This one was written for us by Phil Wallace. Phil is an expert in the Strength and Fitness world. He is also the epitome of someone who loves their work too. Phil is a Man Guru.
A note from Phil
‘It’s my job on a day-to-day basis to live the right lifestyle, prove the results and share everything that I learn. I’ve helped thousands of clients lose weight, reverse diabetes (type 2), lower blood pressure and improve their lifestyles using the same protocols outlined in this chapter. I have been obsessive about nutrition since as long as I can remember and wrote my very first article entitled “Milk: proteins and fats and pasteurisation” when I was 17.’
So what’s the BIG deal with “Healthy Eating?”
I completely understand that with the amount of information out there, it’s easy to get confused.
Sometimes my clients have been trying so hard to do the right things and eat in the right way that it has become overwhelming. And for those who have been trying for a while they may also have followed diets that remove certain food-types. This just will not work on a prolonged, long-term basis. If you restrict and deprive yourself too much, your brain will strike back with temptation.
The whole point of clean eating boils down to one thing… Health. Clean eating is about a long-term plan that helps your body realign and begin functioning as it was designed to.
Obsessing over the diet-minutia is neither applicable, useful or healthy: leave that to the professional athletes. Keeping it simple and having a realistic plan will let the success happen.
The clients I work with tend to fall in to two predominant groups. Those who want to: 1. Lose some weight (or sometimes a lot of weight) 2. Build some muscle (also called lean body mass)
These are great outcomes to build and provide excellent motivation if they are framed correctly. But this is where the majority have failed before they come to me. Where the outcomes stem from, the reasons why they are important, is so vital. People can often think that think that building muscle or losing weight will make them happy.
Some of my clients have been battling with weight-loss for a very long time, often the victim of yo-yo diets, which have just moved from hard work to failure, disappointment and then on to the next diet-fad for the cycle to start all over again.
It is possible to lose weight concentrating only on nutrition. BUT, in my experience – that’s tough and more likely to lead to failure.
When the psychology, nutrition and exercise are brought together, we start building long- term, sustainable results that lead to weight reduction and often a greatly enriched life.
This stand-alone Healthy Eating chapter will help you start to understand the nutrition element a little better.
Which means with a little information from me, you can then start to build what you need for yourself. You have already given yourself permission to do this, but if you get a little stuck we are still here to help.
Starting at the beginning:
If we think about this using a car as an example. Physical exercise is like the shell and the chassis – all the bits you can see. So it might look like a Ferrari and look like it will go very fast, but with out fuel, it won’t perform. More importantly, without the right type of fuel it won’t perform to its best. And the piece that is often missed by clients is that the Ferrari needs to be looked after and maintained to keep on going well. It’s what goes inside that makes it work and feel like a Ferrari, and for us as humans, that’s your food and drink.
I understand 100% that trying to work out what to eat can all get very confusing: there are so many things we are told not to eat and drink, that are bad, harmful, health threatening etc. I completely understand that just knowing where to start can be daunting enough to put o even the most determined.
There is a multitude of ways to lose weight. What you have been working with in the past may have given some good results, but I expect that these will have been short-term at best and put your health at risk at worst.
What I can say with absolute certainty is that if you want to lose weight long-term. AND feel better: maximise your brain-power, sleep better, and create and all-round improvement in your lifestyle. The good news is that little, and often in the beginning tiny, steps can add up quickly to some pretty amazing improvements and changes.
I know that it can feel daunting, intimidating and confusing all at the same time, so let’s keep it simple:
Nutrition is your ultimate weapon. And that is where this programme is so different: we will help you understand what really is important next, and how through this programme, you can make the right choices to bring the changes you want in to your life.
By making better choices in what you fuel your body with, you can quickly and easily begin to transform your life, forever. It’s absolutely KEY that the choices you make come from YOU though. This is a long-term plan to help you embrace your changes for your future life.
When I was approached to help with this program, I was asked: Sum up your approach to healthy eating. And it’s this:
Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a life time
Small sustainable changes to your current lifestyle, can add up to pretty stunning results over time. And when the changes become habit forming, they happen of- ten without even realising and that creates a huge amount of self-satisfaction.
The clients who come to me wanting to actively manage their weight tend to fall into three pre- dominant categories:
Level 1 – Severely overweight (obese)
Level 2 – Overweight
Level 3 – A not unhealthy weight
When I work with clients I aim to move them by one level of improvement at a time; it’s a progressive journey.
Folk at Level 3 often want to make smaller changes, or be more directly linked to improving fitness levels or physical conditioning. Even here it is all about small changes that when grouped together generate big, long-term results.
When a client comes to me who is severely overweight, I have one of two choices. Give them a Diet Plan, which they can follow for a couple of weeks … but then watch them slip off the wagon again (because as we know 95% of dieters fail and 20% fail within the first week).
Give them insight to understand where and why we can make the right changes. Doing it this way gives them knowledge and understanding. Using this approach with my 4-week transformation programme has generated quite astonishing results for people – and that makes me really happy!
