We all dream of having the ideal physique, but the idea of dieting can be daunting. In actual fact, there’s no need to go on a complicated (or extreme) diet in order to achieve a lean and well-defined physique. Proper dietary habits lie at the core of every successful body composition transformation, and it's something that is entirely achievable with the right set of nutrition skills.
1. Make your diet revolve around whole food
Eating a balanced meal that is nutrient-dense is important, but it’s also crucial to make sure the food you are consuming doesn’t contain additives or side ingredients that are detrimental to your health and weight. Whole foods are simply foods in their pure, unprocessed form and are free of empty calories. Consumption of snack foods that contain added sugars, preservatives and artificial flavourings should either be minimised or avoided altogether. Aside from the excess calories, overconsumption can be problematic health-wise as it can often lead to conditions like obesity and other metabolic diseases.
2. Keep food portions regulated
It may sound tedious to plan and keep track of your food portions, but it becomes simple and even second nature once you get used to it. To keep track of your food portions, all you need is a food journal to jot down the portion size of the different food groups you are consuming. Being more specific in your note-taking helps (e.g. “100g of baked chicken” instead of just “poultry”) as it clears up any doubt or misconception when the time comes for a review. It’s also easier to account for your caloric requirements when you keep a food journal, plus keeping track of your macros will help you achieve your ideal physique more easily.
3. Have regular mealtimes
Eating at regular mealtimes can help you manage your weight better by regulating and your body’s metabolic rate so that you can burn calories at an optimum rate. Avoid snacking throughout the day as this upsets your metabolic rate and makes your body feel constantly hungry, which exacerbates the snacking problem. Missing meals can also be problematic for body composition, even if the goal is fat-loss. Altering the body's homeostatic state is a demanding task which requires the right kind and amount of fuel, and skipping meals only deprives your body of the essential nutrients it needs to keep functioning. Malnutrition can lead to infection and inflammation, which would otherwise derail even the best of body transformation protocols.
4. Stay away from sugary drinks/snacks and alcohol
The health and obesity risks associated with sugary drinks and alcohol are not myths – there are plenty of studies which link the overconsumption of sugar and alcohol to chronic health conditions. Consuming too much of such food has clear implications on your weight and body fat percentage, so it’s best to stick to simple unsweetened beverages like tea and infused water. For those with a sweet tooth, the occasional indulgence in food sweetened with non-nutritive sweeteners or sugar alcohols is fine as it doesn't impact one's blood sugar levels significantly. Still, making a regular habit of it can be counter-productive as it fails to address the possible issue of sugar addiction within the individual, which can lead to a relapse further down the road.
Successful physique transformations don’t happen overnight, but you can make the process a whole lot less messy by picking up sound nutrition skills. Once you've attained your ideal physique, these exact same skills will serve you well in maintaining it. Nutrition is easily responsible for 80% of your physique, so be sure to pay attention to what you put into your body!