Nutrition and eating well is a key ingredient of achieving your goals, whether these are getting fitter, losing weight or just for general health. This is why nutrition is one of the four legs of our 4 Legs Fitness concept, as we described in detail in an earlier post. However, getting nutrition right and sticking to a certain diet is not easy. In this article I summarize some ideas that can make it easier and more fun.
In almost all cases if you set a certain goal, it will mean to change some or more aspects of your diet. Change is always hard. The first question that you'll need to ask yourself is "why do I want to change?" The answer to the why is the goal you set for yourself. Goals can range from short term ("I want to lose 5kg because I'll go on a summer vacation") to long term ("I need to lose weight because I am obese, which is unhealthy but I want to be around for my kids as long as possible"). Other goals can be fitness or athletic goals such as competing in an obstacle race, marathon or weightlifting competition. The stronger the goal and the more intrinsically it motivates you, the higher the chances are that you also manage to stick to a new diet.
Changing Your Nutrition
Once you decided your why, next is to answer the what. In our previous article about nutrition as the third leg of 4 Legs Fitness, we described in detail what to do. The key is to first figure out what's the necessary energy expenditure to achieve your goal. For that you can use a Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) calculator. Based on that you determine the macro split (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) in line with your TDEE.
Executing the Change
Now we know what to do to achieve our goal. What's left is the how. The how is all about changing your habits so that you can consistently stick to your TDEE and macro split. There are no short term fixes!
To control yourself there is no way around calorie counting. You can use apps to do that. And it's tedious but the good news is that after you did it for two weeks diligently, you will get a very good feeling about roughly what foods have what nutritional values.
In other words the how is about your food choices. And choosing your food is different and most likely harder because now you have a specific goal that you want to achieve. Nothing worthy comes easy. But there are ways to make this easier and more enjoyable.
Most of us are not full time sports professionals or athletes. So, getting the right ingredients and cooking according to our TDEE and macro split is often not easy next to a full time job, family, friends and other projects. This is where planning and meal prep can be very effective. After a couple of weeks following your new diet consistently things get easier and faster. You simply know which foods you like more and what combination fits your macros. I also often prepare larger portions and freeze them for later. Especially for breakfast I love to prepare a huge bowl of overnight oats or Bircher muesli and consume that over the next three to four days. Some are over diligent and do all the shopping and cooking for the whole week over the weekend.
This goal-oriented cooking and hitting your macros is actually a lot of fun. I was never into cooking and just thought it is a boring necessity. Now I hunt for new and interesting meals that address my needs and help me achieve my goals. Especially if it is also super tasty. Youtube is a great source of lots of recipes and food for thought. I find Jamie Oliver's channel particularly inspiring.
Healthy Food Delivery
Another option is pre-ordering food from a healthy food delivery supplier. This may be a bit more costly but it is a lot more convenient, saves a lot of time, typically lists out precisely the calories and macro split, and -- if you find a good one -- also very delicious. Interestingly more and more such healthy food deliveries are entering the market.
I am based in Barcelona and my top favorite here is The Healthiest Choice. They tick all the boxes, perfectly outline the exact macro split with various options of increasing protein and/or carbs, a very varied selection of menus and most importantly: super delicious.
I hope this gives some valuable input to design your own why, what and how related to nutrition. We have more articles about nutrition on our 4legsfitness.com blog. You can also read up on how nutrition fits into the bigger picture of the 4 Legs Fitness concept in our book From Healthy to Athletic: How to Master the 4 Ingredients to Superior Fitness.