a few words about diet

The beady-eyed will have noticed that I’m starting to fall into a pattern with regards to what I am eating. I’m not 100% sure it’s an ideal diet, however for now it works for me and I am not feeling overly hungry at any time in the day.

evening meal

I’m starting here because this is the easiest meal of the day for me to get right. I bascially already have reasonably healthy dinners; my main dietary problems were down to my lunch and snack choices.

breakfast

The most important meal of the day, simply because it fires up the internal furnace (metabolism) and gets the body in the mood for fat-burning. If your brain detects physical activity and an empty stomach, it signals the body to go into anti-starvation mode. Once that happens the body converts any food you eat into fat – i.e. it’s saving up that energy to help you survive a food shortage.

After getting feedback from Britt about breakfast, I now split mine into 2; a small snack (usually a piece of dry toast and vegemite) as soon as I get up (plus water to hydrate), then something else when I get back from the gym (e.g. cereal, egg on toast, cheese sandwich)

lunch

This was my real downfall previously; fat-laden curries and chinese combinations, large portions, purchased from places I knew were generous with their serving sizes!

While I do have a number of options available to me, lunch now usually takes the form of a salad bowl, a meat and salad sandwich (or subway) or a special treat on Fridays of a Bento box.

Increasingly I’m defaulting to the salad option because it’s healthy, fills me up and includes no bread. I do tend to have egg, cheese and meat, so that may offset the “no bread” thing…

between-meal snacks

Eating mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks is an excellent way of keeping hunger at bay (preventing over-eating at the main meal times), providing energy throughout the day AND keeping your metabolism ticking over (making it more efficient at burning calories when you exercise).

I’ve tried a few options on this front, including mixed nuts and dried fruit, apples and cereal bars. The one that really works for me, and is fast becoming THE snack of choice, is a banana. Now I know bananas are good for active people, replacing potassium and other chemistry mumbo-jumbo like that. They are also filling and quite possibly my favourite fruit.

Is it healthy to eat 2 bananas, 5 days a week? I’m sure I will find out (Britt reads these articles) – I certainly hope so because I’m really enjoying them!

bit repetitive – boring even?

At the moment, and this is clearly subject to change in the future, I am leaning towards a fairly predictable and repetitive breakfast-snack-lunch-snack pattern. Evening meals provide the most variety in the working week.

The thing is, I’m really enjoying the salads and bananas and don’t find it boring at all. A different meat each day makes the salad a little different, varying the salad content a little (e.g. add olives one day, asparagus the next). So as things stand I’m very happy with it all – as soon as it starts to feel samey and boring I will mix it up a little.

how to overhaul your diet

For those who are not fortunate to have healthy eating in place already I thoroughly recommend that you start educating yourself about food. Just thinking about what you’re shoving down your throat can have a very positive effect. The moment I started thinking about journaling my food intake, it became obvious what needed fixing.

Now…. Do NOT go on a fad diet, do NOT take quick-loss pills, potions and the like. These will teach you NOTHING about good eating. Nothing at all!!

There are three main options I would suggest, I’m sure there are plenty more. These are:

  1. Lite n Easy
  2. Weight Watchers
  3. Self-education

Of these three, Lite n Easy is perhaps the best way to get started. The meals and snacks are prepared for you, and you just have to eat them! By following Lite n Easy for a little while, self-education starts to kick in; you literally learn while you are eating. The Lite n Easy meal plans are practically blueprints for healthy eating!

Weight Watchers is another brilliant way to learn about healthy, balanced eating and lifestyles. It has the added benefit of weekly meetings that can provide help, support and keep you on course.

While the process of Self-Education can be started on its own – I personally recommend that you start your education through something like Weight Watchers and/or Lite n Easy. Once you take the first few steps down the road to healthy eating, you start to notice articles in magazines, pages on websites, programs on TV. There is an abundance of information out there, and once your mind starts tuning into the “healthy eating” frequency, you will discovr and learn from it.

My own initial learning was through Lite n Easy (a few years ago) and while I eventually got bored with the evening meal (microwave meal) selections, it taught me a lot about snacking between meals and the types of food to eat for breakfast and lunch.

I am now beginning to learn how to make good decisions outside of a pre-defined meal plan that someone else has created for me. I am, for example, able to consider the impact of “just one more beer” or “just finish it off, there’s only a little bit left”.

one step at a time

Changing established eating patterns can be a scary prospect, yet it doesn’t need to be difficult. The biggest barrier to making the changes required is your own mind.

Nobody else is making you eat the way you do, nobody else is stopping you from eating more healthily. You have absolute power and control over that, you just need to realise that.

Yeah it might be scary, so minimise that fear and make ONE change. Have 1 sugar in your tea rather than 2, eat an apple instead of a Mars Bar, commit to having a good breakfast every morning.

Once you’ve made ONE change you will get a sense of achievement which will then spur you on to making another change, and another, and another….

Why are you still eating that mars bar? 🙂

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