Nutrition is 80% of what determines if you’ll be successful in recomposing your body.
Have you been choosing cereal as a “healthy” breakfast option? Think fruit is a great default snack? Avoiding red meat because it’s “heavy”? Completely eschewing fat and bacon? Picking like a bird at iceberg lettuce salads in hungry desperation?
All of this “common knowledge” is completely wrong. Forget everything you’ve been taught about nutrition. This Nutrition Guide will teach you everything you need to know to put fat-burning, muscle-building choices on your plate each and every day.
You’ll learn what a good portion size is for you, and what you need to eat regularly in order to lose weight.You will learn to use nutritional science to your advantage. Learn how to compose a healthy plate, and how to choose one from a restaurant menu.
You will not spend zillions on mysterious diet products. You will not be limited to an extremely restricted daily plan. You will not eat tasteless food.
We aren’t proposing a new a diet, but rather a lifestyle change that will help you to lose fat and to feel comfortable in your body.
Get a nutrition plan
If you don’t have one, the 8fit app can produce a personalized menu for your goals.
To help you build good habits, do your best to follow your meal plan. However, reaching your goal is not all about following a strict meal plan for the entire life. It is about building confidence in choosing the right options, and working new habits into your lifestyle.
Bonus points: track your food
If you start tracking everything you eat, the mere act of tracking will make you more aware of what you’re putting into your body. You’ll be far less likely to shovel absent-minded handfuls of m&ms into your gaping maw.
The 8fit app automatically checks off meals that you have completed, and keeps track of them on the main Habits screen.
Your caloric needs
No, you do not have a wonky metabolism. No, you weren’t born with that stubborn fat on your hips. No, you are (very likely) not the exception to the rule.
Just like everything else in the universe, you are subject to the laws of thermodynamics. You gain weight from creating a caloric surplus – eating more calories than you burn. You lose it through creating a caloric deficit – eating fewer calories than you burn.
Your daily calorie goal will depend on whether you want to lose, maintain, or gain weight (NOTE: the majority of this guide is written with the goal of shedding poundage rather than packing it on).
If you’re using 8fit’s app, the nutrition section will already be adapted to your goal.
Most diets are only successful in the short term. You might be overwhelmingly lethargic while following them, constantly suffering from hunger pangs, and undernourished. This is because the weight you will lose comes largely from muscle and water, not fat. In the end, your metabolism has slowed down and it’s likely that you’ll regain all the weight you’ve lost or weigh even more. Who wants that? Not you. Read on.
A calorie is not a calorie. There are really only three building blocks of food that you need to pay attention to (apart from calories). These are the macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Your body processes each in a different way.
If you balance these three in the right way, you’ll metabolize fat, give your body what it needs to build muscle and you’ll be energized. It’s not all about the ratio, but rather about the right food combination. Your optimal macronutrient ratio will vary between the meals and depend on your caloric needs and goals.
Our meal plan makes sure you’ll get enough protein each day. This gives your muscles the material they need to grow. Yes, women too, and no, you won’t get bulky. Combining complex carbohydrates with enough protein will help you feeling satisfied and energized.
The remainder of your calories should come from fat. Yes, fat: eating fat will not make you fat. Because you’ll have a constant blood sugar level from complex foods, your body will be optimized to use fat for energy. Eat fat and love it.
What to avoid completely
Like we said at the beginning, you can follow a diet and lose weight quickly, but it’s often unlikely to maintain it.
Eating carbohydrates without protein or fat makes it unlikely to burn fat. It will result in a high blood sugar level and insulin peaks which will stop you from burning fat and make you crave for more food. It’s all about the right combination to make sure you burn fat and gain muscle at the same time.
There are some foods you should only eat in combination with protein or fat and never alone: carbohydrates like bread, pasta, rice, grains, oats, corn and potatoes. We encourage you to avoid the processed version completely and choose the wholesome version to provide your body with fiber, minerals and vitamins.
Limit fruit intake to 2-3 pieces a day. Fruit is nature’s candy, and fructose makes you hungrier. There are some low-calorie fruits worth including in your diet in limited amounts (see below). Be more than cautious with sugary fruits like bananas, dates, grapes, papayas, mangoes, and pineapples. Dehydrated fruit is especially dangerous as it concentrates the sugar. Juice is doubly bad – it eliminates all the benefits of fiber in whole fruit and leaves only sugar water.
