There are plenty of fitness facts you can argue over, but the fact that abs are made in the kitchen is not one of them. When it comes to body fat reduction – 20 per cent of it is fitness – the other 80 per cent is diet. That’s a big proportion!
But lets face it – there’s ALOT of confusing information out there! So I’ve put together my top nutrition tips, which will promise slow yet sustainable progress; no going hungry, no cutting out food groups and most of all no crazy diet to stick too.
A healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be boring or restrictive – all you need is a few tweaks here and there and you can have a healthy lifestyle the smart way.
- Eat regularly, so you don’t go too hungry
Not eating all day and then going mad at dinner is not cool. It simply leaves you ravenous and open to making the wrong choices because you’re so darn hungry. On average I tend to eat every three hours – or whenever I feel hungry. I tend to wait until I’m approximately 70-80 per cent hungry because otherwise I’d just be constantly picking and not giving my body a rest from the digestion process. I rarely allow myself to get too peckish because that’s when I’ll reach for something naughty to try to hit the spot quicker.
Eating little & often means I make healthy food choices and drip-feed my body sensibly throughout the day.
These Dark Chocolate Energy Boosters are a great healthy snack, and keep well in the fridge! – Recipe available in my eBook!
- Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water
Yes I’m talking about four litres a day – sometimes more if I’ve had an intense training session! It’s so important to stay hydrated because every part of your body – muscles, cells, and organs require water to perform at their optimum level. What’s more, hunger can often be mistaken for thirst, which means you could actually be thinking your hungry but actually all you need in a big glass of water.
- Stay away from caffeine after 4pm
If you find it difficult to switch off at night – it could be down to caffeine! I never have coffee after 4pm because I know I’ll be tossing and turning until gone midnight instead of falling asleep at my usual time between 10 & 11pm.
So what does my coffee schedule look like? Well I always start the day with a mug of hot water and lemon, which feels really cleansing and is good for digestion after a night of fasting (when you sleep).
It’s around an hour after I wake that I enjoy my first coffee. I’ll then have one or two more throughout the day, especially on the days I workout as I would rather use coffee as a pre-workout as opposed to a synthetic or sugar-laden energy drink.
Not everyone is the same, as everyone has a different level of tolerance to caffeine but if you find yourself not sleeping too well at night, have a think about your coffee intake and timing throughout the day, it could make a huge difference.
I just love this Electrolyte Blend from NutriStrength…get 15% off with my code MIRELLA15
- Get plenty of sleep
Have you ever had a bad nights sleep and then found yourself hungry for comfort food and sugar the next day? We’ve all been there – especially us mamas! Basically lack of sleep has a massive impact on your body’s capability to produce enough leptin, the hormone that makes you feel satisfied, whilst encouraging your body to produce excess ghrelin, the hormone that makes you feel hungry. To make matters worse, feeling tired can also have a huge impact on how you train, whilst impairing your muscle’s recovery! Phew!
That said, I always try to get an average of 7 to 8 hours a night. Any less than this and I will start to feel quite drained after four or five days and need a big top in the form of a very early night – or lie in. Everyone is different, some people need more sleep, some need less but I find being in bed by 11pm and getting up between 6am & 7am works well for me.
- Fill up on veggies
If you like a big plate of food to make you feel satisfied then make veggies your best friend! Not only are they packed with fibre and vitamins and minerals, but they can also help massively with satiety, meaning you feel more full and less likely to need anything after dinner – yes including that calorific pudding! My fav has to be broccoli – a staple in my house because it is full of vitamin K (good for bone health) and vitamin C (great for skin and helping to reduce wrinkles by helping to produce collagen!) and leaves you feeling fuller too!
Simple but healthy & delicious: oven-roasted chicken, quinoa, broccoli & sauerkraut!
- Don’t fear fat
There’s a common fear that fat will make you fat – it won’t, as long as you stick to healthy fats found in the likes of nuts, seeds, fish, olive oil and avocados – and not the trans fats found in processed junk! In fact, a diet rich in healthy fats is absolutely essential to a healthy diet – plus the right types of fats can help you lose weight, build muscle, balance your hormones (especially your thyroid!) boost your immune system whilst providing your body with a steady stream of energy throughout the day.
I tend to eat oily fish twice a week in order to get enough essential fats in my diet, plus I will also include good fats in the form of avocado, almonds and olive oil into most meals and snacks.
I also take 1g of Metabolics Omega 3 every day, which are great for improving brain function, your mood, the quality of your skin (think clearer and softer – yup!) and are just great for your general health and immunity.
Check out Metabolics range of quality supplements HERE
- Avoid Alcohol
Sorry to be a kill joy but alcohol will have a massive impact on your results – not because of the (empty) calories but because of the effect it has on your hormones, sleep, energy, and appetite.
You basically need to work twice as hard to burn off alcohol before you can tap into burning your body’s fat stores because it interferes with the absorption of nutrients, plus it is the first fuel to be used by the body, which therefore postpones the fat-burning process and contributes to greater fat storage. Alcohol can also affect your sleep quality, your ability to build muscle, your recovery, increase your cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and make you more likely to crave comfort foods and carbs. Have I convinced you yet?
I’m not saying don’t go out and have fun, but if drinking is a regular occurrence and you still want to see results from your training, then perhaps switch to sparkling water with a slice of lime – you could always pretend it’s a gin and tonic! Or how about just having the tonic and “rim” the glass with gin! (I learnt this tip from a friend!)
Tonic without the gin 🙂
- Eat protein with every meal
Protein not only plays a huge role in building muscle, but it also helps to keep you feeling full by suppressing the hunger hormone ghrelin while optimizing the satiety hormone leptin. Aside from that, the very act of eating protein gives your body a metabolic boost as you expend calories digesting it – it basically has more of a thermogenic effect than any other macronutrient!
I aim to have one portion of protein (30g) with every meal and snack – especially breakfast (around 4-5 small meals per day basically). Protein in the form of protein pancakes or eggs (my breakfast staple) definitely helps regulate my appetite for the rest of the day and helps replenish my protein stores, which therefore protects my lean muscle tissue after a good nights sleep.
Learn more about nutrition from me and how to use it to achieve your own body goals by signing up to my next 8 Week Fitness Journey starting 10 July. Click HERE for details!