Theory Thursday

Eating Smart

We’ve talked about working out your BMR and tracking calories in and out as ways to achieve your goal weight, and we’ve talked about “snake eating” or intermittent fasting.  But you could interpret that as a license to eat only jelly to keep your calorie intake down and you’d then get hungry and malnourished if you didn’t


photo credit – Dr Ted Naiman MD


We fully believe, in the wise words of Garfield (remember him!) that

“diet is ‘die’ with a ‘t’.”



That means, no foods are off limits, there is no strict plan to follow, you are free to intermittent fast as it suits you and to make up your calorie count however you like and burn off as much as you like, how you like.  BUT, it’s so much easier if you “eat smart”.  What does eating smart look like?

1 – nutrient dense – don’t waste your calories on sugar and alcohol – you’ll regret it because you’ll be hungry and hungover!  Have lean protein which helps you feel full with plenty of veggies to give you your 5-a-day.

2 – Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) – minimise carbohydrate and don’t be afraid to replace carbs with good fat .

3 – (optional, if it suits you, but sensible) calorie or portion controlled – use my fitness pal, know your numbers to BE IN control, do not be controlled.

“That sounds like a diet” I hear you say……!?  Well, maybe, but the key is,

it’s up to you how you play it

The evil of sugar  


You’ve heard about it all over the news, but you’ve got a sweet tooth.  Or, you find you need a “sugar-fix” to keep you awake or to stop you getting shaky and faint (and you think you might be diabetic).  

Well, you’re not diabetic.  You do not need sugar.  You are an addict and you need to quit.  It’s really hard because “sugar” is not just the granular white stuff you put in your coffee, a lot of sugar is added and a lot of foods you eat just turn quickly into sugar in your bloodstream – and that gives you the energy spike and then the crashing low, described above.

How to fix it?

5% rule – OK, sorry, we made a rule.  Nowadays food is labelled.  LOOK and don’t pick up things with more than 5% sugar in them.  Labels usually tell you sugar in grams per 100 gram of product, so just stick to less than 5g of sugar per 100g of “foodstuff” and that is dead easy, dead simple and if you just did that and nothing else you might be the “you” you always dreamed of.

Low GI – Low glycaemic index or “complex carbs”.  These are the unprocessed carbohydrates with lots of fibre that your gut has to work much harder to extract the sugar out of.  Eat them and you won’t then get the “sugar rush” and the sugar drop then craving.  What are they?  wholemeal bread & pasta, quinoa, pulses, brown rice.  If that sounds a little bit “hairshirt” you might be as well to cut carbs altogether.

The overriding reason why we want you to do this is NOT because we are mean sadists but because you will NOT BE HUNGRY!  Try it & let us know!

Nutrient Dense 

So, you’re now convinced  that sugar is the “white death” and you are resolved to quit and never be insatiably hungry again.  You will regain your normal hunger signals.  What on earth are you going to eat?  There are plenty of resources on the internet and books to help you (& the photo at teh top of this page) – we’ve already banged on about livestrong and the blood sugar diet.  You need protein as a basic nutritional building block (myfitnesspal calls these “macros” as in “macronutrients”) and lean means chicken and fish, so start there.  Then you need “micronutrients” or vitamins and minerals and your “5-a-day” – veggies mostly, some fruit is fine especially berries.  Then you may or may not want to add a small amount of low GI less than 5% sugar carbohydrates and finally you definitely want “good fat”.

Good fat

For years we’ve been avoiding fat, yet now we’re avoiding sugar, but what fat is OK? We think it’s pretty easy – if it’s fat from a plant (except maybe coconuts) or an oily fish eat it merrily,

olive oil and oily fish

if it’s fat from an animal (or a coconut) be cautious if you continue to eat carbs (but not as cautious as you used to be: just don’t forget how calorie -dense fat is!)  If you are absolutely carb-free then you can have your saturated fat & eat it!


The bottom line on this one is

avocados are good 😉 and you can only afford to up the fat if you ditch those carbs!


(and by the way, eggs are OK now!)

And finally

No–one can be this disciplined 100% of the time.  We said at the start, nothing is off-limits, we just want to encourage you to eat smart i.e. make smart food choices that fill you up with life-prolonging nutrients and stop that insatiable hunger.  So we make no apologies for this excellent rule:

80:20 rule

80% of the time stick with the programme, 20% of the time allow yourself some wriggle room.

Now, go forth and eat smart 🙂 



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A tiny hobbit dedicated to saving the world with a decent second breakfast. Also, available to make you feel good in triathlon when you overtake her.......

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