Health, nutrition and weight loss. Hot topics in the last few years and it’s easy to understand why. Most of us know that what we eat and how much we eat is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle and the backbone of successful weight loss. But, like most things the more popular a subject gets, the more confusing people make it.
There’s money to be made from nutrition and weight loss advice and that’s when things start to get super complicated. Whether it’s intentional or not, there seems to be a train of thought that says: The more confusing I can make this, the more people will need my help to understand it.I reckon nutrition can be as simple, or as complicated as you wanna make it. Sure, bodybuilders and athletes will need to know about macronutrients, micronutrients and nutrient-gene interactions, but do you and I need to know this stuff? Nope.
Let’s get down to basics: It’s not complicated to get healthy. Actually I reckon there’s a basic strategy that’s really uncomplicated. Just two simple steps actually.
Here’s my basic plan:
- Eat a shitload of vegetables.
- Do something active nearly everyday (make it fun, it doesn’t have to be a “workout”).
You might think I’m taking the piss here, but I’m really not. When I look back at the basic elements of my 60kg weight loss, these two things were constant and two of the main reasons for my ultimate success.
Do you have to give up everything you love and start eating only vegetables? No. Over time you want to make vegetables the foundation of your diet. This won’t happen overnight but it should be something you’re working towards.
I’m all about making small changes and slowly working towards your end goal. I tried to change everything at once and it just doesn’t work. The ultimate achievement is sustainability – meaning whatever changes you make to your lifestyle today, are things you’re still doing 5 and 10 years from now. That’s how you achieve long term health and wellness.
I mean, what good is losing some weight, or acheiving a healthy lifestyle if it only lasts for a few weeks?! That’s precisely why diets don’t work; they are a short term solution to a long term problem.
I know from experience that if you follow this plan you, you’ll improve your overall health and start losing weight.
Note: This is no miracle weight loss plan, it took me two years to lose 60kg! It took two years to transform my previous lifestyle and diet from what it was, to what it is today. The point is that three years on from that, I’m still a healthy weight and lead a healthy lifestyle. Yup, I still eat sugar and I still enjoy takeaways. But, I’m active nearly everyday and around those other food choices, I eat a shitload of vegetables.
Frequently Asked Questions
So, you’ve got questions about the plan? Fair enough. Here’s everything I think you might want to know:
- What kinds of vegetables should I eat? Do I need to eat stuff like kale?
Answer: If you like kale, then hell yeah, eat kale. Personally I’m not a big fan, so I don’t eat it. Eat any and all vegetables. Leafy green ones are some of the best, but don’t discriminate against the coloured ones. As a basic rule – the more colourful the vegetable, the better it is for you.
- Should I eat mostly superfoods?
Answer: All vegetables are superfoods when they make up the bulk of your diet. Things labelled as superfoods tend to be nothing more than overpriced marketing hype! Sure, they’re good for you but they are not necessary to lose weight, get healthy and eat a nutritious diet.
- Should I avoid potatoes?
Answer:There’s nothing wrong with potatoes, go ahead and eat them. Just be mindful of how you serve them. Typically it’s how we choose to cook and serve potatoes that cause a problem – there’s a big difference between simple seasoned roast potatoes and potatoes that have been baked in cream with copious amounts of cheese mixed through.
- Can I eat meat?
Answer: Absolutely! Just make sure you eat a shitload of vegetables with it.
- Can I eat fruit?
Answer: Yes. Just make sure you eat a shitload of vegetables too.
- Can I eat yoghurt and muesli?
Answer: Sure. But, you guessed it – make sure you eat a shitload of vegetables too.
- So it’s ok to eat other stuff. Do I have to eat everything with vegetables?
Answer: No, just make sure vegetables dominate your daily food choices. Look, I understand that it’s not practical to eat vegetables all the time, every time you eat. That’s not what I do. That’s not what normal people do.
- I don’t like vegetables, now what am I supposed to do?
Answer: How do you know? There’s quite a lot of vegetables out there. Have you tried them all?! Maybe you just haven’t found the ones you like yet. Maybe you haven’t found the best ways to cook and serve them yet. Maybe you’ve just convinced yourself that you hate vegetables. If you think you hate veggies, this post here is for you – So You Don’t Like Vegetables eh?
- I hate salad!
Answer: Good for you bro. I never said anything about salad. If you don’t like salad, then don’t eat it. Do I look like ya mother?! There’s a million different and delicious ways to prepare and cook vegetables. So again, read this: So You Don’t Like Vegetables eh?
- I love lollies, chocolate, pretty much any sweet food. Do I have to give that up?
Answer: No. Just eat a shitload of vegetables first. Giving up things you really love doesn’t work. I tried it, couldn’t do it. As humans we tend to not have that kinda willpower.
- How much is a shitload?
Answer: It’s a scientific measurement you’ll find in all the most respected journals and academic papers. Basically it means HEAPS. If you’re serving up your meal, at least half your plate should be vegetables. More than half would be better.
- You said be active everyday. Like what?
Answer: Whatever, just move more. Play some sport, go for a walk, take the stairs, walk to work, mow the lawns, wash the car. Run to the shop and buy more vegetables. Do some pushups, dance around the lounge. Have sex, swim at the beach, chase the dog, lift some weights. Just move more. Try lots of things, find out what you enjoy and keep doing it.
- How long should I be active for?
Answer: If it’s new for you, then not long. Start out with just 5-10 minutes everyday. The important thing is that you enjoy it, or at least don’t hate it. I reckon it’s best if you can build activity into your daily routine, that way you don’t have to go out of your way to do it, it just becomes the thing you do, no extra motivation required.
- I’m overweight and I’m worried what people will think of me when I’m out being active.
Answer: I get that, I spent a lot of time worrying about this too. But, ya know what? Fuck it. That’s their problem. To be honest, in my experience people are more worried about themselves than they are you. You might get a look, maybe even a comment, but that makes them a shitty person, not you.
- Do frozen veggies count?
Answer: Yup, there’s nothing wrong with frozen veggies. I cook a lot of frozen spinach!
- I watched movies and ate nothing but junk food and takeaways yesterday, now what?
Answer: Don’t beat yourself up, it happens. Shit happens and it always will. Just start again today – Eat a shitload of vegetables and do something active. One bad day won’t undo all your good work, or cause you to gain weight. It’s when you let one bad day turn into a week, or a month of poor choices that you’re in trouble.
- Can I eat bread?
Answer: Yes. Just eat a shitload of vegetables too. – Try to avoid white bread, wholegrain bread is much better for you and much more filling.
- What else can I eat with vegetables?
Answer: Protein (meat), beans, fruit, eggs, there’s heaps. Just make sure vegetables dominate your plate.
- WTF is so great about vegetables anyway? Why should I be eating a shitload of them every day?
Answer: Vegetables are about as healthy as it gets. They come packed with all the nutrients and other good stuff that your body needs. Stuff like: calcium, fiber, iron, protein, potassium, magnesium vitamins A & C. This is the stuff that keeps our bodies functioning properly!
You get much more bang for your buck with vegetables too. Calorie-for-calorie, vegetables will fill you up better than anything else you could put in your body. Put it this way; four Toffee Pops is roughly equal to 350 calories, a small bag of chips is over 200 calories. A small bag of chips isn’t gonna get you through the day right?
Any idea how many vegetables you’ll get for those kinda numbers? Try one capsicum, a large tomato, a cup of spinach, a cup of mushrooms and a kumara. That’s about 280 calories worth of vegetables and that will get you through the day!
If you’re on a mission to lose weight, get fit and be healthy, eat a shitload of vegetables and do something fun and active nearly everyday!