Forget sugar and all its derivatives. “Natural” sweeteners like honey, agave nectar, molasses, maple syrup, and unrefined sugars are just as dangerous as their evil cousin, refined white sugar. All of them will make you fat, unless you burn them, which is difficult. Just don’t eat them in the first place. Cut out soda and sugared drinks completely; drink the diet version only if you feel you’ll otherwise implode. Forget anything with high-fructose corn syrup even exists.
Eating fat won’t make you fat, but some fats aren’t friendly to fitness. Don’t consume corn oil, cottonseed oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, shortening, or absolutely anything containing refined/hydrogenated/trans fats. Your body doesn’t know how to deal with these kinds of fats, and they can throw your chemistry into chaos.
- choose the wholemeal version of a food, avoid the “white version”
- never eat carbohydrates alone (even fruits) and always combine them with protein or fat
- limit fruit, especially sugary fruit like bananas, dates, grapes, papayas, mangoes, and pineapples
- avoid sugar and all derivatives, including honey, agave nectar, molasses, maple syrup, and unrefined sugars
- avoid nasty processed fats, like hydrogenated and trans fats
What are good foods?
If you have to give up your daily deep-fried croissant, just what the hell are you going to eat? So glad you asked! There are loads of whole foods that fit very well into 8fit nutrition.
Great whole sources of protein
- Grass-fed beef
- Chicken and turkey
- Wild salmon, herring, sardine, trout, mackerel, and anchovies
- Nearly any fish
- Shellfish, like mussels, oysters, and clams
- Octopus and squid
- Lean pork
- Eggs, especially organic eggs
- Greek yogurt (unsweetened)
- Cottage cheese
What about beans? Legumes offer lots of protein, but are also high in carbohydrates. However, the glycemic load of legumes is rather low. This means, the blood sugar stays more constant and help you burning fat not long after eating.
It’s also possible to find processed products that have decent macronutrient ratios, but you’ll find it noticeably more difficult – this is because manufacturers of processed foods generally pump them full of salt, sugar, and fat (incidentally, that’s also an excellent book on the subject!).
Great sources of fats
- Fatty fish like salmon, herring, trout, mackerel, and anchovies – great sources of Omega-3
- Grass-fed beef
- Bacon (yessssss)
- Coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil
- Grass-fed organic butter
- Dairy from grass-fed organic animals
- Nuts other than peanuts (which are actually a legume): almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts
- Seeds: pumpkin, sesame, chia, flax
Again, for the intrepid: try marrow. It’s mineral dense and extraordinarily delicious.
If you don’t like fish, consider taking fish oil as a supplement to ensure you get enough Omega-3 fatty acids.
Great sources of carbohydrates
These should be taken in moderation and combined with protein and fat.
- Quinoa, amaranth and millet
- Wild rice
- Sweet potatoes, potatoes and yams
- Berries: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries
- Apples, pears, grapefruit and oranges
There are many more vegetables and fruits out there, of course. Look up their nutritional value before enjoying. Take note of the net carbs, which is the total carb count minus any fiber content (which aids in digestion since your body can’t process it into glucose). Any herb or spice is also a great addition to your arsenal.
Never go hungry
Follow the recommended tips each day,and you’ll feel satisfied and energized even while maintaining a caloric deficit. The problem with running off carbohydrates is that the body uses them for quick energy, then comes to a speeding crash. It demands more easy glucose, likely in the form of another candy bar.
If you balance complex carbohydrates with a good amount of protein and fat, you’ll quiet the rumbles. Protein sates the body over a long period and helps you not to crave for sugar. It’s processed slowly, avoiding the insulin spike and crash. Dietary fat also aids in long term satiety.
Consider a plate of 600 calories’ worth of sausage and bacon versus 600 calories’ worth of toast with honey or marmelade. Ever note how you can eat slice after slice of toast without feeling satisfied? Our food combinations fill you up and keep you there much longer than the simple carbs with colorful marshmallows.