This means I analyse their eating and drinking habits across a week. This is a record of what they are currently eating and drinking. I ask them not make any changes. Once complete we start tweaking. Small steps to get us going in the right direction. Often the changes are so small they don’t even register the sizes of the changes they are making, until the pounds start to drop quickly.
My first ‘go to adaption’ is nearly always the same simple one:
“Drink more Water”
Up to three litres a day please.
The larger the individual though, the more tissue needs hydrating properly.
75% of the UK population is in a state of chronic dehydration. The human body becomes “sticky” when it’s dehydrated which prevents adipose tissue (fat) from being ‘released’.
An obese body is a body under a lot of stress, which is not something your body deals well with. BUT it doesn’t take a lot of action in order to start the scales moving in the right direction, so step one is always a really easy one “drink more water.” I have heard every reason why someone can’t drink more water ranging from ‘I don’t like it’ to ‘it makes my teeth feel funny.’ That’s an excuse and when compared to an outcome centered on changing the rest of your life, not justifiable.
In any case it’s just about building a new habit, and we can all do that; it’s just a choice and the good news: you are the one choosing.
Unfortunately we live in a culture of the overweight – our research shows that 66% of the UK population is overweight (and the number is growing). It also found that 25% of the population is categorised as obese. Unfortunately many of these people have no idea where they are going wrong.
Of course, it’s important to look at this with a little more detail than simply just drinking more water.
There are numerous factors that need to be addressed. Two of the biggest culprits that lead to excess weight are:
- Portion Control
- Food Choices
For sustainable weight-loss tiny portions of the wrong foods won’t provide your body with the nutrients it needs to devour fat. Once the water intake has been addressed, your next step should be to look at positive food choices.
Portion sizing needn’t be a chore either. You don’t have to break out the measuring cups and scales every time you want something to eat. Actually, when making proper food choices, it’s very di cult to over estimate the amount of food you need to take in… It’s hard to get 100g of broccoli down!!
As a good rough guide, for an adult’s meal, use your hand:
Proteins – use the palm of your hand to give a good guide to the amount of protein foods you should be allowing.
Carbohydrates (carbs) – use your fist for root vegetables (i.e. a fist sized potato is about right), for grains use a cupped hand.
Fats – imagine a thimble roughly half the size of your thumb! That’s about the amount you should aim for in each meal.
Vegetables – all your vegetables are pretty much free foods, you can eat lots of them. But cup both hands together for a good start point.
And that’s it; it really doesn’t need to be any more scientific than that! Follow these basic principles on portion size and they should pretty much take care of themselves.
I often have clients who don’t have a lot of weight to lose but want to increase their muscle definition and fitness levels too. I mention this in the context of weight-loss, as I want to show that the principles are exactly the same.
These people tend to live a relatively healthy lifestyle and 90% of the problems come from snacking and portion sizes. A good balance of water and proper meal options is a good position to move forward from and this is where I tend to start. These are the bare-bones principles and will produce good health.
When moving towards optimal health, we then look at the quality and quantity of food, plus timing. Luckily the “breakfast, lunch, dinner” protocol works perfectly.
The average diet consists of cereal or toast for breakfast, sandwich for lunch and pasta, rice or some sort of potatoes for dinner, snacking on biscuits and chocolates in between. From a nutrition point of view this translates to carbs for breakfast, carbs for lunch, carbs for dinner and snacks of carbs. It ignores the other two essential food groups. In order to prevent insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes) protein and fats should be the basis of your diet, with carbs coming from a little fruit, and some starchy vegetables/grains.
So this needs a change to thinking first, or Pirates will be preparing dinner tonight!
Begin making protein the basis of EVERY MEAL. And this isn’t anywhere near as di cult as you might think.
Here’s a quick list of the best proteins for weight-loss taken from the Internet in the last 10 minutes:
Fruit and Veg: Spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, Guava, Artichokes, Peas.
Red meat: Beef (preferably grass fed), Ostrich (which is delicious and cheap), pork.
Seafood: Halibut, Salmon (preferably wild), Tuna (preferably fresh or light-tinned tuna), cod (unbattered!).
Poultry and eggs: Turkey (avoid the skin!), chicken (avoid the skin!), eggs.
Beans and Legumes: Beans (baked beans often have lots of added sugar and salt), lentils, Peanut butter.
Easy protein wins:
Greek yogurt, milk (preferably organic), shelled pumpkin seeds, almonds (buy crushed and add to anything), cashews.
Lean meats, eggs, whey protein and certain vegetarian sources provide ample protein and you probably have some of these at home already. Follow the protein route with a good handful of vegetables and your food options should almost take care of themselves.
The diet industry is riddled with confusing contradictions, misinformation and straight up nonsense. In my job as a Personal Trainer I’m hounded day and night with questions and queries about what’s true and what’s not.
Other than “Is eating late at night bad?” in which the answer is “No” The questions tend to fall in to two groups:
The trend started as long ago as the 1980’s and 90’s to become fat phobic. The idea that fat makes you fat not only isn’t true, it’s actually unhelpful.
Fat (fatty acids in their digested form) are actually pretty critical for life. They’re responsible for hormone control and production, neuro-transmission, joint lubrication and a range of auto-immune functions. What you might not also realise is that our brains are entirely made out of fat!
