I was in my own world (as per usual!), i’d just blasted out a 2hr leg workout and looked as though i’d been dragged through a hedge backwards, my face redder than a baboons bum! As I scanned my food through the robotic, self service tills at Tesco I did a double take and saw an LEP member to my left…
After saying “hello!” I casually looked at the food she had scanned (salad, meats, and a generous portion of colourful veggies! healthy much? high five!). My basket on the other hand had pizza, and some chocolate! Oh know this is not good! haha! It’s like seeing an alcoholics anonymous teacher in the pub… wasted! (sorry to any delicate snow flakes but I couldn’t think of a better example!).
My client was shocked… “you eat pizza and chocolate?”. Oh hell yes I do, I absolutely love them! You see I think the fitness industry is bad for portraying perfection. People think personal trainers are robots, who live of rabbit food, eat loads of chicken (cockadoodle dooooo!) and live in the gym! Truth is I don’t live in the gym! I like a drink, I like pizza, I like chocolate, I like sweets and all the other good stuff!
One thing I try my best to do is paint an honest picture of how I keep in shape, and maintain a balanced lifestyle. I’m far from perfect! But I do know a thing or two about staying fit and building a better body. My strategy in a nutshell… I simply control my portions, eating whatever I like, providing it fits within my calorie target (macro’s).
Now unless you want to become a pro athlete or Mr Olympia (with veins bulging left, right and centre!) you don’t need to deprive yourself as much as you think! Yes it takes a lot of time, effort, consistency, and hard work! However the days of starving yourself like Kate Moss (apologies again! I couldn’t think of anyone else!) and living of a miserable 1,000 calories per day needn’t happen anymore.
Here’s 4 tips to help you lead a balanced lifestyle (bye bye deprivation!) :
1) IIFYM – If It Fits Your Macro’s
This basically means you have a chloric target for each day, providing you stay within this range you will lose weight. The idea is not to see how many pizza’s you can get in! but to eat plenty of nutritious foods and create a smallish allowance for foods of your choice. Let’s say you can eat 2,000 calories per day and lose weight, you could consume 1,700 calories worth of healthy, nutritious foods and then 300 calories from foods of your choice. For example recently I’ve been eating a bag of Skittles before training – read full story here.
2) Up Protein Intake
Protein will help keep you fuller for longer and your body burns calories by just trying to break it down (it’s called the ‘thermic effect‘ for all you science hungry knowledge folks!). Chicken, turkey, salmon, tuna, cod, steak, eggs, mince, and nuts are all foods super high in protein. Aiming to eat a palm sized portion of protein every 4 hrs is usually a great place to start for most. Add in a generous portion of green veggies and your onto a “winner winner chicken dinner!”
3) Avoid Hedonic Foods
Foods which you find hard to control are not wise to consume until you build up some control. Let’s say for example you can’t have a piece of chocolate without having the full bar (you know the one’s the HENCH 150g bars!) then it’s probably not wise to test your will power. What you could do instead to get your sweet kick – switch to a hot chocolate (far less calories), or a diet drink (still sweet), or dairy free ice cream – just a few loose ideas for you.
4) Switch to lower calorie Treats
There are hundreds (if not thousands!) of different pizza’s! Not all pizza’s contain the same amount of calories, for example a Dominoes could be 3,000 calories compared to another pizza which is below 1,000 calories. See I love pizza and don’t want to cut it out completely, so I therefore pick a ‘more friendly pizza’ (so to speak!) with lower calories. I can therefore eat it without feeling guilty and fit it more easily into my macro’s. This goes for all foods, make a list of the foods you like and look for the best options. Figure out a way of incorporating these foods into a balanced diet. Personally I like to factor in these foods more at the weekends (social/family occasions) than in the week. This works for me but it may be different for you. Figure out a system that works and is conducive towards your goals.
“He/She who creates a small, healthy caloric deficit for the longest wins!”