How good is your diet? Are you a square box person?

How do you know if you are a square person? Well next time you go shopping have a look in your shopping cart at what you are buying. If all the packages are boxes then yes you are.  Maybe its time to have a look at your diet.

img_4178I think food is one of the hardest things to get under control in our lives. We know it is because there are so many companies that are trying to sell you their product to help with weight loss, or getting healthy from shakes to pills to ready made meals.

I hear quite often this worked really well for me last time, or I do this once a year or so to get rid of the weight I have put on. The problem is it didn’t really work if after you have finished you have put on more weight since the last time.

Maybe it’s time to stop thinking about going on a diet and start to think about your diet or how you eat.

When many of my clients talk to me about food they have heard so many conflicting reports that they are not sure what to believe any more. They give me stories of failure because they could not stick to the regime that they had chosen. With diets from the 5/2 to Atkins people have tried them all apart from the really obvious one. Just eating healthily.

Over the last couple of years I have been on a number training courses that have dealt with food either from nutrition training along side becoming a Personal Trainer or alongside specialist Diabetes and Obesity training. Each one always brings down food to the same simple set of rules.

Now I could make you wait until the end of this article to find out what it is but I’m not going to I’m going to give it to you straight away and then for the rest of the article I’m going to talk about how you can achieve this and where I and my clientele have succeeded.

So here it is what to eat in its simplest form.

Eat as close to nature as possible.
A little of everything is good for you.
Eat a rainbow.

So let’s look at these.

img_4281Eat as close to nature as possible.
This is where square people fall down. If everything in your shopping basket is a box it has been played with in one way or another. This should start to ring alarm bells when you look in your basket.
I’ve heard and given a number of excuses to this over the years.

It’s too expensive to buy the real food. Let me deal with statement with a question.
If what should be the base product of what is in the box is too expensive to buy to make that meal, then you really have to ask yourself, what is really in that box? What are they making that meal out of if you can’t afford to buy the meat and veg to make the same meal but you can buy that box, with all its extra packaging?

I don’t have the time!
This is an excuse that I have used my self many times for eating poorly and it is a hard one to conquer. It comes from time management and preparation. Here’s what I have found. I can loose hours on Facebook or other social media sites and apps or sitting in front of the TV not really doing anything just browsing. Just imagine if you took half of that time to prepare a super tasty meal would that be more satisfying?
There is a theory that screen time messes with hunger signals in the brain but ill approach that another time.

I can’t cook. No one can to start with,you just have to learn to cook one thing at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and no big chef became what they are without years of experience, and experience comes from making mistakes. You can learn a few simple dishes and then vary them with different meats or Veggies, and before you know it you have a whole menu under your belt.

How many preservatives do you think are in those package meals to keep them in a state that they look good when you open them? You know that fresh food goes off quick, but the boxes last quite along time don’t they. So do packets of things, what extra man made chemicals are you putting into your body when you eat them. What effects could these chemicals be having on your body? Some pesticides can create a chemical response the same as puberty does sending signals to the body that it needs to store fat in certain areas. What other effects could the chemical preservatives have on your body? If we look at the obesity epidemic it does seem to have happened at the same time that processed food has become available, doesn’t it?
A little of everything is good for you.
As my mother would say “the good book says a l little of everything” and whether you have religious beliefs or not this bit is quite probably right.
Think about it our body needs lots of things to keep it ticking over. We know that we need energy to keep the body going. Some scientists have called these calories in food, but you will also see on packaging another number followed by KJ these are Kilojoules. Now if you can think back to science class if you learnt the metric system, a KJ is the amount of energy that it takes to heat one cubic centimetre (1 cl or 10 ml) of water by 1 degree Centigrade or Celsius. Either way they are units of energy and each of us need a certain amount to function every day.
We also know we need certain other things to make out body function. Being a biological entity we need certain elements to creat the chemical process inside us to keep us alive. We generally think of these as vitamins and minerals. Anyone who has had a look at a multi vitamin packet will know that there are a great number of these, but we also need things to transport them around our bodies too.
Now with so many of these it would make sense that we probably need to get them from a variety of sources. If I were to ask you where you get vitamin C from you would probably tell me Oranges straight away. But think about how many other vitamins and minerals there are they must come in lots of other foods. Maybe we need to eat lots of different things in order to keep our bodies at their optimum capacity.
It also makes sense that we can’t eat loads of them other wise we would over consume on energy, and in a simple way it can be said that if you don’t use the energy you will probably store it.
So a little of everything is good for us.

