Planning a Diet
3 Steps To Fixing Your Diet
Identify and Correct Nutritional Deficiencies
When it comes to planning your diet it’s important to have an overview of what your current diet is like. Ask yourself… what are you not eating enough of? What are you eating too much of? Start by recording a food diary for 3 days. Record everything you eat and drink- but make sure to go about as you normally would. Then when the three days are up you can review exactly what you have ate- compared to what you remember eating!
When we don’t receive the right amount of nutrients through our diets our bodies start to suffer– whether this is through just generally feeling fatigued or starting to see physical clinical symptoms. You may think dietary deficiencies aren’t so common in people who are considered “healthy” however common deficiencies include:
Step Two: Work out how Much You Should be Eating
It’s important to remember everyone’s body is different and therefore your nutritional requirements are unique. The ratio of macronutrients you should be eating depends on your body type. Body types are generally separated into three main categories ectomorph, mesomorph and endmorph.
Step Three: When and How You Should Eat
Track Your Meals
The first rule to abide by when setting up a diet plan is to keep track of what you are eating- this means using apps such as myfitness pal and controlling your portion sizes.
Decide How Often you Will Eat
The next step is to look into how often you should be eating. Many people consume a standard 3 meals a day, whilst other look into consuming 6 to 8 small meals more regularly. In general terms the important thing is to eat the right foods in the right amounts.
Fit Your Diet in With Your Training
When it comes to fine tuning your diet consider what you eat around the timing of your training. For example many people chose carb cycling as an effective method when dieting- this means on the days you lift weights you add starchy carbs to your diet, whereas on the days you are not lifting weights you stick to a diet of mostly protein and healthy fats with less than 40g of carbs.
However carb cycling, although shown to be effective for some, is not a method adapted by all. Pre and post workout nutrition however is an important concept for everyone. Prior to a workout eat a meal that fits in your macronutrient ratios with a good source of complex carbohydrates and protein. During a workout be sure to get a good source of hydration and for optimum results consume 5 to 15g of branched chain amino acids. Following a workout, aid recovery with a good source of fast absorbing protein such as whey protein and some simple carbohydrates to restore your glycogen stores.
A Take Home Message
Planning a diet is hard work. It’s important not to initially be in denial and to be fully aware of the foods you are consuming and what foods you aren’t consuming enough of. Once you have identified obvious patterns and made corrections build your diet and tailor your food choices to your body type and personal preferences. Be sure to stick to your diet and eat for your health!