poor method of weight-loss.
I’ve lost count of the number of people who train hard but who refuse to address their poor food choices and eating habits. They may become fitter and stronger, but their body shape rarely changes to any significant degree. This can be very frustrating for both the client and the trainer.
However, I’ve also worked with many clients who could not train regularly due to illness or injury, but who lost a significant amount of body fat simply by improving the quality and quantity of their food.
The following are some of the methods that I use with clients who want to shape up. If weight loss is your goal, try them out. They work!
Record What you Eat.
It’s the item that I’ve found causes most resistance, but it’s also the item that is the greatest indicator of success. The clients who consistently complete a food and lifestyle diary get the best results. I see it all the time and research backs it up. The biggest advantage of keeping a food diary is that it creates awareness of our eating habits. Most people overeat due to the fact that they are distracted, and are almost on autopilot while eating. In a situation like this it’s very easy to over-eat. It’s also very easy to forget how much junk food you’ve consumed, and to convince yourself that you actually eat a very healthy diet!
For the hi-tech clients, there are lots of apps that can be downloaded to help you record what you eat, or you could take photos of each meal. Alternatively you can simply write it down in a notebook. Awareness of what you eat – compared to what you think you eat- is the first step to improving your diet.
Remember Beradi’s Law of Nutrition.
According to Dr. John Beradi of Precision Nutrition: “If a food is in your house, you will eventually eat it!” Most people realize that in order to lose weight and improve their health and fitness, they need to eat less processed and junk food and eat more protein, vegetables and fruit. That being the case, it would make a lot of sense to clear your cupboards and fridge of the junk, and replace it with all the healthier options. After all, you only ate that packet of biscuits and 3 chocolate bars last night “because they were there!”
Change One Thing At A Time.
It can take a while to develop a habit. Eating a healthy diet is not one single habit but rather a series of habits, which include planning, grocery shopping, food preparation and cooking. It can be overwhelming to try and do everything at once, so pick one item that you feel confident you can do successfully, and when that becomes a habit, move onto the next item. It may take a little longer, but this method will achieve more long-term success than any “crash diet”.
These simple strategies are a great first step to achieving long term health and fitness through nutrition. Starting with any one of them will also help you get the most from your training.