There is lots of contradicting information that floats about on tv, the internet, research literature, magazines, newspapers and between people.
“Don’t eat saturated fat!”
“Saturated fat is good for you”
“Don’t eat carbs after 6”
“Eat carbs later in the day”
“Don’t eat chicken skin”
“Chicken skin contains omega 7”
The information around us can be very confusing. How many “diets” have you seen advertised in your lifetime? How many diets have you seen advertised since Christmas? All you have to do is look on a magazine shelf in WHSmith and I bet you will find at least 5 diets on the front pages.
There are many reasons for all these diets and many of them are money related. Money aside; part of the reason for so many diets is the fact that different people have different results and react differently.
We all know a person that looks like a beanpole but eats shit and looks fairly healthy. We are all individual; we have a different make up, so how can we all expect to respond the same?
The point I’m trying to make is that there is not one diet/protocol that can suit everyone. The only way you can find out how your body responds is by experimenting. This does not mean trying fasting for 3 days followed by a juice week and then 2 weeks of 600Kcal diet.
It is important to find out how your body responds to different foods depending on your goal.
There are certain elements that should not change no matter what your goal or diet is (large amounts of fruit and veg, fish oils, quality protein, single ingredient foods etc). The main differences between diets/protocols are the personal choice of ingredients you use, amount of food and timing of food.
The foods you eat should energise you; it is fuel; you should not feel like shit after eating a meal. I’m sure you will have felt like falling asleep after a meal before? I’m sure you have probably eaten a meal and had a ropey stomach afterwards? I’m also sure there are some workouts you have done when you feel amazing as well as times when you have no energy to train. There are reasons behind this; some are non-nutrition related but nutrition will play a large role. Surely you’d want to feel good all the time?
I’m going to assume you have an interest in nutrition if you are reading this. If you do not know how your body truly responds to food then I think there are some key steps you should take.
1) Try and stick to a specific diet/protocol for a period of time; I think 4 weeks is a suitable time to assess
– This does not have to be complicated. Just have a rough idea of what types of food you are going to eat and when.
– Ideally plan your meals in advance
2) Make notes of how you feel; energized, tired, ropey stomach etc. we all have a phone with us these days. Some people are glued to them. Check out my fitness pal for a food diary app.
3) Try and figure out if you have an intolerance; most common are dairy, gluten and wheat. Try eliminating and re-introducing them and see how you react.
4) Make adjustments as you go along. If you find eating a high fat and protein breakfast makes you feel better over a bowl of porridge then stick to it for a while.
I’m still figuring out how my body works; but I look and feel a whole let better than I did 8 months ago.
There are 2 messages I want you take from this article
1. We are all different; do you know your body?
Figure it out while you are young for improved long term health/wellbeing. As well as this figuring out your body will greatly contribute to your performance or aesthetics goals (if you have any).
2. Food should make you feel good; fuel yourselves well. Don’t eat just to fill a hole in your stomach.
Please direct any questions to @bencullen_