21 Dec A Perfect Start to the Year!
A real food challenge
January is a great time to get started on a new path but the standard new years resolutions rarely last, so I have come up with a plan to get us all into better shape for the rest of the year.
The aim: To see how perfect we can be for 2 whole months.
What this is not!
It’s not a fad diet: What’s the point of making a change that would not be healthy or possible to follow for the rest of your life? A super low calorie diet could help you lose weight but you will eventually be malnourished and as soon as you go back to your old ways you will regain all the weight if not more. A super low carb diet again may help you lose some pounds but can you keep it going and maintain your energy levels at work and at the gym?
It’s not a detox: A detox really is a pointless exercise, much like the low calorie diet, even if we do get rid of some toxins through detoxing we will only replace them back to their original levels as soon as we go back to our old ways. This can also be a massive shock to the body which can actually be detrimental to our health rather than positive. Read more here.
So whats different with this new plan then?
“A Perfect Start to the Year” has been designed with long term change in mind. The changes that we implement are going to made for a whole two months from the 1st of January the 1st of March. The hope is that once you have followed something for this amount of time many of the positive changes will become permanent. So if we end up with a diet at the end of December that is 50% bad and follow the 100% good for full 2 months then when we go back closer to our old ways we will hopefully be more like 25% bad but 75% good. If we could stick at that level until next year then we can rerun the perfect start and improve things even further.
- No sugar at all, nothing with sugar as an added ingredient and no sweeteners.
- Cut out all processed grains, no bread, pasta, cereals or crackers.
- No alcohol.
- No canned drinks including diet.
- No fruit juice.
- Limited dairy, only enough for tea and coffee and no latte’s.
- No caffeine after midday.
- No crisps.
- Carbs limited to one meal a day and should be a maximum of a fist sized portion.
- Only 2 pieces of fruit max per day.
- Unlimited vegetables, it really is hard to eat too much.
- A good size portion of protein with every meal.
- Must eat at least 4 portions of different veg with both lunch and dinner.
- Try at least 1 new vegetable each week.
- Try cooking new meals, get a good new recipe book.
- No snacks, if your getting hungry between meals just eat bigger meals.
- At least 2 litres of water per day.
- High protein breakfast.
- Make a plan for exercise and stick to it!
- A big focus on sleep.
- No weighing and measuring just make sure you feel full and satisfied after your meals.
The most important thing from all of this is that we are eliminating all processed food from our diet and cutting down on all sugars including natural ones.
If you remember nothing else remember this:
- There are only two aisles in the supermarket, meat and vegetables.
- Eat nothing with an ingredients list or that is sold in a packet and not in it’s original whole food form.
When people say to me, “You need to watch out for all that hidden sugar, fat and salt”, I think, well its not hiding very well its in all that processed food! I don’t need to spend hours reading all those confusing labels to know that. There’s not much hiding in good old meat and veg, just actual food how it is supposed to be.
Why sleep? Whats that got to do with it?
Try to rotate your meat and vegetables so that your not eating the same things everyday.
- Mon: Chicken day
- Tues: Beef day
- Weds: Fish day
- Thurs: Lamb day
- Fri: Pork day
- Sat & Sun: Anything, mix it up
If this is too routine for you, no problem, just make sure you eat different things all the time. Remember a healthy balanced diet is one that is varied and not one where you eat the same chicken salad everyday for lunch.
So what carbs are ok then if bread and pasta are out?
Potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, whole oats (gluten free are best) and pulses like lentils and kidney beans are all good sources of carbs in their whole food form. Pulses are good as they also provide a good amount of protein too.
Ok so when I was writing this the original guidelines had no puddings in there but that is a bit mean. How about a few berries and a little whipped cream or a fruit salad. Just try and keep it within the above guidelines and its ok.
Exercise and good nutrition is for life and not just for new year!
Please let me know any questions you have, anything you think we should add into theguidelines and how you get on in the comments below!