If you take one thing from this post, let it be that Abs are made in the kitchen... Going to the gym is just not enough.
There's a common misconception that if you go to the gym, you can eat whatever you like... WRONG! If you don't make good choices in the kitchen, all the squat sessions and playing with ab roller will not get you the results you're chasing.
Think about this...if you do 3/4 really hardcore sessions a week, is that really enough to counteract the other 165-ish hours that you spend sitting on your ass at a desk/in front of the tv/in the pub eating and drinking crap? Absolutely not!
If you want to drop body fat, then your first concern should be every last thing that passes your lips. Did you steal a chip from your friend's plate over lunch? Did you pick at more cheese than you should have when you prepared your salad? Did you take a sneaky piece of cake that was offered as a sample in the supermarket? IT ALL COUNTS!!!! You can absolutely destroy your progress with little 'treats' or slips like this... I don't mean to sound like an army commander here, but you need to be vigilant!!!! You need to keep track of what you're eating...every bite... be honest about it, weigh your food, use online calorie calculators or apps like My Fitness Pal to track your daily food intake.
For me, I have to weigh food to keep a check on portion sizes... do you know what 30g of almonds looks like? Chances are you seriously underestimate it and end up overeating. After a while, you'll get good at eyeballing how much you should be eating of certain foods... but until then, and until you're sure you're not going to sneak an extra few here and there, then you need to weigh everything! It's a brilliant way to change your mindset about portion control.
Another thing I do that I find really useful, is planning my meals for the week and writing a shopping list based on that menu. I don't deviate from that list when I shop, which stops impulse buying of foods I shouldn't eat, keeps costs down and stops food waste as a result of buying too much. It really is worth taking 5 minutes before you go shopping to write that list. Having a set menu might seem boring, but it's not like I eat the same dinner all week, I make a conscious effort to vary meats/fish and veg so I'm always eating food I enjoy.... this prevents the appearance of cravings or the dessert stomach...
If you really want to reach your goals, you need to be determined. If you eat crap because you think you don't have the time to cook real food, then I'll make a couple of suggestions.... Firstly, if you have time to watch an hour of tv a night, then you absolutely have time to cook. If you really find you're time restricted in the evenings, then maybe cut training from 4 sessions to 3 and spend that extra hour cooking meat and fish and preparing salads.... pop them into containers in the fridge, and you're good to go with healthy meals. It's only an hour, and it would be far better spent getting your nutrition in order, than training that's going to be undone with a takeaway.
The arguments I hear all the time when it comes to eating real food are;
- It's too expensive to buy lots of meat & vegetables
- I don't have many kitchen utensils/enough fridge space
- I'm not sure what to cook
I'm going to deal with these arguments in my next post. I'll explain why eating real food is affordable, give you plenty of reasons why processed food is damaging your health, and tell you how you can make the best of the equipment/space you do have and create a varied weekly menu that fits in with your lifestyle and your goals.