Un-processing your Diet
Recent studies have found that people who eat more processed food, consume about 500 more calories per day than those that eat wholefoods. Why? Because processed foods provide limited nutrients and are not as filling, so you tend to eat more to feel full and an extra 500 calories per day, can lead to quite a significant weight gain!
It’s quite a big challenge to switch to an entirely whole-foods diet overnight. But you can start to make healthier choices most of the time by making some small, sustainable changes to “unprocess” your diet.
What are Processed foods?
Most packaged foods such as crisps, sweets, chocolate bars and biscuits are considered ultra-processed along with fast food, most take-out food and packaged bakery items, refined grains such as white rice, sugary cereals and white bread also are processed. However, foods such as canned or frozen vegetables, whole-grain bread and rice, are considered less processed because they are closer to their original forms (and have more nutritional value).
Here are six practical tips to help you make nutritional improvements that will improve your energy, health and fitness, by switching from a processed to wholefood diet, increasing your fibre and protein intake and making you feel fuller without going over your calorie requirements.
1. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
When it comes to foods high in nutrients, fruits and vegetables can’t be beat. They contain fibre (which will make you feel full) and they also aid digestion.
- Batch chop and prep salad and veg so it’s ready to go.
- Add a side salad to your meal.
- Snack on raw vegetables.
2. Avoid sugary drinks.
Fizzy drinks, alcohol, smoothies and canned coffee drinks often contain a surprising amount of sugar and calories. For example, a Costa caramel latte contains a whopping 34g sugar and 331 calories!
- opt for tea or black coffee in coffee shops.
- Choose spirits rather than beer or wine.
- Read labels on smoothies/canned drinks.
3. Read labels.
In most cases food packaging does not give an accurate representation of a food’s nutritional value no matter what the claim on the front of the pack says! so it’s best to look at the nutritional label on the back of the item and check:
- Serving size.
- Amount of added sugar.
- Ingredient list (keeping in mind that ingredients are listed by quantity, with highest listed first).
4. Skip convenience foods when possible.
There are a lot of foods that although marketed as healthy (such as bars or snacks) are often full of sugar and lack fibre and protein. Carry your own snacks to avoid temptation!
- Nuts or seeds (portioned) and an apple.
- Chopped veg with hummus.
- Greek yogurt with fruit.
5. Eat mindfully at restaurants.
Eating out can feel like an occasion to indulge, but if you’re eating out regularly, learning to make healthy choices is essential.
- If eating out is an infrequent occurrence, order what you love, but stop eating when your full.
- You don’t have to go for all 3 courses!
- If eating out is a common occurrence choose a protein and vegetable meal with whole grains as often as possible. Such as:
- Sandwich on whole-grain bread with salad.
- Fish, Chicken or Steak served with veg.
- Salad (dressing on the side).
Small and sustainable changes are much easier and more beneficial in the long run when it comes to improving nutrition, rather than trying to make too many big changes all at once but to see a change you’ve got to make a change!
Are you a Slave to the Scales?
Getting weighed on a regular basis can be a great indicator to your weight loss progress and help to keep you on track, however, if you’ve had a really good week of healthy eating and exercise and it doesn’t immediately show on the scales, don’t be disheartened that you’re not seeing results overnight. Unless you overate by 3500 calories, the change in your weight on the scales is water, not fat.
Our bodies are 70% water, so usually the daily fluctuations are water.
Many people don’t automatically see a weight-loss when they start to exercise either, in fact sometimes the number on the scales goes up – but it’s not a reason to stop exercising!
A few reasons you see fluctuations on the scale may be:
Recent increase in cardio activity
Cardio increases blood volume, so if you’ve recently taken up more exercise than usual, its common to see an increase in weight until it stabilises
Recent increase of weight training
Sore muscles retain water and eventually this leads to muscle gain.
Illness, Soreness, injury or bruising
This causes inflammation which leads to local water retention.
