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Sustainable nutrition

All Areas > Health & Beauty > Looking Good, Feeling Great

Author: Will Mbanga, Posted: Thursday, 28th July 2022, 09:00

As we get further away from the restrictions and limitations of the pandemic, many of us have returned to ‘normal’ in most aspects of our lives, including being busy, exercising less and not eating optimally.

Continuing on our focus of sustainable fitness for life, let’s look more closely at how we fuel our bodies from a nutrition perspective.

We all acknowledge the importance of exercise, sleep, recovery and nutrition’s role in losing or maintaining a healthy weight. Those who make the effort to prepare healthy, nutritious meals will also tell you that it takes a lot of time and effort, which can be frustrating, especially in this modern age of instant gratification.

Add to this the frustration when you don’t see results straight away, or only finding boring and bland recipes, both of which cause most people to get disheartened and give up too soon. Just remember, like anything worth having in life, there is no straight line or easy path to success.

That being said, more often than not, nutritional challenges often arise as a result of people focusing on the wrong things when they’re trying to lose or manage their weight, which makes the process even harder than it ought to be.

We know that good nutrition and exercise are key components to dropping or maintaining weight, but a lot of people simply don’t have the time or energy to do both of these things, either properly or consistently.

Of course, you can still lose some weight if you eat healthily but don’t exercise, or vice versa; however, from a holistic fitness perspective, the outcomes – and your overall wellness – will not be optimal.

I referenced aiming to achieve a calorie deficit in a previous article – essentially, consuming fewer calories than your body requires for maintaining life and sustaining exercise demands, which causes your body to burn fat for additional energy.

Experiment yourself or consult a Registered Dietician

You can achieve this either by experimenting at home with differing amounts of food until you find your sweet spot, or consulting a Registered Dietician to get a more scientifically accurate measure.

When you’re trying to lose weight, taking regular breaks – especially from stricter meal plans – can be a good strategy to keep you on track. This is not an excuse to over-indulge and undo all your good work; from a scheduling perspective, consider making these sorts of changes once a month for anything up to a week if you wish to change the whole ‘diet’ completely or, alternatively, eating ‘cheat meals’ or ‘treat’ foods once or twice a week depending on your goals.

It’s important not to restrict yourself too much. Often, if we tell ourselves we can’t have a particular food, we refrain for a certain period of time but then we crave it too much and could end up over-eating. If you allow yourself a little bit of your favourite foods on a regular basis, provided it fits within your calorie deficit, you’re less likely to fall off the wagon and undo all your hard work.

Just remember, while counting calories can be a useful way of losing or maintaining weight, you need to ensure that you’re still getting the right balance of macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat and protein) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to keep your mind and body healthy, and to fuel your exercise regime effectively.

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