Eating on a budget
Adopting healthy habits along the way of your fitness transformation, it is impossible but to notice that, regardless of how good it is for you, fitness soon becomes a chore on its own requiring tons of upkeep. Prices for equipment food and supplements quickly pile up, and you are left with this new habit of yours that is draining your account by the day. I know, trust me, I’ve been there.
The trick of this fitness puzzle is to start without adding anything fancy in your daily diet pattern, as well as not buy equipment you won’t use, as we have already discussed. After that, you will see that eating even the healthiest of food is not that much of a problem if you are keeping true to minimalism, priorities, and what your body actually needs. I’ve tried most supplements on the market, followed fitness bloggers and nutrition “gurus” for about a decade, and trust me when I say this- you can do it better in ten times less the effort and the money.
So where to start?
Balance in your diet
Keeping the balance in your diet is the key to hacking nutrition and health as well. And while only saying “balance” can sound so vague, the truth is that there is not that much science behind it.
Balance stands for adjusting and fine tuning the ratio of your proteins, carbs, fats and making sure that everything else is in the mix as well (vitamins, minerals, fiber, sugar…).
Balance also stands for meal portions, and quantity of food. It means keeping yourself fed throughout the day, which ensures a constant stream of nutrients to your system.
What does your body need?
Ok, let get more specific here, shall we? Your body, depending on its composition will require a certain amount of calories. It will require a certain amount of nutrients and process some of them easier or harder. Knowing your food preferences is also important here.
On an average, your body will need somewhere around 1000-1200 calories. Those calories have to come out of proteins (certain sources), carbs, fats and something in between. As per protein, you will have to ingest somewhere around 1-1.2 grams per kilo. Depending on your goals and training regimen this number can grow all the way up to 2 grams per kilo. I will explain about protein intake in the next chapter.
Carbs are to fill a nice 40% portion of your calorie intake, and they come out of certain sources as well. The rest are fats, and a steady stream of vitamins and minerals you are likely to use from your fruit and vegetable consumption.
Keep these things in mind
Before we start with specifics, try to remember these basic principles about healthy diet. They will guide you through your diet makeover, and can change your game by a huge margin. Applying these principles alone will make your body change and lose weight while improving hormonal balance; but enough chit-chat.
- Never be hungry
Hunger slows down your metabolism and prevents your body from rejuvenating itself, slowing your muscle building capacity as well. Besides, it will make you agitated, and thus make your workout schedule even that much harder.
- Make sure to eat more times throughout the day
This is not only for speeding your metabolism, but ensuring everything within the body is functioning at its optimal capacity. This way you will improve your hormonal balance, put yourself in excellent mood, and build muscle all the way throughout the entire day. Three main meals and two or more smaller ones (snacks) as to ensure you are always properly fed.
- Calorie intake should gradually decline during the day
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day; I know your parents have thought you that much. And it is true to the letter. Your calorie intake should be at its highest during your mornings and early afternoons. Breakfast and lunch are almost equally rich, and snacks during these hours are bigger than those later on in the day. Dinner is made of almost no carbs at all.
This is the chapter you’ve been waiting for, so here it is. Proteins are best coming off meat and fish. Sure, other foods contain enough protein, but if you are to pick the best option this is it. You can also consume egg whites, some nuts and seeds, especially lentil and chickpeas. From vegetables, artichokes and mushrooms are the best pick, but this is only about supplementing your protein intake even more.
Make meat and fish part of at least one meal in the day, and ideally aim for two and sometimes three. Whey protein is the only supplement I would take, but it is nothing more than that- a supplement. So make sure to eat healthy, and you might not even need any additional supplements at all.
Complex carbs, coming from whole grains, as well as vegetables; eat brown rice, oat flakes, all sorts of vegetables, and other grains like millet seed, quinoa, and buckwheat.
Eat most of your carbs during the first half of the day, and make sure to decline your carb intake as the day comes to an end. Remember, ideally, your dinner shouldn’t contain almost any carbs at all.
Monounsaturated fats are what you will need the most; that and a combination of omega fatty acids (three, six and nine) as well as some polysaturated fats.
Nuts, seeds, peanut butter, olive oil, and fish as we have already mentioned.
Final words about your diet
Eating by following these sets of principles will not only make you lose weight and pack muscle, but also improve your overall health as well. It will, too, save you some money in the bank.
In the previous chapters we covered almost everything you will need to eat, but let me add some more options and say a word or two of why they matter.
Fruits and vegetables are a must. They contain complex carbs, as well as a lot of minerals and vitamins; fiber as well. So make sure to add plenty of them to your diet.
Sugar is also a must have addition, but make sure you are not eating anything refined. Fruits contain a moderate amount of sugar, so that should solve the need of it, but make sure to sometimes also taste a spoon or two of honey.
Eating like this will improve not only your health and life, but also dramatically increase the chances to arrive fast at your fitness goals and expectations. Not a wonder many fitness workouts nowadays include a nutrition plan similar to this as well.