“It’s better to be 80% compliant with your diet than attempt to be 100% perfect!”
One area when it comes to our nutrition and why people tend to fall back into old habits is the idea of being completely restrictive and trying to be 100% perfect all the time. When in reality this is next to impossible as we face different events, holidays, week to week and if we continue the idea of trying to be perfect it may result in us feeling miserable and think we have failed.
So, instead, could you apply an 80/20 approach to your diet? So, what does this entail? The idea is that 80% of the time you opt for nutritious, balanced meals that are going to help you achieve your goals. While the other 20% is for when you may have to give yourself a little bit of wiggle room or on the days you just want to have the pizza night instead of cooking from home. Yes, context is everything, but by giving yourself this freedom it may make the 80% that bit easier.
If for example one day at work you decide to go out for lunch instead of eating the sandwich and yoghurt and granola you brought with you. You know it’s going to be ok because the majority of the week you’re hitting targets and it’s not going to compromise your goals!
So, consider at the moment, is this one of your pitfalls, that during the week or for a few months you become very restrictive and then it comes a point that you find it unbearable and resort back to previous eating habits?
Consider, how can you implement the foods you enjoy week to week while ensuring you’re staying on track to achieve your goals.
Nutrition fact of the week
Sleep is a very underutilised tool when it comes to our performance and recovery, so how many hours should we aim for to ensure we wake up feeling well-rested? Ideally 7-9 hours, but can vary depending on each individual!
Other than affecting performance, not getting enough sleep can result in:
- Reducing cognitive function and focus
- Worsened memory
- Change in mood i.e. angry, irritable, stressed
- Increased risk of depression
- Worsened recovery from training can result in recurring injuries/illness
The above are just some consequences of not getting enough sleep, so why does this link in with nutrition? Not getting enough sleep will also leave us feeling hungrier, or unsatisfied by the amount of food we are eating and as a result, we may end up eating more than we require. And due to an increase in tiredness levels, we may not desire to move around/exercise as much so along with eating more and moving less, there will be a knock-on effect on weight!
Nutrition tip of the week
So, linking this week’s nutrition facts and tips – how can we enhance sleep? You could consider putting certain protocols in place to help optimise your sleep so that at least when you are sleeping you are getting a night of deep sleep and waking up feeling as well-rested as possible:
- Something that helps a lot of people that struggle with sleeping is to avoid screens at least 60 mins prior to going to sleep. This could instead be replaced with a brief stretching routine or meditation
- Another is to establish a set pre-bed routine, which might be as simple as the order you get into your pyjamas / brush your teeth / fill a water bottle / set things out for the next day. It sounds silly, but when your body comes to associate that pattern of behaviours with sleep it actually starts to physically prepare your body for sleep whilst in that routine and so it can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep once in bed
- If you have the capacity, like going to the gym, or other small activities you can do to prioritise yourself and have some “me” time can also help with reducing stress and improving sleep
- There is some evidence to suggest that eating two kiwis before bed can aid sleep. Kiwis naturally contain serotonin, a neurotransmitter that when levels are low, may negatively affect the quality of sleep
- Avoiding caffeine close to bed, i.e. coffee and tea. This will vary from person to person in relation to tolerance, but if you know it affects your sleep then set yourself a cut-off time!
- Exercise daily, can enhance our sleep! So, keep your body active day to day, while trying to incorporate exercise outdoors. And if you train late at night opt for a cold shower to reduce alertness levels
- Avoid extreme temperatures in your room i.e. too hot or too cold. Maintain a comfortable temperature while ensuring you have comfortable bedding to optimise sleep
- Keep the room dark by avoiding any light getting in that may keep you awake
So, from the above is there anything you could implement for the week ahead?
Performance and health
Check out last week’s blog – Nutrition Labels – What & How?
This week’s simple swaps
Recipes of the week:
Time: 40 mins / Difficulty: easy / Serves 1 / Nutritional values – 453kcal / 53g carbs / 30g protein / 11g fat
- 1/2 tbsp honey
- 1 scoop protein
- 1/2 banana
- 40g oats blended
- 200ml milk
- Handful of blueberries
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1 egg
- Preheat oven to 180C, and line a small square baking dish
- Combine ingredients and transfer to the dish
- Place in oven for 35mins or until cooked through
- Note: you can make alterations i.e. topping with nuts/using peanut butter
- This can be made vegan by using soya milk and vegan protein powder!
Download this recipe below:
Time: 35 mins / Difficulty: Moderate / Serves 6 / Nutritional values – 405kcal / 26g carbs / 35g protein / 17g fat
- 5 chicken breasts
- 1 tbsp oil
- 3 peppers, cubed
- 1 onion diced
- 3 crushed garlic cloves
- 300ml coconut milk
- 5tbsp yoghurt
- Spices: 2 tbsp cinnamon / 2 tsp cumin / 2 tsp turmeric
- Marinade: 2 tbsp apple juice / 2 tbsp soy
- 1 tbsp ground almonds
- 2tsp oil 250g rice to serve
- Marinade the chicken, with the combined marinade ingredients
- Leave for 20 mins
- Prepare the rest of the ingredients
- Heat a pan with the oil, and add the peppers, onion and garlic
- Fry for 5mins until softened
- Stir in the milk and yoghurt and spices and add the chicken
- Simmer for 10mins until chicken is cooked
- Cook rice as instructed and serve
- Note: You can use turkey or beef alternatively
- Note: For greater amounts of carbs add more rice
Download this recipe below: