How To Get Back On Track With A Healthy Diet

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Despite our good intentions everyone tends to ignore their diet and overindulge at times. For me, an all too common weakness is fresh bread or red wine.

Sometimes it is both. And at other times it is whatever is nearest.

So I go on a binge.

Let’s call it Christmas or barbecue season or the weekend. Binge enough and pretty soon I am out of condition.

vegetarian diet
“I am a better person when I have less on my plate.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
Getting out of shape is the trigger for some of us to look for the next diet trend to get back on track. Click To Tweet

Stop right there!

While there are plenty of fad diets out there offering magical fast solutions to weight loss.

You have your detox diets. It might be a diet emphasising single foods (cabbage soup), or a diet stressing nutrients (high protein).

Or the restrictive one which disallows certain combinations of foods (food combining).

And there are also diets that dictate what you can and can’t eat (blood groups).

But are the diets based on sound evidence or wishful thinking?

Remember what your Mom said, “If it sounds too good to be true….” The promise of a quick fix and claims that sound too good to be true will identify an unsound diet regime.

Go back to the basics and remember there are no good or bad foods.

Any diet that singles out foods or groups of food are likely non-evidence-based.

And if followed for a long time could lead to nutrient deficiencies.

Diet Perils

As a result, there have been several warnings about a high protein low carbohydrate diet. The American Heart Association state it may be ineffective in the long-term.

And of greater worry, if followed for more than a short time could pose serious health risks. Yikes!

A simple premise: any diet that leads to you reducing the calories you consume will lead to weight loss.

I hope that my life is long term, so I prefer to think about my health long term as well.

An important point, for the sake of our health, we should all be exercising daily.

running man
“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the heck she is.” – Ellen DeGeneres

So if you need to lose weight exercise is a beneficial part of the weight loss equation.

Losing weight does not need to be difficult or complicated. Burn off more energy then you take in from food and drink. Click To Tweet

Exercise For Life

Being physically active should not be something we start next week. Not something we begin as a new years resolution or even start tomorrow.

It’s something that should be a part of our everyday life.

Taking part in regular physical exercise is the best thing we can do for our health.

Regular exercise is the key to a desirable body weight. And to reduce the risk of developing many diseases.

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Obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, colon and breast cancer to name a few.

And let’s not forget another important part of it maintaining our mental well-being too.

The guideline that we engage in 30 minutes or more of physical exercise daily is justified.

So why is it that all too often our good intentions fall by the wayside?

If exercise is not part of your life, then it requires a different approach.

Try out lots of different types of activities. Some people will like doing weights in the gym. For others, it may be dancing, and for others, it’s a brisk stroll in the park.

Try different activities to find something you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy it, there is no chance it will become part of your everyday life.

You just need to get active!

Yes, the aim is to be doing at least 30 minutes of continuous exercise five days per week, but gradual is the key! Click To Tweet

So try three lots of 10 minutes to start with and take it from there.

And don’t go for it all out, especially if you have not exercised for a while, break yourself into exercise gently.

Besides if it’s calories you are aiming to burn, then you will burn the same calories if you run 2 miles or you walk 2 miles.

The difference is one will take you longer.

So how do we fuel these bursts of energy?

No matter what type of exercise you do your body will always use some glucose for energy.

Glucose is formed from the breakdown of carbohydrates in your diet. Those are the starches and sugars you eat.

Glucose is stored as glycogen. But the body can only store a limited amount of glycogen

Your glycogen stores need to be kept topped up to avoid fatigue. Eat too few carbohydrates and you become sluggish.

Combine low glycogen stores and exercise and you get dizzy. That tends to destroy my desire to exercise.

So even if you’re trying to lose weight, don’t cut back too much on the calories.

You need to fuel to exercise

Do you think of snacking as something naughty? Low-fat carbohydrate snacks can be an essential fuel supply for your exercise.

Want to improve your performance exercising? Eat 25-50 grams of rapidly absorbing carbohydrate just before you exercise.

It will also help maintain blood sugar levels and prevent you feeling lightheaded.

Fuel your training
“Just like keeping a healthy diet is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, eating the right foods is just as important for getting the most out of your workout.” – Marcus Samuelsson

Replenish your glucose stores by eating some carbohydrates within two hours of exercising.

You can choose from, bagels, apples, sandwiches, cereal bars or bananas. You just need to find something you fancy.

The Diet Part

So what about your diet? The primary goal is to get active, so it’s crucial you have enough calories to have the energy to exercise.

If you cut your calorie intake and increasing your activity levels, what happens? It is going to leave you pretty short of energy, and the first thing you will give up is exercise.

Hence why the optimal diet recommended is low-fat and high-carbohydrate. Firstly, so you ensure the supply of carbohydrates for energy fuel.

But also because gram for gram carbohydrates have less than half the calories of fats.

It’s grams of food we have on our plate not calories!

Naturally, anything over-consumed will result in weight gain.

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Nutritional experts talk a lot about satiety? Have you heard about it?

Satiety is the satisfied feeling that you get when you have eaten enough. And it has a massive part to play in reducing hunger.

Different nutrients have different effects on how full you feel. Choosing one nutrient over another has the potential to influence your appetite.

Calorie intake and energy balance

The research is unequivocal on this. If you have a higher fat intake, you are more at risk of poor appetite control, overeating and obesity.

If you have a higher complex carbohydrate (starch) intake, you tend to eat less fat and tend to be leaner.

healthy diet
“Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.” – Bethenny Frankel

The advice is to increase intake of complex carbohydrates to aid weight loss.

If more of your total calories come from complex carbohydrates, it leads to a decrease in fat. In turn, this results in a reduction in overall calories consumed and leads to weight loss.

Time to let go of the quick-fix solutions and set realistic targets. Just as well, the cabbage soup diet made me gassy.

Make sense? And shift concentration away from weight loss and onto body fat loss.

Losing 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1.0kg) per week is more than enough to ensure long-term good health.

Start exercising now and track your size and your weight (muscle weighs more than fat but takes up less room).

Focus on being fitter and leaner

Keep in mind that keeping weight off is just as hard as losing it in the first place.

Finding a goal that keeps you motivated helps me.

I will splash out on a few new wardrobe items in my new size as the frugal part of me won’t let them go to waste. That works for me.

What’s your trick to get back on track with healthy eating? Drop a comment to let me know.

If you are committed to being healthy read this post on how much water you should be drinking, then get out there and be OUTSTANDING.

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David Brett-Williams