Today, I have decided to share some knowledge that I have learnt about nutrition based on the research & course that I took to help me in my weight-loss journey & to be able to support my friends or followers that need to live a healthier life.
Nutrition is a holistic thing that is not only food! So, nutrition depends on the regular movement/exercise, eating/drinking habits, sleeping patterns, and stress levels. If you managed a healthier way for all of these holistically you will look & feel happier while living a healthier life.
A rule of thumb, no one diet applies to everyone or will be followed for long periods of time. And this is solely because, everyone is different in terms of their body type, eating preferences, budget availability, knowledge, and time availability.
A common practice regardless of the diet followed is to monitor the results closely & adjust your plan if necessary. As all diets works on the same pillars below:
Count your calories
Move & exercise regularly
Enhance your nutritional knowledge
Focus on your food quality
Eliminate any deficiencies
To replace the fad diets or the trendy diets with a healthy lifestyle that will lasts, you need to count for the below aspects in your lifestyle:
Your life demands: is it possible during your routine to eat 3 meals with 2 snacks on the dining table or are you usually on the go so you just grab food & eat it while commuting from one place to the next. Do you have time to subscribe for the gym or home - workouts will work better?
Your stress levels: when are you usually stressed & how do you cope with this stress? Do you like munchies while stressed, try to munch on fruits/veggies/nuts instead of chips/candy/chocolate for instance.
Your working situation: are you working for night shifts or 9 - 5 or remotely? What is the most suitable routine to you? What is your activity level? Do you have a desk job or a field job that requires a lot of standing or moving?
Your income level: your food choices will definitely depend on your income level, so what are your affordable choices for the long-run?
The food availability: try to keep your choices local to be able to get it easily instead of depending on imported stuff that might be rare or very highly - priced.
Your cooking experience: it will highly differ if you have the needed cooking experience to cook healthier versions of your favorite food or if you depend on dining out or ordering food from different suppliers.
Your time availability: do you have a day weekly when you cook all of the meals for the week or do you cook daily? Do you have the capacity to cook or you just eat whatever available in nearby restaurants? Do you cook fresh food or use frozen food instead?
Your physical capacity: do you have any different abilities like using a wheelchair or any other aids?
and much more
Personally, I have tried to go to several "nutritionists" that kept crafting meal plans on weekly basis that I followed for few weeks & then I revert back to my normal routine again. They didn't help me to change any of my habits or shift any of them to healthier ones. They only restricted my food intake, limited my choices, more cravings, more mood swings, sometime depressions (crying myself to sleep because I have a certain craving that I can't eat), and having a reward/punishment relationship with food (if I lost food I will get my cheat meal if not then I have to continue the restrictions for 1 more week).
So, why do meal plans are not working with most of the people as myself? First, meal plans schedules when & what to eat to the minute. And we are not following the plans for a long period of time due to the dynamic nature of our lives & how our routines changes sometimes day-to-day, our bodies are super smart so it adapts to the strict restrictions, and the plan will lead to classifying food as either good (eating it 6 days a week) or bad (eating it on the cheat day) which is really weird.
So, lets cancel the meal plan notation & see what works better towards a healthier lifestyle.
Count your calories to be in a calorie deficit 6-7 days a week, a calorie deficit is to burn more calories than your intake.
Shift or swap stuff from your regular meals to make each meal more nutritious while enjoying it. Such as adding a side of salad to your burger or pizza, adding skimmed milk to your drinks, adding 0-cal flavors to your coffee, choosing whole-grain bakery for breakfast, choose a fruit as a snack, or any other swap that you think will add benefits to your diet & lower the calories.
Split your meals through out the day, to ensure less cravings and low energy periods as well as enhance your metabolism level throughout the day.
Eat mindfully with no distractions, so you are relaxed, chewing your food well, and know when you are full to stop eating. I do advise to always have a small dish in front of you where you add to it the things that you will eat from everything you want with a definite quantity & count the calories mindfully.
Remember to drink 2.5-3 liters or water daily. Sometimes we mix the dehydrations signals with hunger. As well, water helps with water retention caused from eating carbs or sugar.
Do your grocery shopping when you are not hungry to overcome buying unhealthy snacks. While shopping try to swap few things as well like whole-wheat toast, rice cakes, low-fat cheese, low-fat yogurt, skimmed milk, 0-cal sweetener, and so on.
Store your veggies cleaned & chopped, to be an easy snack or munchie or ingredient to add to your meals later on.
Cook your meals & store them in bulk to cover for many days especially when you are busy during the week-days.
Usually the calorie counting system involves measuring your food to ensure that your daily intake is as nutrient as possible & there is no deficiencies. So, a general rule is that each meal should include 1 serving of the below for females & 2 servings of the below for males. If you need to eat less than that, then decrease your carbs & fats intake while keeping your protein & veggies intake as is to ensure staying full for longer with the nutritious options.