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10 habits that made me healthier, leaner, stronger…….

…full of energy and of course happy! To those who follow Fitter Food or know me personally it’s no secret that I tend to eat well most of the time, a diet rich in natural, unprocessed foods with the odd slip up when I walk past an ice-cream parlour. However, this was far from the case 4 years ago.

MattCropped

Around 4 years ago my diet was quite simply shite. I won’t bore you with the details but I wanted to share a post highlighting some habits I changed that have made me feel awesome. Whilst I have never had any issues with body fat I have suffered from low energy levels, low testosterone, bad skin and severe bloating. all caused by what I was eating.

 Check out these 10 habits I have implemented which have had a huge impact on my own health and awesomeness:

 

1) Avoiding Processed Foods

Sounds obvious but very few people eat a diet rich in unprocessed natural foods. I used to eat bread or cereal for breakfast, have sugar in my tea, have pasta or a baguette for lunch, and similar for dinner. When I first cut out the grains and other processed foods within 5 days I had more energy, slept better and my skin cleared. Whilst I still have the odd ice-cream or pack of tortillas, I eat natural, unprocessed food 80-90% of the time, it’s just a winner when it comes to long-term health and fat loss. 

2) Learning To Love Cooking

I have always enjoyed cooking but it wasn’t something I looked forward to everyday. As a busy PT I was more about  settling for a quick meal, likely something processed to fit in with my busy work schedule. The more I understood nutrition the more I began to get more creative and savvy in the kitchen and my passion for cooking developed. We cook 99% of our meals from scratch and we love home cooked food so much we rarely eat out nowadays. This way we know exactly what has gone into our meals with no hidden nasties. Word on the street is there is a great book that makes cooking great tasting and healthy meals really easy, it’s called Paleo Primer, check it out here. Also, cooking yourself will save you money and as you get more organised, a lot of time too. There’s plenty of recipes on our Fitter Food page too.

3) Reducing Portion Sizes

I am a big guy and have always had a huge appetite, I just love food. I love nothing more than piling my plate high with as much food as possible and I would always finish the lot.     Keris has always told me I needed to reduce my portion sizes as it was likely stressing my digestive health and she was right. Even though my plate was piled with good quality healthy food it was still too stressful on my gut, by reducing portions I feel less bloated and sluggish, have more energy and a little more money in my wallet. As a guy who trains it’s easy to get into the mindset that you need to eat a hell of a lot to keep your strength and size. Even though I am eating less, I weigh the same, I’m getting stronger and I feel better for it.

4) Eating Slowly & Chewing Food 

This is actually a habit I have taken on quite recently and boy am I glad I did. When I was younger I was always active; out playing football, rugby, tennis or playing knock down ginger. Even though I loved food I would see eating as a barrier to play time so when I would eat I would scoff the meal down as quickly as possible so I could get straight back out to play sports. Unfortunately it’s a habit that’s stayed with me for a long time and played havoc on my digestive system. I am currently addressing my digestive issues caused by years of bad eating habits. Actually taking time to appreciate my meals and chewing my food properly means my digestive system has less work to do, plus I enjoy my meals much more.

5) Vegetarian Meals Here & There

There is more chance of me winning the lottery than giving up bacon but a diet rich in animal protein, especially if your digestive system is not in optimal condition (which today is the case with many people unfortunately) can be quite stressful on the gut. Even more so if you’re not chewing your food properly. Undigested protein putrifies in the gut causing bloating and really stinky wind. Anyway, I’ve been ensuring at least 1 meal a day or at least every other day is vegetarian and I feel great for it.  Good way to boost the veggies and rest the digestive system from protein. Whilst it may not work for everyone it’s working wonders for me.

6) No More Than 2 Coffees Daily

I’m sure some of you are thinking, isn’t that quite normal?Well yes but I was one of those people who had no problem drinking 4-5 coffees a day and not always of the best quality either. I now have a maximum of 2 black coffees, usually  organic and good quality. I feel so much better for it and appreciate the coffee all the more. 

7) Get More Sleep

Another one that seems pretty obvious yet many people are sleep deprived. You don’t need me to tell you how important some good old shut eye is. I aim to be in bed before 10pm during the week without fail and I feel on top of the world for it. Eat a good meal, unwind and get yourself to bed. If you’re trying to lose body fat and think it’s possible on very little sleep, think again. 

8) Getting Outside More Often

Over the years  I have had my fair share of injuries from rugby, over training or letting my ego get the better of me. Even now I still have my niggles but I’m finally out of the mindset that I have to beast myself in the gym in order to get any benefit. I have decided to move more in general and get outside. I now walk about 20+ miles a week with Hamish and get out on the bike. If the weather is good it’s a bonus but there is just something about being out in the elements. You up your vitamin D levels, get some fresh air and discover places you never knew existed. We have discovered some hidden gems such as coffee shops, cafe’s and deli’s that we never knew of before. Go walking with a friend or family member and have a good catch up. Start by planning a nice Sunday morning walk, get up have a good coffee then walk with the end location a nice bit of brunch or pub lunch. It’s a great incentive when you know you have a good meal at the other end 🙂

9) Eating More Oily Fish

I would choose a nice steak over fish any day as I love red meat. Although I don’t mind fish it’s not an all time favourite of mine BUT I know that I feel so much better for eating more oily fish that is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. I now eat at least 1 meal a day that is fish based. To keep this up I’ve become more creative cooking it by adding in lots of spices, herbs, honey or making them into fish cakes. Our jerk salmon, fish in a blanket and fish n chips recipes in Paleo Primer all came from this need to make fish more tasty and palatable so I’d eat more. Try starting your day with a fish based meal like poached eggs and smoked salmon maybe every other day and go from there.

10) Spending More Quality Time With Good Folk

Do I need to say much here? Spend more time with the people you care about and less with those that bring negative energy into your life. Simple yet life changing, trust me!

So there you have it, 10 habits that have quite simply changed my life. Thanks to these I feel pretty dam awesome most of the time and never want to go back. Notice how there is no mention of training here, I can assure you I do train 🙂 However, I feel the above have  such a huge impact on my health my training has only improved from incorporating them into my life. There is much more to well being than training and diet, don’t ever forget that. 

Hope you enjoyed this post. Have an awesome day.

Matt