As we start our 28 Day Challenge to help you reduce your Metabolic Age, what you eat and drink is clearly essential.
Brief re-cap, lowering your Metabolic Age means reducing your body fat and increasing your lean muscle. As this is a short-term challenge (four weeks) most people will see results from changes made to their diet.
So, for the duration of the challenge, I'm urging you to make the following basic changes:
Remove as much rubbish as possible
Add extra fruit and veg
Increase your water intake
Lean towards high-protein where you can
Now, before I explain each of these reasonably un-surprising points it's important to say that the changes you make need to be small, practical, sustainable and 'fit in with life'.
If you make big, dramatic, life-changing moves to a super-strict diet you will almost certainly not be able to sustain it. This is what often leads people to "yo-yo dieting".
We all need to enjoy life, especially at the moment! On a Sunny weekend day in the summer it's pretty tough for most of us to be ultra-healthy with our food and drink. It's important to know you can still enjoy that beer/glass of wine and burger and not feel super-guilty!
Removing the rubbish
I suspect you don't need a blog post to tell you which things in your current diet constitute 'rubbish'. However, some people aren't aware of just how bad some of the main offenders are. Therefore, here's my rather basic top ten of the obvious things which really should be limited/eliminated where possible.
Sweets, cakes, desserts, pastries and chocolate
Fast food and take-aways
Refined pasta (white pasta)
Again, for simplicity, the main culprit in the foods above is sugar. There are also considerations to be made for high salt content, artificial ingredients etc, but as this challenge is about reducing body fat, I've given a nod towards foods which have loads of sugars.
If you eat too much sugar the body will store it as fat. Simple.
Make sensible cuts, clever substitutions and you'll not only notice improvements in fat loss but also more energy! Take small steps every day to reduce/remove as much as possible from the list above and try to keep thinking and learning about healthier choices. You'll be amazed at the difference!
Adding extra fruit and veg
This is another obvious one. However, people under-estimate how much they should eat and also how creative you can get with this. The recommended MINIMUM is five daily portions. Many people aim far higher than this. Fruit and veg is full of great stuff, will keep your hunger at bay and your energy and immunity high.
Quick tip - try frozen fruit and veg instead of fresh here and there. It can be cost-effective, less wasteful, more nutritious (frozen on day it was picked) and super-versatile.
Increasing water intake
If you've done a Boditrax scan recently to get your Metabolic age you may know that your hydration is really important. Good hydration brings loads of benefits and will absolutely help you in your quest to lower body fat throughout the challenge too.
The trick with hydration is little and often. Getting a few litres throughout the day (more when it's hot) is difficult for some people. There are loads of ways to help keep on top of consumption, from clearly marked bottles to good daily routines.
A common question is about tea and coffee. Typically, tea isn't a problem as the caffeine levels are so low and you'll also benefit from the antioxidants. Coffee however is high in caffeine so try and restrict it a little if you can.
Leaning towards high protein foods
It's important to try and build lean muscle in your quest for a leaner body and a lower metabolic age. To do this we need protein. It's the building block of muscle and you'll find it in foods like chicken, lean meat cuts, eggs, nuts, oats, cottage cheese etc.
It's worth thinking through ways for you to slip in some extra portions of these into your weekly meals. Don't go overboard on any of them as you'll find some are also high in fat so, as always, moderation is key!
We've set you a challenge for 28 days. Use it to make changes and try new things with your food and drink for the four weeks. If your current diet is poor you'll notice immediate changes in energy and mood which isn't to be sniffed at.
Make changes which you think you can keep long-term. We don't want great results to be followed by a huge slump because you can't keep it going.
Good luck, enjoy, be brave and creative and keep me posted with your progress!