5 Diet and Nutrition Tips and Fixes

People often demand quick fixes and solutions in life, and this is very much the case with health and fitness. People want to instantly fix things with a pill or operation, or want a diet plan that’s going to allow them to eat whatever they want whilst losing weight. Or perhaps a ‘revolutionary’ machine that’s going to make them strong and healthy with minimal effort.

Hopefully you understand that there are no quick, easy solutions to being healthy. However, I’ve put together my top 5 ‘quick’ tips and points with regards to fixing up your diet and nutrition which will help set you on the right path to improved health. For those interested in exploring this topic further, please check out my diet overview.

This is a brief overview with a few ideas and points to think about. If you would like a full fitness and nutrition consultation please contact me.

Record

Almost all people who train have some kind of body composition aim or goal (build muscle, lose fat, lose/gain weight etc), so it’s important to develop a deep understanding of your body. The best way to start this is to write an honest food diary of everything consumed, along with a record of your weight. I’d recommend doing this for a minimum of 2 weeks. You will undoubtedly learn a lot about your eating habits and how your diet affects your body.

Ultimately you want to develop an intuitive sense of what and how much to eat, and this is the first step towards that.

Please note, that there’s a difference between recording what your consume and being obsessive about what you eat. Just see this as a learning process.

Practice balance; eat less

The reason overweight people are carrying excess weight around is because they are over-consuming. The solution? Eat less. This doesn’t mean you have to cut out foods you love, but it does mean that you need to practice balance by countering periods of overindulgence with periods of discipline and good eating.

Eat Natural

Eating less is hard when you’re consuming processed and unnatural foods (think most things that come in a packet). Processed foods, especially foods high in refined carbohydrates (see our next tip) cause a blood sugar spike and surge in insulin production to counter this rise. Hunger strikes when your blood sugar crashes an hour or two later, and causes overeating when your body doesn’t actually need any more energy to function.

Some examples of unprocessed foods

Sticking to natural and unprocessed foods (think fruit, vegetables, organic meats) will ensure that your body functions more as it is designed to, and your hunger cues should be a more accurate indication of when you need food, not just crave it.

Limit processed carbohydrates

Most people consume a level of processed, refined carbohydrates that our bodies are not well equipped to deal with. Added sugar and white grains (white bread, white rice etc) should be avoided as much as possible, and processed carbohydrate level should be kept low. If you’re looking to get in insane shape, you should pretty much cut them out altogether.

Don’t Drink Calories

The best ‘quick fix’ I’d offer to someone looking to lose weight is to stop drinking your calories. This means no coke, no fruit juice and no alcohol. I realise the no alcohol bit is probably unrealistic for a lot of people, which is where the ‘practice balance’ point comes in.

Since when did water become insufficient for our hydration needs?

I won’t fully go into my reasons for this – but the reason for not drinking coke should be obvious, and if you love fruit juice I’d recommend that instead of drinking a glass of orange juice, you drink some water and eat an orange or two.

And for those of you who think water is ‘boring’, please remember that it has been the foundation for all organic life on this planet for billions of years, so add a slice of lime and get over it.

 

Conclusion

Diet and nutrition is an incredibly vast and controversial subject, but putting some of these things into practice and experimenting with what works with your body will help you progress towards hitting your fitness goals and improving your health.

Keep an open mind and try and have fun with it!

Good luck!

7 ways to get healthier in Bangkok TODAY!

Bangkok is an awesome place to live, but the hectic nature of the city and its expat lifestyle means that you have to make an effort to stay strong and healthy. It can get on top of you, if you let it.

We all know that we need to eat well and exercise to stay healthy, but beyond that here are a few quick fixes that will help you to counter some of the impact the city can have on your body and mind.

1. Leave at least once a month

This amazing place is only a few hours from Bangkok – go there!

Being constantly surrounded by people, tall buildings, noise and concrete is not natural or good for you. Too long in this environment can impact you in ways you don’t realise. Bangkok has so many awesome nearby getaways – Khao Yai, Samet, Kanchanaburi and Hua Hin are all just a few hours away – so treat yourself and recharge at least once a month, preferably more.

2. Order your smoothies, shakes and delicious Thai iced teas and drinks without sugar

Bangkok’s fruit shakes and smoothies are awesome, but with all the sugar syrup that’s added they’re not a million miles away from drinking Coke. Years ago, I remember seeing a woman prepare my Thai chai manow (lemon tea) by loading tablespoon after tablespoon of pure sugar into the drink. Tasted damn good, but it made the beverage a huge source of the worst kind of calories. Get your shakes with no sugar by politely asking “mai sai nam dtan loey krup/ka” (please don’t add any sugar).

3. Spend time in the parks

If you struggle to get out of the city, at least spend some time in the city’s parks. They provide a nice respite from the chaos and are a great place to relax or move around. Check out my guide to Bangkok’s parks for more info on where to go.

4. Be wary of eating out and cut out MSG

Bangkok has some of the world’s most amazing street food, and a whole array of fantastic restaurants. But just be aware that restaurants will do whatever they need to do to make their food super-tasty, which usually means lots of added fat and sugar.

One big culprit is added MSG, which is very commonplace. I love som tum, but if you watch it being prepared you’ll often notice that bucketloads of MSG is added (to make it more aroi, of course). MSG is best avoided by everyone, and a lot of people are actually allergic to it. Politely ask “mai sai pong choo rod krup/ka” (please don’t add MSG).

Ultimately, to be sure of what you’re eating you have to buy and prepare the food yourself.

Implement these 7 things into your life to help you survive in the Concrete Jungle

5. Move around as much as possible

Many of my clients are expats with desk jobs that require minimal physical exertion. Bangkok expats commonly sit down at a chair all day, get driven home by their driver and then sit down to watch TV or eat. All that time sat down and not moving is going to destroy your body and health. Some high intensity exercise helps, but it should also be complimented with as much movement in everyday life as possible. Take the stairs, walk around the office, stand up and roll your shoulders back and stretch out, walk that skytrain stop, jump out of your chair and do some jumping jacks (probably best if you work from home). In summary, our bodies were designed to move, so try and be conscious of moving them as much as possible.

6. If you’re going to a function/event/birthday, then eat perfectly in the daytime

This point is so important I think it’s deserving of its own article. Many people I speak to here talk about how hard it is to lose weight and eat well when they have so many functions, meetings and events to attend. All with obligatory drinks with clients, large buffets etc. The solution is simple, exercise some balance by eating perfectly (lots of vegetables, a little fruit, perhaps some lean meat) and sparingly in the daytime leading up to the event. This will produce a large calorie deficit which you can happily fill by eating and drinking what you want in the evening, within reason. More on this soon.

7. Read BangkokFitness.com once a week and set some goals!

OK, I admit it – reading my blog isn’t going to magically transform you into a warrior or a Victoria Secret model ; ) … but it might provide some inspiration to improve yourself or find out about a race or event that you can aim for (article on goal setting coming soon!)

Develop and progress by implementing these 7 things into your life today.

Good luck!