I’ve never been fat (apart from those baby photos at funny angles with poor lighting), just unfit and unhealthy. Whilst at uni the nearby McDonalds got more than its fair share of my custom. And that was one of the better parts of my diet.
Around the time I decided to get into shape, I started the long process of cleaning up my diet. This was helped along a little bit as my flatmate – a self-confessed fitness freak – was much further down the healthy-eating path than I.
A few years earlier I’d been inspired to start cooking, and to experiment with my meals. I guess I’m part of the Jamie Oliver generation in that respect. Fortunately this meant that I was quite happy to try new foods, as I was fairly confident of using them up in something. All I had to do now was gradually substitute the bad stuff with good.
The changes seemed gradual at the time, but looking back on it there have been several notable improvements; including :
- Near-elimination of coffee (I’ve got from 8-10 cups per day to a cup every few weeks or so; replacing it with green tea)
- Elimination of sugar and salt as additives (there’s quite enough in the stuff I already consume)
- Elimination of carbonated drinks (including energy drinks)
- Increased consumption of water
- Replacement of breakfast cereals with oats + fruit
- Consumption of pasta and rice as accompaniments only, not main meals
- Replacement of cows’ milk with soy milk (first I greatly reduced my consumption of cows’ milk)
- Eating fruit and vegetables as snacks
- Eating vegetables with most main meals (apart from breakfast)
Overall, it’s a vast improvement. I now get through around 4,000 kCals per day, with a fairly low intake of saturated fats and a reasonably high level of protein.
What’s next? Now that I’ve started eating healthy foods on a regular basis, a bit of planning is in order. This – as well as the definition of a few clear goals – will make it far easier to ascertain progress, and to adjust my diet as necessary.
For a great start in the world of nutritional planning, take a look at Dr John Berardi’s Tailor-made Nutrition series (parts 2, 3); part of his Precision Nutrition program.