Guidelines for a Healthy Diet

Will power. We have all relied on it and chances are that it failed you. For example, how many times have you started a diet only to find yourself waiting in the drive thru line at a fast food restaurant? Why does will power lead to failure more often than not? Let’s discuss in further detail.

Will power is defined as….

The strength of will to carry out one's decisions, wishes, or plans.

The problem with relying on will power is you are still craving the foods you are avoiding. You are in a sense denying yourself of these things. This is where the problem lies. You are fighting this inner battle and constantly have to tell yourself that you can’t eat pizza, donuts, or ice cream. Let’s face it, nobody like to be told what to do.

Information alone is not enough to change behavior. Your doctor may tell and give reasons why you need to lose weight and start eating better however this rarely results in any sort of action taken. It has been found that what causes someone to actually make change in their life is a motivating factor. Perhaps you want to be healthier to keep up with your kids. Maybe you have a vacation coming up and you want to look good on the beach. Start by asking yourself why you want to eat a healthier diet. What are your motivations for eating a healthier diet?

Once you know your motivations for wanting to eat a healthier diet you are going to need some guidelines you can follow. 

Guidelines for a healthy diet. 

Your diet is made up of protein, carbohydrates, and fat which are referred to as macronutrients. The most important question is how much of each should you eat.

You can roughly estimate how many calories you should consume every day by using the following equation.

  • Take your bodyweight (bw) in pounds and multiply by anywhere between 12-14.

  • For maintenance - multiply body weight by 14.

  • For weight loss multiple body weight by 13.

  • Eat 1-1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

  • For fat multiply your body weight by .3.

  • The rest of your calories will come from carbs.

Note - It is important to determine how many calories you are currently eating. Start by using the MyFitnessPal calorie tracking app for 3 days. When you know how many calories you are currently eating you can make adjustments accordingly. 

Nutrient dense whole foods.

  • Lean protein - Eggs, chicken, grass fed lean beef, turkey, pork loin or seafood.

  • Multicolored vegetables - Either raw, steamed or lightly cooked.

  • Good fats – Examples include nuts and seeds, avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil.

  • Carbohydrate – Examples include yams, potato, sweet potatoes, squash, white rice, or fruit. Try avoiding grains including wheat, barley, oats, and corn.  

Our diets are composed of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats). How much protein, how many carbohydrates, and how much fat should you eat per day?

Your meals should contain protein and vegetables with an emphasis on vegetables. This ensures you will get adequate fiber in your diet while avoiding empty calories. An example of a meal is:

  • Protein: 1 palm of protein dense foods

  • Vegetables: 1 fist of vegetables 

  • Carbohydrates: 1 cupped handfuls of carbohydrate dense foods

  • Fat: 1 thumb of fat dense foods

Protein - Protein will be your most important macronutrient. In general, a minimum of 1.0g protein/lb bodyweight is a solid starting point. The harder you diet (ie. the greater your calorie deficit), the more crucial protein becomes and the more weight you’ll want to give it. If you are currently on a weight loss diet, aim for 1.0g of protein/lb of your desired bodyweight. 

  • 1.0g protein/desired bodyweight (125lb) = 125g protein per day.

  • There are about 7g of protein in 1 ounce of cooked meat.

  • 1 egg contains 7g of protein.  

NOTE - In an article it stated “high-protein diets in both hypo- and normocaloric conditions have shown to improve body composition, whereas in combination with hypercaloric conditions does not seem to increase fat mass, when the excess energy comes from protein.”

Carbohydrates - Carbohydrates such as yams, potato, sweet potatoes, squash, white rice, or fruit. Avoid grains including wheat, barley, oats, and corn.

Fats - Add healthy fats to your meals such as olive oil on your salads, cook your eggs in avocado oil, eat an avocado, or a handful of nuts. 

Unhealthy oils:

  • Rapeseed oil

  • Canola oil

  • Peanut oil

  • Soybean oil

  • Sunflower oil

  • Corn oil

  • Safflower oil

  • Grape seed oil

Healthy fats and oils:

  • Macadamia oil

  • Coconut oil

  • Avocado oil

  • Olive oil 

  • Grass-fed butter & ghee (if you tolerate dairy)

Eat foods that allow you to eat less, exercise more, and give you energy.

Eat nutrient dense and vitamin rich foods. Don’t eat empty calorie foods. Most empty-calorie foods are highly processed foods that contain added fat and sugar. Examples include baked products such as cakes, cookies, pies and pastries.

Don’t eat foods that stimulate your appetite. Highly processed foods actually stimulate your appetite and cause you to eat more. Have you ever eaten an entire pizza and then a tub of ice cream? With this in mind, every meal should contain protein and vegetables with an emphasis on vegetables.

You can't out exercise a bad diet.

If you want to achieve the body you are striving for in the gym you have to eat a diet that is supportive of your goals. Take the information presented above and use it as a blue print. 

See you in the gym.

David Proffer

Personal Trainer and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner

Agoura Fitness