Personal trainer Pat Divilly on the biggest mistakes we're making with our diets
Brought to you by Udo's Choice
If there is anyone who can help us improve our diets, it's Pat Divilly.
In the past few years, there has been a pretty phenomenal increase in the number of personal trainers on these shores. Social media has played a huge role in that, as it has become so much easier for them to help people reach their goals.
One of the first Irish personal trainers to really utilise social media was Pat Divilly, who started out from a small fitness centre in Barna, Co. Galway. From the get-go in 2012, he set out to change our attitudes to health and fitness as a whole.
Seven years, several books, and a few hundred thousand followers later, there aren't many people better placed to ask about how we can improve our diet plans. As a brand ambassador for Udo's Oil, which has been a staple part of his lifestyle for a number of years now, he told us about some of the pitfalls we should avoid when it comes to what we're eating.
"Don't try to change everything at once."
A lot of the time, people simply break food down into the two categories of "good" and "bad". While that might help keep you away from junk food, Pat said it's important to stick to what he calls "real" food.
"One of the biggest mistakes I think people make is falling into the trap of confusing health with low calorie and low sugar or low-fat foods. Calories do matter, but when it comes to health the quality of the foods we are eating is key," Pat said.
"Look to get 80% of your food intake from 'real' food. By this, I mean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds. Prioritise proteins, fats and veggies and then eat an appropriate amount of carbohydrate relative to your activity levels."
Counting calories or measuring your fat/carb intake is beneficial, but only in proportion with your own activity levels. The more active you are, the more carbohydrate you'll be able to handle.
"It's a bit like fuel in a car. The longer the journey the more fuel you'll need, but if the tank is full you can't add any more."
"We'll store a certain amount of carbohydrate in the body as glycogen but at a certain point, we can't hold any more unless we're utilising it through activity. At that point, we'll store the excess as fat," he said.
Take it one step at a time
When we're trying to improve our lifestyle, the first two ports of call are diet and exercise. In Pat's experience, changing your diet is the more difficult of the two.
"Everyone is different but for many, the exercise side of things is easier as they enjoy it and it's only a few hours in the week. The food side of things is constant and so it can be overwhelming to people," he said.
While the positive changes you make should be something you stick with, you're better off to take it one small step at a time. If you keep going at your own pace, you're far less likely to feel overwhelmed by it all.
"In my experience, the people who start with and stick with small consistent changes with their foods are the ones who build momentum and see great results. Don't try to change everything at once. "
"Those who succeed in fitness are the ones who find something they love doing," he said.
Lose the guilt, then shed the kilos
Looking to live a healthier lifestyle shouldn't be motivated by guilt. Saying "I should really train more," does nothing but put unnecessary expectation onto your shoulders.
"The word 'should' is usually an expectation we've got on ourselves rather it being something we're excited to try and take on board. With training, I think it's about finding the thing you 'get to' do, in other words the type of training you enjoy," he said.
While it's one thing to say you want to improve your diet, it's another to actually go ahead and do it. In an age where we have access to so much information, it often feels like trying to do a juggling act on top of our already-full lifestyles.
"We live in busy times and it's easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of information on nutrition, health and training. At it's most simple nutrition is about getting amino acids from proteins, vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables and essential fatty acids from nuts, seeds, oils, avocados or oily fish."
"Small changes build confidence and momentum and once we see results in how we look, feel and move it's easier to add more habits and steps. Udo's Oil Vegan Capsules are simply an easy way of ensuring you are getting those essential fatty acids daily in the perfect quantity and ratio of Omega 3's and 6's."
“My advice for anyone pursuing a goal is to focus on small wins every day. Over time these add up and make the 'impossible' possible," he said.
Udo’s Oil Vegan Capsules are a unique blend of Omega 3, 6 and 9, derived from eight high-quality plant-based natural ingredients to contain the perfect ratio of essential fatty acids. It’s the richest vegan source of essential fatty acids available in Ireland. These convenient capsules are ideal for those on-the-go, as they don’t need refrigeration.
Brought to you by Udo's Choice