Dieting for Women – What you REALLY need to know – Part 1

So the Dos and Donts of what to eat (and what not to eat) to have nice girl-guns, girl-ceps, glutes of steel and all that glory that comes with it. Da dahhh ?

1. Don’t Over Think It

First and foremost one of the biggest issues I come across with women and diets is that they OVERTHINK EVERYTHING. Now, this can be a good thing and a bad thing at times. So let me just explain what I mean.

Being the ahem smarter species ? women tend to be quite focused when it comes to diets and training and so on. What I mean is – if I hand one of my girls a nutrition plan they scour through it with a fine tooth comb ensuring they understand every single facet of it. When I meet a potential female client for the first time they often WANT to discuss their diet in detail, and focus on ways to improve it. Food diaries, snapchats, the works – they are all for it. Let’s face it – we love the idea of clean eating and at times wonder how much enjoyment can guys REALLY get out of big messy man food and pints?

While this at best is a good thing – our best intentions can at times work against us. Let me explain. Have you ever wandered aimlessly around a supermarket or coffee shop or somewhere restlessly looking for something… ANYTHING that won’t knock your watertight diet out of sync? You potter about picking stuff up and either freaking out that you can’t quite understand the macro content on the label (it’s clearly in hieroglyphics or something) or you freak out because there may (or may not – because you still don’t understand the stooped label thing) be a gram or two of sugar roughely hiding in it somewhere. So you do one of two things. Either you decide to just save yourself the hassle and not bother eating anything – sure dinner is only 6 hours away. That’s grand. Or you inhale a couple of bars of sugar-free chocolate, maybe a small scone or nibble on a rice cake because that has to be a better option right? Sound familiar?

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m all for clients being fully aware of what they are consuming and I am certainly not suggesting that you all go rogue and nail everything you want when you want – because that’s just silly. But what I am saying is dieting, in general, is as much a mental game as it is a physical one. And the more you stress the worse it will become.

And then comes the guilt factor. We are by in large very hard on ourselves if and when we fall off the wagon. And while it is good to recognise that yes we’ve had a slip-up – kicking ourselves around the place and completely restricting ourselves to a pigeon-like-diet for the next five days is most certainly NOT the answer. One bad meal will not make you fat – just like one good meal will not make you lean. Its balance and consistency that is key.

So that part of my rant over, it is also important to note that women looking to drop a few pounds are by in large a marketers dream. You know the saying ‘shrink it and pink it – and it’s going to sell’ – well the same goes for quick fix diets, ‘healthy’ breakfast bars, bite-sized puffs of air that come neatly packaged with a bow, miracle 6 seconds to abs DVDs, magical fat loss fairy dust . . . . If it was that easy to have a lean sexy body and girl abs of steel – sure we’d all have them.

So don’t get taken in by pesky marketers and pretty-ful advertising. If it looks too good to be true well then it probably is. But what happens if do you fall down? Well just hurry the fook up and get back up again  There are only 52 Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in a year – so why waste any of them. You have a tiny slip up – just get back on it tomorrow gurl. Simple

2. Carbs

So now for the dreaded issue of carbohydrates . . . . That’s right you heard me CARB-O-HYDRATES . . . .

Let me just clear something up once and for all. Now what I’m going to say next can at times be taken up wrong – but bear with me while I explain it through.

People didn’t get fat from carbs. Excuse me? Nooooooo. People got fat from eating TOO MANY carbs or the WRONG TYPE of carbs. Fact.

Let me explain before you all go rogue on my ass. Think about it. People didn’t necessarily get fat because they included carbs into their diet. They got fat from eating too many carbs or the eating the wrong type of carbs. So basically from nailing sugars, chippers and all other sorts of refined carbohydrates they shouldn’t be – not to mention the massive amounts they were consuming to top it all off.

Unhealthy Foods

I had this very conversation with a fellow trainer recently and he used the example of a carrot. A carrot? Yep, you heard me. Sure they are considered a root vegetable and one we would tend to avoid in our daily nutritional plans. But think about it. Have you ever known of anyone to get fat JUST because they ate carrots? Yeah, I think not. Sure I try to avoid them but am I going to have an absolute girl-fit because one ends up on my plate one day? Ehhh no.

