We love to overcomplicate everything.
Instead of doing one thing we need to break it down into 20 different things, and focus on perfecting each one.
Nutrition is no different.
Instead of focusing on creating a sustainable diet for their goals and their preferences people think they need to take into account 20 different things.
Is Keto a god?
Will carbs kill me?
What does netflix have to say about my diet of choice?
It’s all noise. We have too much information at our fingertips, and it causes confusion. Studies routinely show that an overabundance of information does NOT make decisions easier to make.
An overabundance of information makes decisions significantly harder to make. If you listen to all this noise you will not be able to make a decision, you’ll be paralyzed and do nothing.
When it comes to nutrition you do not need to nail down every facet or perfect every nuance. Here’s a very, very simple tips you can follow that help you create a diet for your goals.
BASE EACH MEAL AROUND PROTEIN AND VEGGIES
You’ll be surprised at how simple this tip is in writing, but how difficult it can be to follow in the real world.
Protein is the most satiating macronutrient. That means it takes the longest to digest, and keeps you feeling fuller longer. It also has the highest thermic effect of any macronutrient. It takes more calories to digest protein than it does carbs or fats.
Protein will also help you repair and build new muscle, so a high protein diet is a good choice for the majority of people. Despite what your grandmother might have told you a high protein diet is not even remotely dangerous, it has no bad side effects on your stomach or kidneys.
For these reasons I always tell people to err on the side of eating too much protein, as opposed to not eating enough protein. It will help you feel fuller, burn more fat and build muscle. A high protein diet should be a no brainer if your goal involves any of those.
Building each meal around protein and vegetables will keep you full, and it will also help you create a nutrient dense diet.
Food density is a concept that will simplify your food choices.
A food is calorically dense if it contains a lot of calories in a little amount of space. 100 calories of a donut is about half of a donut, therefore donuts are a calorically dense food. There are not many beneficial nutrients in a donut, it’s not bad, but it’s a calorie food, not a nutritional food.
A food is nutritionally dense if it contains a lot of calories in a very large space. 100 calories of broccoli is almost an entire bowl full. Broccoli is a nutritionally dense food. There are beneficial minerals, vitamins and nutrients in broccoli.
A plate full of veggies will be very nutritionally dense and filling.
While creating a diet you must create individual meals that will keep you full, so you don’t eat a bunch of crap between meals. A plate full of protein and veggies will accomplish this goal.
Any vegetable is a good choice as long as it’s not breaded, fried or doused in oil. You want your vegetables to be as close to their natural state as possible. That means use a little bit of seasoning, cooking oil or something to get flavor but don’t give each veggie a butter or cheese bath. That will take the nutritionally dense vegetable and turn it into a calorically dense side disk.
This tip is very simple. It’s not complicated and it’s not sexy. That’s why it’s effective. If you base each of your meals around this tip for the next month I guarantee you will be closer to your goals than you are today.
You’ll notice that this “hack” isn’t really a “hack” at all. It’s a behavior change.
Behavior change is how you change your outcomes. If you’re not happy with your body, you need to change your behavior around health and nutrition. You cannot be solely focused on the outcomes, you need to focus on the behavior that will lead you towards each outcome. Focus on controlling your behavior around one meal a day, and let it spiral from there.
Keep it simple, stupid.