Welcome back to our monthly health segment, Lawless Wellbeing.
This month we are going to take a simple look at one of the more important factors - Nutrition. For anyone that is looking to lose or gain weight, nutrition is absolutely key in this process. From a general physiological perspective, what we eat (and digest) is the building blocks of what our cells have to work with. Our body is constantly trying to repair, build and regulate and it can only use what we provide. Eating crappy food is like giving a dentist a jackhammer and telling him to fix our teeth… sub-optimal one would assume.
Everything from genetics and body shape, through to lifestyle and socio-economic status, effects what foods are suitable, effective and attainable for each individual. However, there are some fundamental elements that we can introduce into our existing eating patterns to improve the nutrition our bodies have to work with. Let’s get stuck into some simple ideas and how to apply them:
Hydration - Ensuring adequate hydration helps with such functions as digestive efficiency and kidney performance, as well as supporting healthy blood pressure and improving blood waste dilution. Furthermore, adding one glass of water before a meal may help with portion regulation and digestive efficiency which can lead to advantageous weight management outcomes.
A good measure of adequate intake is 8 x 8oz glasses a day. Try a good dose of room temp water (maybe 500ml) as part of a morning routine, a glass before each meal and then placing a few bottles in visible areas around the house to help improve habitual intake throughout the day.
Know your Foods - For anyone looking to change body weight or composition, nutrition is critical. To keep this simple and achievable, establishing a visual idea of what our calorie and macro-nutrient requirements are is really helpful when actually translating this onto the plate.
To begin, if we plug your metrics (eg measurements, activity levels) into a Total Daily Energy Expenditure Calculator (try tdeecalculator.net) it will give us a good approximation of our total calories and we can choose the macro structure that best suits our body type (There are many online resources to provide an idea of this, but consulting a nutritionist is probably the best and most insightful option). For more help on this, please get in touch and I can send you a free worksheet and video for working out and portion and macro plan.
Get Real with your Food - Possibly the simplest and best way to start getting real with our food is to take stock of our current weekly intake. List what foods are we are currently eating and then start to break it down:
Where on the list is it possible remove, decrease and substitute any processed and sugary foods? For example, look to remove flavoured soft-drinks and replace with soda water and lemon. Where on our list can we increase unprocessed foods? Maybe ask for wholegrain bread or switch out bought salad dressing for a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar mix.
Big impact doesn’t have to come from sweeping changes. Look for one change to our list each week. Real foods will increase our vitamin, mineral and fibre intake and have a big impact on regulating our blood sugar - a significant factor in improving overall health.
Get Colourful with your Food - Off the back of getting real and keeping it simple, start with finding ways to add these four colours to our weekly menu: Greens, Reds, Yellows, Oranges.
To start, if we find 4-5 ‘go-to’ veggies that we can get into our diet consistently. Throw a handful of spinach into a smoothie or slice up some bell peppers to have with nut butter. Just taking the initial little steps to start adding real, colourful foods will lead us in the right direction. If you would like more meal and snack ideas, please feel free to message me.
Prepare to Succeed - The best way to stay consistent in any area of our life is to set ourselves up for success. For many of us, it lies in taking the steps to mitigate the effect of when life gets crazy busy, so let’s set a plan to help keep ourselves consistent. Here’s some ideas:
Downtime Prep: It's amazing what we can make in 45mins: Simple, freezable meals, eggs boiled, salads and veggies chopped and some chicken in the oven. Fire up some good tunes or stream that next episode and use the time to set ourselves up for the week ahead.
Delivery Services: Find a reliable meal delivery service that can provide healthy options for when time is short. Granted, we may pay a premium for the service, however, if it keeps us consistent and heading towards our health goal.
Nutrition can be an absolute rabbit hole if we want it to be. For most people, simple changes to ensure consistent intake of real foods will set us up for sustainable success. Combined with quality sleep, managing stress and filling our time with things we enjoy, we can begin to establish an extremely strong current towards optimal wellbeing.
Until next month, eat well, sleep well and do things that make you smile.
Chris is a Phuket-based Wellbeing Coach. A certified PT, Yoga Teacher, Sports Nutritionist and Psychology Graduate, Chris specialises in personal transformation and optimization. With a team of health professionals, he operates Wellbeing Experiences which provides wellbeing retreats and events focused on creating sustainable health and wellness. For more visit www.weretreats.me