So many people, so many opinions; dieting properly can seem to be impossible at times with all those voices around you trying to help. At the end of the day you must use a strategy and routine that works best for you and not anyone else. Remember, we are all different and all require different caloric needs according to our goals, level of activity and weight. So what works for that superstar model, most probably won’t work for everyone.
This article will help to indicate some important keys to a successful diet. We will touch base on areas such as protein, carbs and fat, and how much of what do you really need? We will also take a look at ways that can make dieting much easier on you. Most importantly, we will see what works and what simply does not. Let us now begin to take a look at 15 tips to a successful diet. Enjoy!
15 Determine your caloric needs
Before anything else you must determine the exact caloric need your body must intake. The crucial factors depend on your weight, goals and activity levels. This means your caloric needs may not be the same as those around you. We are all made different, thus we are entitled to our very own specific caloric intake. Calculating your exact caloric needs is quite simple, you can actually do so right now. The equation involves multiplying your body weight by a multiplier which dictates how active you are. So, for a moderately active woman that weighs 140 pounds, their multiplier would be between 12-14. This would mean that their desired caloric intake is between 1,680 and 1,960 per day. If you are a very active woman, then you would use 14 and 16 as your multiplier. Before anything else, determining what your exact need nutritionally is absolutely key in creating a proper nutrition plan. This must always be your first step when determining what to eat on a daily basis.
14 Read Labels
Reading labels is something you must familiarize yourself with if you’re going to diet properly. Some simple knowledge will help you avoid certain foods. Like for example, avoid foods that contain trans fats, artificial ingredients and additional sugars. Simply reading the label can help facilitate your choice. Also, be on the lookout for foods that make health claims on the package. If they need to make a health claim on the box, it’s usually because it isn’t very good for you. These foods are usually lower quality, and highly processed. So be on the lookout, and read those labels.
13 Use a food scale
Using a food scale can be very useful and quite humbling. Many clients are often shocked to find out exactly how much an actual portion really is. Throughout my experiences, men tend to overeat, while women tend to under eat. Using a scale and seeing exactly how much you need to eat will benefit you greatly and ensure you’re in taking the required amounts your body needs. A scale is a must-have in order to familiarize yourself with exactly how much you need.
12 Sunday Ritual
The Sunday ritual can go a long way in preparing you for the week ahead. The ritual entails you setting aside a couple of hours on Sunday to shop and prepare your meals for the week. The idea is not for you to become obsessive and compulsive, it is simply meant to facilitate your week by doing the work in advance. By doing so, you will have much more time to enjoy the little leisure things you love to do. This ritual is used by many people, including health professionals, body builders, fitness models and people who are simply always on the go with work or school. Using this approach will facilitate the process a whole lot!
11 Nutritional Timing
The timing of your nutritional intake is extremely important. Nutritional timing is based on the idea that nutrients are handled differently during different parts of the day. Carbohydrate intake is generally tolerated right after exercise. Low amounts during the day can be tolerated, but ideally carbohydrate intake should happen right after your workout. For the rest of the day, low carbohydrates, increased veggies, moderate fats and a protein dense intake should be the ideal way to go if you are trying to drop some pounds.
10 Eat Slowly
A factor many of us overlook is the fact that we eat far too quickly. Slowing down helps to gauge fullness. You are more likely to be full the longer it takes you to eat. Why is this? Well the communication between our gut to our brain, and back to our gut is slow. So eating quickly will cause our system to eat far too much because of a lack of fullness. It is key to strive for 15-20 minutes per meal. Other benefits of slow eating include: enhanced appetite cues for the next meals, improved digestion, better performance with workouts, more time to enjoy meals and improved sleep quality if you are eating before bed. Take your time with those meals.
9 Eat more meals
The previous entry, along with eating more meals goes hand in hand. The slower you eat, the more meals you will be able to have, the less hunger will be a problem. Ideally, eating until your 80% full is key. Eating more meals can ensure fullness throughout the day, make you less likely to snack late a night and allow you to reach your caloric intake quite easily without ever feeling overly full. Other factors include: improved digestion, greater performance and lack of overeating. The ideal range for meals is 4-6 per day. These meals typically include breakfast, lunch, dinner and post gym. For 6 times a day they include: breakfast, lunch, pre gym, post gym, dinner and late night snack.
