STOP obsessing over supplements, macros, the different types of fat, the timings of your carbs, what the heck are superfoods and should I be eating them?!
Yeah, you don't need all of this.
For the vast majority of people (I'm talking 90% of the general population), the foundations of nutrition to support health and vitality are built upon just two things - simplicity and consistency.
Unless you have very, very specific goals, are pregnant/vegan/professional athlete, then you don't need to get complicated with what you eat. People don't like to hear this!! We like the new faddy thing that might just be the magic bullet we're looking for. Plus, these little things are quite often easier to do than putting the work into doing the basics.
DO THE BASICS people.
These are the needle movers, not the specific type of carbs or supplement taken a specific amount of time after you work out!!
Here they are:
1. Start with protein.
Literally, put it on the plate first. You're looking at needing to fill up about a quarter of your plate with lean protein e.g. chicken, turkey, cottage cheese, tofu, yoghurt, white fish, tofu etc. And yes, other meats such as beef, pork and lamb might still have a place, depending on your choices, but be aware they are also sources of fat. If you are veggie or vegan, then make sure you layer up the protein sources i.e. have more than one type of protein on your plate.
This is going to help complement your movement - you'll be able to recover better and get stronger, but it will also help satiate you more. Protein fills us up, leaving you less likely to be starving only a couple of hours after you eat. Your body can't store protein, so make sure you get your quarter plate full of protein in EVERY meal. Yes, that includes you breakfast. (On a side note - should you be in eating breakfast? Yes, if you want to and that works for you.)
2. Veggies and Fruit (and Fibre)
Yep, nothing new here. I told you there were the basics. Put the effort into this though!! The vitamins and minerals and fibre you get from your vegetables and fruit are SO important. Most people in developed countries do not get enough fibre - but this is what your gut bacteria neeeeeeeeed to be healthy. You should be aiming for 30g a day but a lot of people don't even get half this amount. Fibre is the unsung hero we all need. Be aware, slowly increase your fibre as otherwise you may find there is some digestive discomfort! Let your body adapt, and experiment with the type of vegetables, pulses and cooking methods that suit you best.
Five portions a day is a MINIMUM. I aim for 5+ veggies and 2+ fruit. Aim to eat the rainbow - and if you don't really like them, then maybe that's an unhelpful story that you could question. Your taste can change. You probably didn't like red wine [or insert any other food/drink item here] when you first tried it. You persevered with that didn't you?!
3. Stay hydrated
Your body needs water. You'll feel clearer and more focused, and you'll also start to be able to listen closer to your body's natural hunger cues. A lot of people eat when they're actually thirsty. Caffeine and alcohol dehydrate you, so first thing in the morning (when you're already hydrated) start with the water.
If you don't like water, try slices of fruit in it, sparkling water, fruit teas, even squash! Keep a drink easy and conveniently to hand throughout the day.
4. Eat the great fats
Fat (and more recently sugar) has been demonised. Each of your body's cells are surrounded by a fat membrane, so unless you are some freak of nature not made of cells, your body needs fats as building blocks to make new cells, synthesise hormones etc. Rather than get confused about the different types of fat, focus on nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado and oily fish.
5. Include foods you ENJOY
Back to those first couple of ideas I gave you - simplicity and consistency. If you cut out all pizza, sugar, alcohol and chocolate, my best guess is you're not going to enjoy what you eat long term. So, include the foods you love. You could think about 80% whole foods that support your goals and 20% foods you love and enjoy more. If you eat 3 meals and two snacks a day, that's in total seven snacks/meals that be governed solely by enjoyment. Not so bad eh! If you're really pushing to change body composition, you might go with 90% of whole food that supports your goals, and 10% of food that you enjoy.
You are an individual with a huge variety of preferences, variables and challenges. Find what works for you and do that - consistency remember! You don't have to be doing keto, intermittent fasting, carb cycling, or anything else you've heard about - unless you want to, you've done your research and you know it truly matches your goals.
And where should you start? Well, where are you willing to start? Do you not want to give up your steak every evening? Then don't start with giving up meat! Start with the small change that sounds most appealing. Then add on the next small change. Whatever you're willing, ready and able to do - that's where to start.
What's been most useful for you here? Let me know below!