Even treats, I’m a great believer in treats. But they must be a treat, a little something not a massive slice of cake three times a day.
img_4280Eat a rainbow.
So if a little of every thing is good for us then it makes sense to have as many colours of food on our plate as possible.
I am a lover of all things beige on my plate. I love all those things chicken, potatoes, pasta, bread, rice and so many more. I can create a meal and my plate will be just beige. This should be an alarm bell and I have started to use it as one. If my plate looks like that then I know that I need to add some more food to it and usually it’s fruit and veg.
We have already said that there are so many vitamins and minerals that we need to live and it appears that these are usually found in the colourful food. Vitamin C is in oranges and you know that Iron can be found in Green veg like spinach and cabbage. There fore the more colours you can get on the plate the more chances you have of giving your body exactly what it needs.

How to have a successful healthy diet

The first thing to remember is that this is not A diet. This is the diet you eat to be healthy.
You are looking at creating a way to eat for the best health all the time, not just for a short time. This is a whole life thing not just to loose weight.

I read a statement recently that I really liked and it hit home in just a few lines.

Every day avoid death
You cannot get rich or be happy from a hospital bed. Eat well, move your body, and sleep well.

Our diet should be us taking control of as much as possible in order to stay healthy and to avoid hospitals or medical conditions that are wholly avoidable. It should be to helping us live a long and happy life.

Where most people fall down is to try and change everything in one go. This never works our body and brain doesn’t like too much change and will fight you at every turn if you do it this way. If you restrict your food you will start to crave it. We know this happens yet so many people fall into this trap. Unless you have amazing will power it’s not going to work and even if you have it certainly won’t make you a happy bunny.

The best way I have found not only for my clients but also for myself is to pick one thing and change that for a month then they something else a month after.
One of my clients was struggling with food. Working in London in an office she would nip to the local shop or garage to get a sandwich at lunch time. This was the one thing we changed but we didn’t even change it every day we tried just a couple of days a week to put together a salad made the night before. Over a number of weeks we got it up to every day.
Finding time to make this took time, by starting with one or two days a week it was a small change, the body liked the fresh food but it wasn’t too much of a strain on the brain finding time to make it once a week. As time went on we came up with other variations that we could try for lunch. It stopped becoming a chore and became fun finding new and exciting combinations. But it started with just one or two days of lunch.

img_5145I work my diet the same. It is a work in progress. I look for one thing I can change that would make it healthier and I try that for a month. If it works I keep it if it doesn’t then I get rid of it. It’s some trial and error not a must be like this.
I removed bread from week days one time. I know it’s not the greatest food for me but I have it as a treat at the weekend because I like it. A treat not a whole loaf.
I also tried eating porridge for breakfast for a while. Sounds good right? In theory it should have been, but for me it didn’t work. Every morning when I was teaching my classes it would make me feel sick so after a while I gave it up. Does it mean I’m unhealthy, no it just means my body didn’t like this way of eating. I did try it for nearly a year before I gave just incase it was my body being a bit moody at me.

So try small changes towards a healthier way of eating and remember if it isn’t working for you, you don’t have to stick to it you can change it. Food is not a one size fits all diet, it is very individual and take trial and error to find out what works.
We all know where we can make healthier choices, where we can cut the sodas and increase the fruit and veg, maybe less take away and more cooking from scratch.
Just remember change a little at a time will allow you to have success. A toddler takes a few steps at a time and falls down. But each time a few more steps before the next fall. We can do the same with food, little changes add up to big steps over time.

So if you are that square person maybe it’s time to see if you can change some of the boxes for loose veg and fruit, maybe meat from the butcher and create something amazing for yourself!