Tuesday, 28 August 2012
EATING FOR SUCCESS
The question I get asked most often is, what should I be eating if I want to lose fat and gain muscle? This question, it sometimes feels, has a thousand answers, and those answers change every other week. From Atkins, to Paleo, to Vegan, or even gluten-free, there are plenty of 'experts' out there who will spoon feed -excuse the pun - you their 'answer'. Beyond fad dieting, pro-athletes also have their own strict and very special dietary requirements, which papers and fitness magazines are very fond of proclaiming as the 'secret diet for success'. For the average person, I think the question of how to eat right is much more simple than experts would have you believe. Your body is the best guide you could possibly have, and everyone's body is different. It is far better to experiment yourself and find the foods that give you the most energy and keep you feeling healthy, than to take this weeks healthy eating guide as gospel. There are simple guidelines you can follow; lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, good lean protein and avoid processed foods and foods high in sugar and calories. These are just the rules that we have heard all our lives, and you don't need an expert to tell you what you already know. Fad diets are exactly that, fads, they only work for a very small section of the population. Those few success stories are then used as 'proof' of the diet appropriateness. We aren't pro athletes – for all we might want to think we are – and so we don't need to push our diets to the same extremes. We have jobs to work, kids to raise, and very different lives to lead. We come from a variety of genetic heritages, and there is no one size fits all diet – as disappointing as that may be for some people. Eat when you are hungry, eat what your body needs – complex carbohydrates, lean protein, fresh vegetables – and eat good quality food. Use common sense, be adventurous, and find what works best for you.