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“I can’t have that, it’s bad”
“ I’m cutting out all bad food from now”
“I can’t lose weight, I just like bad food too much”
Far too much of the time, people classify food as “good” or “bad” and have a list of foods which are off limits in their diet. Within this blog I hope to make clear, why you shouldn’t look at a food as good or bad, and how you can include the foods you love into your nutrition.
How many of you have been trying to diet, yet always seem to want to go back to eating your favourite food, as you have eliminated it because you think it is “bad”?
Before I start, I want to make clear that it should be your priority to consume as much single ingredient, minimally processed, whole foods as possible.
If I, as a Personal Trainer was walking down the street eating a bar of chocolate, people would straight away think….
“You shouldn’t be eating that, you’re suppose to be healthy, that’s bad for you”.
While I agree the nutritional value of a chocolate bar is pretty poor, I’m human, and I enjoy a bar of chocolate as much as everybody else, I just don’t eat them everyday, and when I do, I’ll ensure it fits into my calorie and macronutrient goals accordingly.
Lets say for instance I was consuming 2500kcal per day, and I eat a 250kcal bar of chocolate. This is 10% of my total daily calorie intake, coming from something I enjoy, and would class as a treat.
I’m going to use this as an analogy…..
I have a 10 litre tub of boiling water and take 1 litre out to replace it with 1 litre of cold water. Do you think it will make a massive difference to the temperature of the tub? If any, it will be minimal, as the majority of the water in the tub will still be boiling water, and a small amount of cold will have little to no effect of the overall temperature.
The message is the same, having 10% of overall calories coming from something you enjoy, allows you to keep consistent with keeping to your nutritional practices, yet may be classed as “bad food” will have little to no effect on your diet and makes it a whole lot easier to stick to.
So think about it, if allowing yourself a bar of chocolate helps prevent you binging at a later stage due to restriction, is this really bad, or is this just developing a better relationship with food?
So how do I factor in “bad food” ?
Most of the time, the foods you will think as “bad” or “treat” foods, or even alcohol, will be mostly Fat, Carbohydrate, or a mixture of both.
o for those trackers using My Fitness Pal, or another calorie tracking app, simply add in, and track the desired food you want have, by adding it into your day if you feel sure you can still hit you protein, fibre and micronutrient targets, while remaining within your calorie ceiling.
Those who do not track, can substitute a food/macronutrient with something you want to treat yourself with, as long as it has a similar calorie value. For example, if you are having Chilli with a jacket potato, take away the potato and have a glass of wine with it instead.
Or you have Steak with Sweet potato wedges. You can take away the wedges and have some ice cream for afters.
I’m not saying go and eat Ice cream and drink wine all the time, What I’m saying is step away from looking at a food in isolation, and look at how it will affect your overall nutritional targets such as calorie consumption and protein intake.
I think it’s unrealistic to expect anybody to eliminate a certain type of food from their diet. Arguably some foods may not provide as much nutritional quality to the day as others, but if it means you can maintain a consistent approach to your diet if they are factored in, I feel this is far superior than worrying about avoiding foods as all cost, because you look at them as “bad”
If you could still eat a food you loved in moderation, how much easier would keeping on track with your nutrition be?
A lot is the answer…..
If you don’t like the food you eat…… YOUR DIET WILL FAIL.
If the food you eat is boring….. YOUR DIET WILL FAIL.
If your diet stops you from socialising….. YOUR DIET WILL FAIL.
I’m not saying go out getting legless every weekend, and eat Domino’s pizza because you “like it”, but having the odd meal out, and a few drinks isn’t something that your diet should stop you doing.
Consistency is the number one driver of success, and if this means your diet is 80% optimal to allow you to adhere to it 100% of the time, then including things you enjoy into your day for you to be able to do so, is probably going to help.
“As a rule of thumb, try to aim for at least 80-85%of total calories coming from whole, single ingredient food.”
- Dont class foods as good or bad. Instead, look at how it will effect your day in regards to hitting nutritional targets, and keeping within your calorie ceiling.
- If you look to include some less nutritious food into your day as a treat, try to keep it to providing around 10-15% of total calories.
- If consuming your favourite food in moderation will help you remain consistent with your diet, then do it.
Don’t feel guilty about having the odd bar of chocolate, or a few scoops of ice cream, there’s a difference between having something in moderation, and finding yourself at the bottom of a tub of Ben and Jerrys……