Change of meal timings
Although your calorie intake maybe exactly the same, eating meals later on an evening can affect the weight on the scales the next morning.
Single unusually large meal
Large meals take days to digest, along with the equivalent mass of water will remain in your gut.
Increasing your carbs
If you’ve had a low carb phase in your diet, a sudden increase will cause your liver and muscles to increase glycogen stores which will again increase your water weight.
Again, this will affect your bodies blood volume which will show up on the scales.
Change in fibre
This will affect your poo weight!
In short – trust your calorie intake! If you’re tracking your food accurately and are eating at a calorie deficit, you WILL be losing fat. The fat loss is just hidden on the scales by many causes of fluctuation in water and digestive waste.
The answer isn’t to eat less but to trust in your body and give it time to make any adjustments. Just don’t give up because of a number!
Reasons for Overeating
If you’re following a balanced, healthy diet to lose weight it can be very frustrating when you suddenly go off the rails for no apparent reason and eat everything in sight! (I know – I’ve done it myself) and if you weren’t even hungry in the first place, you’ll be feeling guilty and thinking ‘Why on earth did I do that?!!!’
We all have occasional moments of madness. However, if overeating (or binge eating) is a reoccurring problem, it may be worth looking into the real reasons you’re doing it.
If you restrict your diet, go hungry, or anything else that restrains your eating you will overeat.
The reason why this happens is because the body sees a period of hunger as starvation and automatically sends out hormones to make you overeat to compensate. Overeating due to biological reasons has nothing to do with willpower or control, it happens because you restricted your body.
This type of overeating has to do with food.
This occurs when you put yourself through a mental restriction. Not allowing yourself to eat certain foods as you think they are bad or you have certain food rules. After a period of depriving yourself, you’ll end up overeating these exact foods you tried so hard to avoid in the first place.
Again, this type of overeating doesn’t have anything to do with willpower or control. This is just how the brain works. The more you mentally fight the food, the more the mind wants the food.
This type of overeating has to do with how you relate to food.
Emotional overeating occurs when we become emotionally dependent on the food and eat when we aren’t physically hungry. Eating to comfort stress, anger, PMT, unhappiness, boredom. depression etc. where food becomes a comfort and a coping mechanism to help you through your problems. This often happens unconsciously and we don’t even know we are choosing food, it just happens and the more you eat, the worse you feel.
This type of overeating has nothing to do with food but is due to emotional reasons.
Over eating due to your social environment – parties, nights out with friends, office treats where celebrating generally revolves around food or drink may be very difficult to avoid and cause you to eat for reasons other than hunger – just to be polite. Other people that are in your social circle can have a massive impact on your choices and if you’re not surrounded by supportive friends and family it can be disastrous to your healthy choices.
This type of overeating is due to your own willpower.
PLEASE remember that overeating occasionally or for a short period of time is merely a blip which can be overcome and you really shouldn’t let it sabotage the rest of your good efforts. Draw a line under the episode, think positive and start afresh – You CAN do this!
The Reason you’re not getting results…….
Are you wanting a Miracle innovation to answer your Body Goal prayers and give you that vital piece of information that will give you amazing results overnight?
Well you’re not going to find it here! I’m sorry but I’m not going to tell you any well-kept magical secret that will give you a 6 pack in a week or make you drop a stone overnight, but please read on as the answer is here……
Clever marketing campaigns of the latest Training equipment, Supplements, Superfoods and new Diet trends may tell you otherwise (don’t believe it!). Unfortunately, the same programme won’t work for everyone, even if their Goals are exactly the same. Even the ‘Eat less, move more’ approach won’t work for everyone.
Personalised Training and Nutrition plans can help massively as you’ll be educated and motivated on how to reach your goals according to your own personal needs and circumstances, However, unless your trainer is with you 24/7 you’ll still need to put in a certain amount of effort yourself (we aren’t miracle workers!)