8 The role of supplements
Many women are often sceptical when it comes to supplementation. At the end of the day, it is important to remember that they are called supplements, so they basically supplement a need that you are not getting enough of. So if you’re on the go, and can’t have a post workout meal, having a protein shake is a positive way to supplement this need. If all your meals fill your caloric needs, a protein shake then will not be necessary. Supplements are useful for whatever deficiencies you may have in your diet. So if you’re not a fan of fish, fish oils can be a positive supplement to increase your intake of nutrients you’re not getting from it, such as omega-3s. Fish Oils can also aid in balancing your fat intake by adding a polyunsaturated fat. At the end of the day, supplements help enrich a diet and aid any deficiencies you might have. With a strong nutritionally balanced diet they aren’t necessary but can still serve a purpose and can aid to fill whatever void you might lack.
7 Water Consumption
A proper fluid balance is optimal for performance and a healthy diet. It is important to remember that we are always losing water, whether it is through sweating or through respiration and evaporation from the skin. Water imbalances can lead to dehydration which can lead to further imbalances in the body. Ideally, it is estimated we intake 30-40 ml per kilogram of bodyweight. So if you weigh 50 kg (110lb), ideally you’re looking at 1.5-2 L a day. Keep in mind around 1 L of water comes from food, so in all you’re looking at 3L of water a day. Use the calculation above to find out how much water you need according to your weight.
6 Balance your fat intake
When trying to drop body fat, your fat intake should be moderate. Usually 30% of a diet is fat based. It is key to balance your fat intake with saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. It is recommended that you take a third from each for your fat consumption. Doing so will lead to improved health, body consumption and overall performance. Here are a few examples of healthy foods in each fat category. Saturated fats include eggs, dairy meats and coconut oil. Monounsaturated fats include nuts such as almonds, cashews, pecans, olives, olive oil and avocado. And finally polyunsaturated fats include fish oils, peanuts, canola oil, flax oil, hemp seeds and sunflower seeds.
5 Protein Intake
One reoccurring theme I often get with my female clients is their fear of eating protein. Ladies, I am here to tell you, protein is good and you must intake protein in order to sustain a nutritionally dense diet. Protein is key for health, body composition and performance. It’s impossible to achieve those three components without a proper protein intake. Ideally women should shoot for 20-30 grams of protein per meal. This is much lower than a male who normally goes for between 40-60 grams. 20-30 is ideally a great protein range for women per meal. Consuming an adequate amount of protein can also stimulate your metabolism, improve recovery and reduce body fat. Protein is essential!
4 Carbohydrate Intake
Timing for carbohydrates is everything. For those of you trying to shed some body fat, consuming those carbs is a lot about the “when”. The best way to look at carbohydrate intake is by feeling like you have to earn them through exercise. After exercise is complete, this is the window to consume those carbohydrates you desperately desire. Another key for carbs post gym is to avoid the processed route, so stick to clean fresh carbohydrates like yams, oats and sweet potatoes to name a few. And of course, don’t forget those veggies!
3 Always Veggie Ready
It’s quite simple, fresh veggies are essential with every meal. Vegetables have a variety of benefits. They not only aid us physically but also do so mentally. The plant chemicals in vegetables aid optimal physiological functioning. They also provide an alkaline load to the blood, which helps maintain bone strength and muscle. Veggies are also known as cancer-fighters, free-radical destroyers and acid-neutralizers. Veggies truly enrich your diet to another level. It is recommended to consume at least 10 servings a day. Always be veggie ready!
2 Don’t let the scale judge your progress
Time and time again, so many people are discouraged because of a scale. Some fail to see any change because of a number. Now keep in mind, this doesn’t mean you are not progressing, as in most cases, it simply means that instead of you dropping body fat, remember lean muscle weighs more. Just this past summer I only dropped 2 pounds but yet received incredible feedback on how much I had leaned out. People thought I dropped over 20 pounds. The big key was my body fat, which dropped down 5 percent. I encourage all trainees do get a body fat assessment; this will really help to show how well you’ve been progressing.
1 Under Eating Does Not Work
Countless times I’ve seen women try to beat the system by skipping meals or under eating. Ladies, this simply does not work. In recent research it has been proven that skipping meals can actually increase belly fat storage and increase the risk of insulin resistance because of a slowed down metabolism. Your body needs fuel in order to change within, and without the proper amount of fuel no change will occur and you will only damage your body. Under eating also links to problems psychologically such as low self-esteem, lack of control in life, depression, anger, anxiety and loneliness. Be smart ladies and fuel yourselves appropriately.