1. Eat every 2-3 hours.
Are you doing this – no matter what? Now, you don’t need to eat a full
meal every 2-3 hours but you do need to eat 6-8 meals and snacks that
conform to the other rules below.
2. Eat complete, lean protein each time you eat.
every time you feed yourself? If not, make the change. Note: If you’re a
vegetarian, this rule still applies – you need complete protein and need
to find non-animal sources.
3. Eat vegetables every time you eat.
That’s right, in addition to a complete, lean protein source, you need to
eat some vegetables every time you eat (every 2-3 hours, right?). You
can toss in a piece of fruit here and there as well. But don’t skip the
4. Eat carbs only when you deserve to.
Well, not ALL carbs – eat fruits and veggies whenever you want. And if
want to eat a carbohydrate that’s not a fruit or a vegetable (this includes
things like simple sugars, rice, pasta, potatoes, bread, etc), you can –
but you’ll need to save it until after you’ve exercised. Yes, these often
heavily processed grains are dietary staples in North America, but heart
disease, diabetes and cancer are medical staples – and there’s a
relationship between the two! To stop heading down the heart disease
highway, reward yourself for a good workout with a good carbohydrate
meal right after (your body best tolerates these carbohydrates after
exercise). For the rest of the day, eat your lean protein and a delicious
selection of fruits and veggies.
5. Learn to love healthy fats.
There are 3 types of fat – saturated, monounsaturated, and
polyunsaturated. Forget about that old “eating fat makes you fat” maxim.
Eating all three kinds of fat in a healthy balance (about equal parts of
each) can dramatically improve your health, and even help you lose fat.
Your saturated fat should come from your animal products and you can
even toss in some butter or coconut oil for cooking. Your
monounsaturated fat should come from mixed nuts, olives, and olive oil.
And your polyunsaturated fat should from flaxseed oil, fish oil, and mixed
6. Ditch the calorie containing drinks
(including fruit juice).
In fact, all of your drinks should come from non-calorie containing
beverages. Fruit juice, alcoholic drinks, and sodas – these are all to be
removed from your daily fare. Your best choices are water and green tea.
7. Focus on whole foods.
Most of your dietary intake should come from whole foods. There are a
few times where supplement drinks and shakes are useful. But most of
the time, you’ll do best with whole, largely unprocessed foods.
8. Have 10% foods.
I know you cringed at a few of the rules above. But here’s the thing:
100% nutritional discipline is never required for optimal progress. The
difference, in results, between 90% adherence to your nutrition program
and 100% adherence is negligible. So you can allow yourself “10%
foods” – foods that break rules, but which you’ll allow yourself to eat (or
drink, if it’s a beverage) 10% of the time. Just make sure you do the
math and determine what 10% of the time really means. For example, if
you’re eating 6 meals per day for 7 days of the week – that’s 42 meals.
10% of 42 is about 4. Therefore you’re allowed to “break the rules” on
about 4 meals each week.
9. Develop food preparation strategies.
The hardest part about eating well is making sure you can follow the 8
rules above consistently. And this is where preparation comes in. You
might know what to eat, but if isn’t available, you’ll blow it when it’s time
for a meal.
10. Balance daily food choices with healthy variety.
Let’s face it, when you’re busy during the week, you’re not going to be
spending a ton of time whipping up gourmet meals. During these times
you’re going to need a set of tasty, easy to make foods that you can eat
day in and day out. However, once every day or a few times a week, you
need to eat something different, something unique and tasty to stave off
boredom and stagnation.