And the same goes for sauces. Nobody got fat from eating sauces. They got fat from what they put the sauces ON TO . . . . so the fried rice, noodles, chips . . . maybe the glass of wine or three there on the side. Again before people start trying to go rogue on me – I advise all my clients to avoid the sauces that high in sugar and gluten. So the sweet chilli sauces, the honey-based ones . . . basically anything you know that screams ‘here look at me I’m laced with sweetness and crap’ you can see where I am going with this. Again keep them minimal but would I ever have a fillet steak without my side of pepper sauce? Ehhhhh no. ?

3. High Fat/High Protein

Now that we have the issue of carbs sorted (phew) it leads me very nicely into my next point. The High Fat/High Protein diet. One of the diets that appears to be a firm favourite of women everywhere. Is it fundamentally wrong? Well no. Will it help burn body fat? Well yeah if implemented correctly, used in the right context and combined with the right type of training.

So what then?

Well to get sciencey for a moment or two. Most of us have probably come across the 4 major macronutrients at some stage or other – Protein, Carbohydrates, Fats and Alcohol. We just might not be aware of what role they play in our daily food count or how to take them incorrectly to help build a lean sexy body.

Leaving alcohol aside for one moment . . . ahem . . . . how do we include these macros into our daily meals to ensure we practice a healthy balanced diet?

If we just consume fats and protein in our diet for example – we are cutting out one of the major macro groups – carbohydrates. As explained above when used correctly carbohydrates are NOT the enemy. Overeating and crappy eating are.
In fact, if you cut out a single macro group from your diet (carbs being the most common) your body will eventually start seeking other ways to satiate it needs. What does this mean? CRAVINGS . . . . . .

I’ve read many studies on this and it is something I have spoken about with other trainers at length. When someone initially begins a fat loss eating plan – they by in large cut down on calories they are consuming. Good. But by cutting out calories they will in part end up cutting out some nutrients and minerals that their body actually needs to function correctly. Your body can’t turn around to you and say ‘come here I need some Vitamin D, I need some more iron . . .’ what it does say to you is ‘come here I’m starving’ and said diet goes out the window. Sound familiar?

Again to be clear – I’m NOT condoning that we go off and start nailing carbs left right and centre, go rogue with dietary fat and inhale tubs of protein powders to beat the band . . . . I’m simply trying to make the point that a well balanced and calculated diet is key to building and maintaining a healthy lean body.

Another point worthy to note is that when women opt for a diet of just fats and protein – they rarely get the measurements right. What I mean is they have a tendency to eat too much fat and not enough protein.

Protein plays a vital role in the development and correct functioning of our bodies. It acts as our very own building block helping to build and maintain muscle in the body. So what happens if your diet is lacking in protein? Well, the bad news is the body is great at storing fat and sugars and all that other fun stuff but just not so good at storing protein. So if your diet is lacking in protein, for example, your body will start breaking down its own muscle to produce the level it needs and that’s negative craic ? So it’s vital that women consume adequate amounts of protein in their diet to replace the amount their body uses on a daily basis. Not sure how to calculate your needs? Ask someone that does. It’s not rocket science but it is science and there is no one size fits all approach here.

So what about the fats then? Well over the years women are leaning towards nuts, coconut oils, olive oils, full-fat cheeses the full sha-bang to increase their fat intake. That’s cool – well to an extent. But you see fats contain more calories per gram than any other macronutrient – over double that of protein OR carbs gram for gram – so if you go rogue on fat intake your calories will shoot through the roof. To put it simply but maybe not so eloquently . . . . if you eat too much fat you will soon look like you eat too much fat. And again that would be negative craic.

Now that’s not to say fats don’t have a place in your diet – it just means you need to get your calculations right. Be aware of how much you are consuming and when for example in order to build and maintain that lean sexy body you know?? ?

4. Girly Time

So it’s that time of the month and all things diet and fitness related should go out the window – right? Eh not so much. Let’s face it, ladies, if we are going to get that bloaty crappy I hate men feeling every month – it’s about time we did something about it.


