These days everyone’s a health expert and there’s a new ‘miracle diet’ out every month! So how do you search through the cr*p and find what works for you?
We asked our fitness experts, the BUF Girls, to clear things up!
Here are each of their top real-world pieces of advise for removing the confusion around nutrition… happy spring cleaning!
Libby’s tip: “Be a dietary agnostic”
Confused about which diet to follow? That’s because every food approach, from Paleo to plant based, low carb to ketogenic, Mediterranean to meal delivery services all have their pros and cons, and at the end of the day your body will probably adapt and work well on any or all of them, so long as you’re choosing quality, whole foods within that ‘diet’ and including a variety of foods.
No single food approach is the answer for every body, so try to obsessively follow any one plan, but do remain curious about the benefits they could bring, and don’t be afraid to give new styles of eating a whirl, under the guidance of your favourite health pro, of course.
It can be helpful to think of your nutrition approach as a continuously evolving story you’ll keep adding to, removing from and experimenting with over the years. Keep educating yourself and trying new things, make little tweaks and notice how your body reacts, then take the top 5% of learnings from everything you try until you come up with the perfect plan for you.
What’s my plan? I like to just choose healthy wholefoods most of the time and avoid overdoing refined sugar, packaged foods and man-made trans fats.
Sian: Your body is constantly changing, and your food approach should too!
Your body is in a constant state of development, growth and repair. As you try new forms of exercise, or go through different life stages like getting older, having kids, busy work periods, or facing health challenges, you’ll likely need to shift your nutrition approach a little to support your body – and that’s just how it should be!
Be open to change in your diet as well as in your life. Yes you’ll probably have to eat differently at 30, or 40 than you did at 20. Yes if you start lifting weights, you’ll have to eat more protein and on the other hand, if you have a sedentary month ahead of you, you may have to eat less or scale down on the carbs a bit to avoid feeling sluggish.
Women particularly should consider learning about how to eat differently at different stages of their cycles, for optimum health and energy. Check out the super cool App “MyFlo” to start your research.
Be cool with change – it’s as good as a holiday, after all!
Cass: Set standards not rules
As Katharine Hepburn said, “if you obey all the rules you miss all the fun!”
Instead of setting dozens of food rules for yourself, like banning carbs, counting calories, measuring how many grams of protein you’re eating at each meal, never eating grains or dairy, blah blah… try coming up with just a few key standards you want to uphold instead. It’s much more powerful upholding standards than sticking to rules!
Need a few examples? A few standards the BUF Girls use to guide our food choices are always choosing the most natural and unprocessed version of the foods we’re craving, aiming for half of every meal to be vegetables or salad, and choosing healthy, natural fats and sugars, rather than the refined sugars and man-made trans fats you find in packaged and fried foods!
This way we’re not cutting out food groups, but rather choosing the healthiest versions of what we’re eating – and doing it because we love and want to nourish our bodies, not because we want to punish and change them!
Leash: Try these tips instead of counting calories
Doing math at every meal can create very obsessive habits that are hard to shake, and counting calories often means you’re ignoring internal signals and just paying attention to the numbers, which really just teaches you not to listen to what your very smart body is telling you!
A better way? Choose to eat a variety of whole foods in their most natural state, listen to your body’s hunger cues, eat slowly and stop when you’re about 80% full.
Each time you go to eat, ask yourself if you’re really hungry, or just bored procrastinating, emotional, or thirsty. Try reaching for a drink of water, sparkling water, or tea first, then if you’re still hungry and you’re tummy is rumbling, it’s time to eat!
And know your portions. For women, a portion of meat or oily fish like salmon is about the size of your palm, a white fish portion is the size of your hand, a wholegrain carbohydrate serve should fit in your cupped palm, fats like butter or nuts or oil should fit in a matchbox (although a healthy avocado serve is a quarter to half fruit, depending on the size!) and when it comes to non-starchy vegetables like greens, salads and colours, get at least one closed-fist sized serve per meal.
Get more fitness tips and tricks from the Buf Girls at bufgirls.com!