As an experienced Coach, Sports Scientist and health, fitness and nutrition writer I know that looking radiant on the outside, starts with feeling fabulous on the inside!
However, let’s face it, what nourishes our insides (e.g. nutrition) is a minefield...clean eating, paleo, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, high carb, low carb, high fat, low fat….the list goes on! It’s no wonder that we suffer from paralysis by analysis and end up getting lost in a dark hole whilst trying to decide which school of thought to opt for.
Yet, food needn’t be complicated. The secret to health, wellness, longevity and happiness is in the quality and quantity of your food choices. By following the simple guidelines provided in this article, you will feel nourished and energized ready to tackle your New Year’s goals and dreams with passion and enthusiasm!
Whether hiking up hills, walking the dog, running the fells or kayaking downstream you can look good, feel great and enjoy that body confidence that often seems so elusive.
So let’s start with quality. To function optimally, we want to provide the body with the best fuel possible. We are literally a mass of cells, constantly regenerating and all made up from the food we eat. Ever heard the old saying ‘you are what you eat’? Well, this in a nutshell is very accurate.
Quality food means; fresh local produce, a large variety of fruits and vegetables, good quality protein ideally organic and sourced from local farms, rivers and seas, and healthy fats in the form of nuts, avocado, egg yolks, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and ground nut oils. As a pretty good rule of thumb, food that has been fed, grown, picked, dug or fished will provide your body with what it needs to operate optimally, and consequently feel great!
When you are running on the best fuel possible, you will function in the best way possible. This includes your digestion, gut health, metabolism, recovery, sleep, hormones and the ability to adapt e.g. get fitter, faster, stronger, leaner. Sounds good right?!
Well here’s the even better news; by opting for quality, you also get the luxury of quantity. Now that’s a game changer! Make the right food choices, and you can enjoy more of it.
The quantity element comes into play in the form of calories. This is key to maintaining a healthy body composition.
- Consume the same number of calories you expend and your weight will remain the same.
- Eat more calories than you burn and you will gain weight.
- Eat less than you utilize, and you will lose weight.
Now this doesn’t necessarily mean counting calories. The proof is in the pudding (so to speak!). If you find yourself gaining weight, try to eat less. If you are not feeling energized or able to embark on the activities you desire for feelings of lethargic or dips in motivation, try to eat more, but remember the quality aspect.
The beauty about good quality food is that it is generally lower in calories than poorer quality foods. For example, for around the same calories as two digestive biscuits, which will give you an immediate spike in energy followed by a sluggish lull, you can enjoy a hearty bowl of porridge oats that will keep you fuelled for several hours.
The third piece of the puzzle is in the balance of food groups e.g. protein, carbohydrate and fat (known as macronutrients). Eat too much of one group or too little of another and your body will be missing out on essential nutrients to look, perform and feel at its best. The details of macronutrient proportions are beyond the scope of this article; however, some simple guidelines include -
- Eat a palm size portion of protein at every meal
- Eat a fist size portion of complex carbohydrates such as rice, oats, quinoa and potatoes at every meal
- Eat a thumb size portion of fat with your meal
- Indulge in large portions of fresh, colourful vegetables
Put these guidelines into practice and watch your body begin to shine from the inside out. Your cells will thank you for such nourishment and reward you with restful sleep, radiant skin, bountiful energy, an effective metabolism, good gut health and a healthy body that looks as good as it feels!
So, with the aim of fuelling your next outdoor adventure, and in line with the recommendations of this article here’s a fantastic recipe for you to put to the test!
Founder Building Beautiful Bodies