The Simple Science of Nutrition doesn’t mean anything unless we can apply it in the real world.
Knowing the theory behind all this stuff won’t help us at all if we aren’t actually applying anything.
This is where the 6 SIMPLE Nutrition Guidelines come into play.
1. Schedule Your Meals
The Problem: Your meals and food choices are inconsistent
The Solution: Have a regular eating schedule
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve come across is the absence of an eating schedule. I need a schedule to eat? Of course you don’t have to have one, but not knowing when you’ll eat tends to lead to mindless snacking and over-eating.
When following a certain schedule (one that’s based on your lifestyle) it becomes much easier to keep your intake and hunger in check, as expectations are set ahead of time.
2. Include Your Favorite Treats
The Problem: Your diet is unsustainable
The Solution: Don’t forbid yourself from pizza, ice cream, etc.
The thing with fad diets is that they restrict certain foods, even entire food groups. When this happens, it’s virtually impossible to stay consistent because we’ll always crave our favorite stuff.
It’s okay to have ice cream. And french fries. And your mother’s home-made brownies.
Eating your favorite treats, whether they’re “healthy” or “unhealthy” are perfectly fine if you do it in moderation. As long as you’re staying within your calories, you won’t gain a single ounce of fat.
In fact, it’s vital to you include your favorite foods in your diet. Why? Because it will help keep you sane. And staying sane while cutting calories will contribute to your success.
3. Mostly Whole, Minimally-Processed Foods
The Problem: You’re eating too much crap
The Solution: Eat more real food
Remember that 80/20 Rule? About 80% of the foods you’re eating should be whole, minimally processed foods. The other 20%? This is where the treats, cravings, and your must-haves come in.
Although calories are the #1 priority and the main determining factor of fat loss, it’s still important to keep your health in check. Sure, you can lose weight eating nothing but McDonald’s while in a calorie deficit, but is your body going to like it?
I doubt it.
So, keep in mind 80% for health and nutrition and 20% for fun. Heck, go for 90/10 if you’re feeling ambitious.
What exactly are whole, minimally-processed foods, you ask? Without getting too technical or scientific, they’re basically foods that have walked, flown, swam, or been picked out of the Earth.
In other words: real food.
Some examples of “minimally-processed” foods include, but are not limited to:
The Problem: You’re always hungry and tend to over-eat
The Solution: Eat more protein-dense foods
By now, you know how important protein is in your diet, and that it’s the most crucial macronutrient out of the three (fats & carbs being the other two).
Carbs and fats will vary more depending on an individual’s activity levels and preferences. For example, those who have more active lifestyles will eat more carbs, and vice versa.
Protein, however, should always be included in each meal.
5. Live Your Life
The Problem: We want to give up because we “messed up”
The Solution: Cut yourself some slack and play the long game
Food is just that — food.
It should be enjoyed with good company, without guilt.
Yes, it’s also fuel and yes, you want to ensure that you’re eating in a way that supports your goals; but believe me, this world won’t end if you eat a cookie or two.
Strive to develop better eating habits, but don’t stress about minor setbacks.
You will make mistakes. You will, at some point in the next 7 days, overindulge in something that you’ll eventually regret. We’re human. It’s okay when this happens — as long as it’s not all of the time.
Instead of beating yourself up about the 4 cookies or the extra glass of wine you had, remember to look at the big picture. One “mistake” out of the day, week, or month isn’t going to ruin your progress.
Put the slip-ups behind you, move on, and continue living your life.
6. Eat Only When You’re Hungry
The Problem: You overeat and you don’t even know it
The Solution: Minimize the number of times you eat
No matter how many times you prefer to eat in a day, practice the
habit of eating only when you’re hungry.
Don’t snack on foods just because they’re in front of you. One of the fastest and easiest ways to cut calories is by minimizing snacking.
In Part 2 and 3, we’ll go over strategies that will help you stay fuller longer.
These are the things that matter. The Minimal Effective Dose. The only things you have to really worry about for the rest of your life.
None of them are complicated, but they all make the biggest difference. Even better, they are all a part of the Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance.
That’s it. It’s really that SIMPLE.