If you follow me on social media then you will know that I have a strong opinion against the word diet. That’s because I don’t like the way the word “diet” infers deprivation, going hungry, strict calorie counting and something that is only a temporary solution. As a society we are obsessed with the word diet and any quick weight loss regime that hits the market. The problem is most of these quick weight loss diets may work in the short-term but very rarely work in the long term. Now I’m not going to lie, I’ve done my fair share of “diets” in the past, especially in my modeling days. However the key I have found to getting the results you want long term and being happy, is take on a balanced clean eating approach to your food. Why go through all the effort of training and changing the way you eat, if you are only going to put the kilos back on.
That’s why I think you need to ditch the term “diet” from you vocabulary and all the negative connotations that come with it. Instead look at healthy eating as something you incorporate into your daily life for long term results. All of my F.I.T. programs include my back to basics style eating, as opposed to a crash-dieting regime. In fact some girls find it hard to even get through the portion sizes when they first start out. So it’s time ditch the “diets” and instead incorporate these clean eating tips as a way to nourish the body.
1. Eat to fuel, not fill
I like to look at my food on the nutritional value it provides my body and whether or not it will give me long sustained energy to last throughout the day and my workouts. I go for high nutritional foods like lean meats and fish, vegetables, complex carbohydrates (quinoa, brown rice, oats and sweet potato) and little bit of fruit. I also like to incorporate good fats from foods like coconut oil, nuts, fish and avocado. Your body needs nutritious food not only to fuel you through the day and for your workout but to provide your body with essential nutrients for brain function and overall health. By dieting and depriving yourself your body can miss out on these essential nutrients, leaving you tired, lethargic and craving bad foods.
2. Stay away from processed foods.
Processed food very rarely provides much nutritional value to the body and most of it can just be empty calories. My general rule is to stay away from complex carbs like bread, white rice and anything with added white sugar in it. Read the packet labels and see how much sugar can be sneaking into your foods. I also like to use the rule that if it has ingredients I don’t recognize, I probably shouldn’t’ be putting it in my body.
3. Eat good protein
Protein isn’t just for body builders and it is an essential part of clean eating. Protein is the building blocks your body needs to refuel and repair muscle. It’s also a great source of slow sustained energy to the body. High protein foods to include are:
- Grass fed beef
- Wild salmon
- Organic eggs
- Organic legumes (chickpeas, lentils and beans)
- Organic full fat yoghurt (no sugar added)
4. It’s okay to eat carbohydrates
A clean eating program isn’t just about eating high protein foods and you’re your veges, it also needs some good complex carbohydrates in there too. Carbohydrates are essential for our body and brain to work properly. When you exclude carbohydrates from your diet it forces the body to use it’s fat stores for energy as opposed to the glucose found in carbs. Whilst your body burning fat does sound ideal, this way of eating can be dangerous and hard to maintain if you don’t know what you’re doing. It can also leave you feeling tired and sick, making you crash and burn. I always eat good carbohydrates like:
- Sweet potato
- Brown rice
5. Incorpate good fat
There is a myth out there that eating fat will make you fat, which if it’s the good fat couldn’t be further from the truth. Your essential organs and brain all need fat to function properly, which makes good fat super important to include in your healthy eating. Good fats to eat are:
- Nuts (raw and unflavoured)
- Extra virgin oil
- Coconut oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Wild salmon
6. Don’t obsess with calorie counting
I’m not going to lie, when I used to compete I did count calories ALL the time. Though I soon learnt that obsessing over calorie intake is hard to maintain. You have a way better chance at keeping to clean eating if it’s not hard work. If it takes up too much of your time and is hard then you simply just won’t stick to it. Whilst yes there is a place for understanding what foods you are eating, and some people are fine with counting calories, it shouldn’t ever consume your life. Find something that works for you, and keep at that. For me, I know my fitness routine and balanced diet keeps me in shape, so I said goodbye to calorie counting a while ago.
Personally I think to keep a fit, healthy body and mind in the long term is all about finding something you can maintain and gives you energy to keep doing the things you love. If you focus on that way of eating, as opposed to a strict calorie counting crash “diet” you will be far more likely to achieve results that will last. So ditch the diet and move to something that is healthy, maintainable and with you for the long term.