There are three main types of fat, saturated fat, mono unsaturated fat, and poly unsaturated fat. These may all sound a little confusing, but they’re very simple when you break it down.
You don’t need to know too much about them, but the main thing to remember is your body knows what to do with them. It recognises these three types of fat and deals with them appropriately.
I promise the techy bit will be tiny:
All fats stem from carbon atoms, with different numbers of hydrogen molecules attached to them.
Saturated fat – is completely full of hydrogens, every carbon atom is attached to its maximum amount of hydrogen molecules.
Mono unsaturated fat – This simply means that it is completely saturated with hydrogen molecules, minus one!
Poly unsaturated fat – As the names suggests it simply means that there is more than one carbon without any hydrogen molecules attached.
I tell my clients to imagine these fats as keys. Each type of fat (key) has a certain shape. There are areas in your body that have a corresponding shape. Upon assimilation (eating) these keys are shuttled to the areas where they’ll be most useful. For example, saturated fat is the stem of all sex hormones (testosterone and oestrogen), so your body will send these fat molecules to the areas where hormone production takes place. The issues arise when we take in these fats from unnatural sources. Where the fats have been tampered with, homogenised, and deformed, usually through the application of heat. Heating up mono and poly unsaturated fats, excites the carbons and makes them grab onto hydrogens in the air. It turns them into saturated fat, but not quite the right sort. It’s akin to bending your house key, it’s still your house key, but it no longer fits the lock.
And that’s it, tech talk over on fat. This really is way more than you need to know, but I wanted to highlight that you do not need to delve into the science behind food at this stage to make really good weight-loss progress. We just need to keep it simple.
So if fat isn’t the devil, what is it that we should really be careful of? The short answer is sugar. The long answer is hyper-insulinism. Natural sugars can and should be a part of your diet. The issue is when too much sugar (or carbs) are taken in!
In July 1983, the Journal of Internal Medicine, a scientist called Norman Caplin created what he dubbed “The Deadly Quartet.” It revolutionised how we view sugar and has gone unchallenged since.
Caplin was able to demonstrate that the root of weight related illness and death was not obesity, but was hyper-insulinism. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that is essential for life.
In order to avoid obesity, and a range of other diseases (all of which are precursors to heart dis- ease) you need to avoid a regular intake of high sugar foods. Incase you’re wondering how much is too much, the UK Government currently give a Recommended Daily Allowance of 7g of sugar.
There are approximately 53g in a 500ml bottle Coke (that’s the size typically for sale in Café’s and Coffee Shops etc). That is a monumental amount of sugar!
So, a sure re way to accelerate you weight-loss, is to start looking at the labels on food and drink, and reducing your sugar intake, it really is as easy as that when it comes to sugar and it will help massively to get you to the weight you want.
4-Week Starter Plan for Optimal Health.
I really do understand that it can be intimidating, confusing, daunting or just seem like too much hard work to start changing a diet. But this is about changing the way you live your life so that you can live the life you want, in the way you want to. It does take a little change to get going, but it’s not much and often nowhere near as much as my clients first think.
I have set out below a really basic 4-week guide to get your thinking going. If you are over- weight, this really is all the start you will need. Of course, you will need to apply what is below in the right way, but hopefully the simple steps, information and knowledge I have outlined for you above will give a great starter.
Over the course of the next four weeks, in order to get your diet into tip top shape, I have a list of things for you to do. Do one of these things each week and really dial in on it – make it happen. Once all of these things become habit, your basic nutrition is going to be in great shape. Give it a highlight or a tick or cross it o and then decide which one you want to do next week.
|Make conscious food choices a priority OR Increase Water Intake to 2-3 litres OR control your portion Sizes OR cut down on artificial sugars||Make conscious food choices a priority OR Increase Water Intake to 2-3 litres OR control your portion Sizes OR cut down on artificial sugars||Make conscious food choices a priority OR Increase Water Intake to 2-3 litres OR control your portion Sizes OR cut down on artificial sugars||
The theory here is that you take just one of the four options in Week One and do it every day for the next week. In Week Two, pick one of three remaining BUT continue with the one you chose for Week One too. This means in Week Two you are doing two things across the whole week. At the start of Week Three, add one of the remaining two and keep going with those you have already chosen in Week One and Week Two, so you are now doing three of the four things. At the start of Week Four you’ll start the last of the four choices – the one you haven’t used yet PLUS those you picked in Week One, Two and Three. So in Week Four you are doing all four for the full week, every day. Then keep it going, make these four new things a habit, do them every day and if you stick with it, the changes will follow: I promise.
I would personally take the changes week-by-week in the following order (but this is your journey, so take it how you feel is best for you).
Week 1 – Water
Week 2 – Food choices (protein and balance) + Water
Week 3 – Sugar + Food Choices + Water
Week 4 – Portion sizes + Sugar + Food Choices + Water
My challenge to you is not when do you start, but how far can you go?
You have already given yourself permission, so the opportunity is literally limitless, so let’s go! You can do this. I have seen the most amazing results that people have engineered for themselves. And I can guarantee you one thing:
They are absolutely no different to you.