Many people understandingly want to achieve amazing results in the fastest time possible, so they work hard all week towards their goals – sticking to their calories, macro’s and training damn hard every day in the gym, however, it gets to the weekend and it’s a completely different story – drinking, takeaways, meals out, because they think that they deserve it after being ‘good’ all week. Maybe that’s true – but if you count the weekend as Friday, Saturday and Sunday, well that’s 43% of your week! All the progress you’ve made Monday to Thursday can easily be cancelled out by the weekend, so although the weekend may be your reward for the week, you’re not going to see results happening very quickly no matter how much effort you put in for the other 57% of the week. And it’s the amount of effort you put in that determines the results you’ll achieve………
It’s estimated it takes around 130 hours of Hard work to transform your body from unfit to fit. That equates to approximately 6 months of training an hour a day, 5 days a week OR (If you want faster results) 12 weeks of training 2 hours a day plus a weekend workout – and by training, I mean getting sweaty and feeling uncomfortable during your workout. On top of this you’ll need to change your eating habits so you’re feeding your body ‘good stuff’ at least 80% of the time to enable it to do its job and transform how you want it to.
The one simple change you can make that will make a BIG difference to your results is how much time and commitment you are prepared to dedicate to getting results and this will determine how soon you see the changes but, YOU CAN’T EXPECT AMAZING RESULTS WITHOUT PUTTING IN AMAZING EFFORT!!!
So, no matter how many astounding testimonials and transformation pictures companies use to tell you that their product is the Magical Miracle that you so desperately need, the actual magic comes from YOU. So don’t waste your money on the latest scam, just put in the extra EFFORT!
I haven’t always been FitSista PT – My younger years were far from the Fit and Healthy Lifestyle I am so passionate about today!
As a child, I wasn’t sporty at all, I was overweight and I hated PE – I never got picked for any sport teams and I HATED wearing a PE kit!
During my teens, to keep up with societies ideals I tried every fad diet going to become slim, but it was probably due to the inspiration from my dad and older brother that I became interested in going to the gym and enjoying the ‘gym life’. I wouldn’t say at this stage I was a regular gym goer – I wasn’t fit or sporty and I didn’t have a great figure, but I came to enjoy the ‘buzz’ exercising gave me.
Of course, this fitter lifestyle was all completely forgotten about during my twenties, as my social life began to revolve around pubs, clubs, dating, eating and drinking.
But it was the year after my 1st child was born and going from working full time and having a busy social life to suddenly being a ‘Stay at home Mum’ that a long-term change of habits came about.
During the first year of motherhood I’d become even more lazy, unfit, unhealthy and had put on even more weight than whilst I was pregnant. I looked in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw so I decided at that point I had to sort myself out before things got even worse. So, I joined a local Slimming Club. Looking back (and with the knowledge I now have) to what they advised me to eat to lose weight, the main principles weren’t good, however, I did lose weight steadily. I also started to run and this is where my passion for Health and Fitness all started……….
I had never run before, but I knew it was a great form of exercise and I also knew it burnt a lot of calories and at the time this was a good enough reason for me to start. Also, it was the only chance I got to have some ‘me time’ away from my baby and I figured out that the longer I could run for, the more time to myself I had! I also read a lot of Health and Fitness Magazines and tried to educate myself about how not just to lose weight, but to get fit. By complete coincidence about a year later I won a competition for a year’s free membership to a local gym. This was when I fell in love with ALL types of exercise (well maybe not Zumba) and made it part of my lifestyle, training regularly, eating healthily and constantly educating myself about everything I was doing. Even after having my 2nd child I was straight back to the gym and lost the stone in weight I’d gained during pregnancy within a couple of months.
I was very fortunate to be able to have the time each day to do this, in-between bringing up my young family and as soon as my son started nursery I made the decision to become a qualified Trainer. I loved every minute of my training courses (I still do when I get ongoing qualifications) I learnt so much and was surrounded by like-minded people and as soon as I finished all my training courses I began my new career as a Personal Trainer and FitSista Personal Training all started………….