• Gergo Jonas

The diet conundrum

Count calories, do not count calories… Diet, don't diet… Eat this, don’t eat that… There’s so much contradictory advice out there that it’s hard to take a pick. Who is right, or at least the most right after all? Yeah, it can be confusing. I’ll try to bring some clarity, so let me just start by saying what I believe it’s the most important thing.

Is there good generic advice? I’d say yes, there is - after all we’re all constituted in a similar way, to an extent. But when it comes to diet, as well as lifestyle, there is no one size fits all.

Sure, eating more vegetables, being active, etc. are things that will benefit everyone. However, how exactly to turn this into systems that will adequately fit your personality and your life circumstances, can vary a lot. That’s why the first thing a PT needs to do in order to benefit someone is to just listen. Listen to the person’s goals. Listen to the way they perceive exercise and diet. Listen to the way they feel about it and why. Listen, listen, listen. There is a lot we can say to teach our clients just based on our experience, that’s true.

However, at the end of the day, no one can help you become a better version of yourself… if they don’t really know you in the first place.

And in order to know someone, we need to - guess what - listen. Ideally, of course, everyone would be able to have me or a PT accompanying them consistently. Time is the best way for me to truly get to know you, and incrementally refine the workouts not only to your fitness level and health, but also to your lifestyle and personality. When that is not an option and someone just wants me to write them a programme, I always book review sessions further on so we can review and adjust things as well as possible. This is valid both for workout and nutrition plans.

The people I train can have me accompany them in both those matters. For the rest of you, I still like to try and make the process of trying to adopt healthier habits as easy as possible.

When it comes to food, the way this goes will also depend on more than just the person’s goals and health. Again, it will depend almost as much on their daily routine, their tastes and their personality.

For instance, if you’re someone who values practicality above all, then you’re on my side of the field. In that case, I’d advise you to make your life as simple as possible.

Have a group of staple foods at home and cook similarly throughout the week according to what you have, instead of buying ingredients that you won't know what to do with afterwards.

This way you won't get overwhelmed by one more thing that you’re trying to change on the path to a healthier life. Since I tried this method as a means to easily stick to a better diet, I never looked back. If you’re a foodie to whom this sounds like your worst nightmare - eating the same simple food almost every day - do not panic. I got you covered too. On the nutrition section of my blog, you’ll find a bunch of deliciously exciting recipes, from breakfast/snack to lunch/dinner! All of them have accurate nutritional info and they go from super simple, like the Silken tofu and berry cream which has 5 ingredients and takes a couple of minutes to get ready, to more refined like the Teriyaki tofu. And don’t worry, none of them requires you to be a super skilled chef to prepare them. I also give little tips in some of them that helped me when I cooked them myself. And finally, there are those who are somewhat in the middle, i.e. neither the type who’d be happy eating bland boiled vegetables every day, but also not an aspiring family chef. For those, I’d advise a mix of both methods: have your staple ingredients to make sure you’ll eat everything you need on a daily basis, but instead of cooking the exact same thing daily, look for different ways to cook the same thing. You can also use a week-by-week meal planning method. Basically, you plan a varied week of lunch and dinner foods and then repeat this weekly. This way you'll know which meals you are going to cook each day of the week but you don’t repeat them too much. So it’ll still be pretty much an automated process but it won’t feel like it!

To sum up, I don’t think anyone should tell you it’s definitely best to count calories or not or to eat a certain food or not. It will depend on your health condition, your goals, and of course on your life circumstances and personality.

If you have more specific goals, i.e. other than just having a healthy lifestyle or diet, then personal coaching is the best I could do for you. Either by writing you a tailored programme with some follow-up sessions for review/adjustments or with an all-around personal training programme and consistent sports nutrition accompaniment.

In any case, for good generic advice, there are a bunch of free informative videos on my youtube channel, and I'm always putting out blogs, recipes, posts with healthy tips - all the good stuff! I hope at least some of these will be helpful to you, and of course, hit me up on my social media or just contact me if there’s anything on your mind that you think I could help with! I’ll do my best to get back to you as soon as I can :)

Train ComplEat,

Coach G.

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