I’ve written about this before in length >>>>>>>

But just let’s focus on the diet aspect for a few moments.

For some girls ‘that time of the month’ is simply an excuse to go mental with crappy nonsense food. But sure it’s not your fault . . . . Clearly, hormones are to blame right? Bestest excuse ever yeow! ? But let’s get real for a moment – It doesn’t actually matter if you feel like a bag of crap – it’s still no excuse to go rogue with your diet. Sure guys don’t actually understand what we go through but still, it doesn’t give us some sort of ‘lady pass’ to fall off the bandwagon month on month. You’ll end up running around in circles – just teetering on the edge of your fat loss goals. And sure what’s the point in that?

Ok so you might store extra water, your body temperature rises and overall you’ll feel more irritable and cranky but a few minor shifts in your diet will sort that puppy right out!

So in short drink extra water (help reduce bloating), cut down on the coffee and avoid all the crappy nonsensical food you know you should be avoiding.

Read the full blog here >>>>>

5. Cheat Meals

Ah, the famous ‘cheat meal’. This is an issue I toyed about discussing – purely because a lot of people have a crazy massive loyalty to their weekly cheat meal -but the subject was broached to me recently – so here goes nothing!
Yes if implemented correctly cheat meals can have a major physical and possibly just as important mental impact on clients. You know how it works – when used correctly cheat meals help to restore the body’s glycogen levels, jazzy up your metabolism, regulate insulin levels and keep the body’s fat-burning mechanisms at an all-time high. Not to mention they help satisfy those niggling cravings you may encounter towards weekend. Safe right?

Well, what if I was to tell you that I have recently cut out my weekly cheat meal yet my body fat has actually DECREASED and my girl muscle is on the rise? And what’s more – I didn’t even realise I was skipping it, or missing out on my cheat meal. . . until it was pointed out to me like a blinding flashing light. Girl genus right here ha.

Let me explain. Taking everything I have discussed above it should be apparent that a correct balance of macros, combined with correct training, minus fad diets and shoddy marketing, minus (again) girly bloaty issues we now know how to combat . . . well is there a need for the famous cheat meal?

Maybe not. I recently came across an article whereby the trainer in question challenged that cheat meals simply suggest your diet is lacking in something – and if you read through the section in which I discussed the use of high fat/high protein diets you’ll see I tend to agree with him. If your body is lacking in one macro it will crave satiation from somewhere – and here enters the cheat meal.

Speaking from personal experience I’m currently training for a physique competition in the UK and as such I have altered my diet accordingly. Since I have rearranged my macro intakes I haven’t experienced any cravings and as such I have not engaged in my weekly Sunday cheat meal ritual. And I only ACTUALLY realised this when someone was eating a massoooofff chocolate cake beside me the other day and I didn’t even flinch. Check me out. My cravings were so nonexistence I didn’t even miss them. Definitely a winning situation right there ha.

Ok so all joking aside there are a few more issues here to consider when discussing cheat meals. Firstly that they are just that – a cheat MEAL. Not a cheat DAY, or a cheat WEEKEND or a cheat LETS GO OUT ON THE BEER AND GET HANGOVER FOOD AFTER – meal. Because that just doesn’t work.

Similarly cheat meals aren’t designed to give you free licence to absolutely upend yourself with every sugar imaginable. Tubs of Ben and Jerrys, with cinema sized bags of chocolates – sure they all sound great but it’s not the aim of a cheat meal. Plus it will probably put you into a day long food coma followed by the two day ‘diabetic’ food hangover. Nasty.

Cheat meals are designed to add in extra calories but not for you to go completely awol with them– which unfortunately a lot of people do. That being said instead of helping them carve they body they want, a poorly designed cheat meal will do the complete opposite. It’ll be more pudding head than eating pudding if you get me.

So there you have it. The dos and don’t’s of all things girly and diet related.

Happy lean eating ladies

The ABS Gym


The post Dieting for Women – What you REALLY need to know appeared first on The ABS Gym.