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Following my most recent blog post, titled "Why Aren't I Losing Weight?" (read here), I thought it may be useful to follow up with the idea of malnutrition. Defined simply as "lack of proper nutrition, caused by not having enough to eat, not eating enough of the right things, or being unable to use the food that one does eat." (definition from Oxford Dictionaries, via )

I discussed the fact that it is possible to lose weight through a calorie deficit, even if our calorie deficit only included fast foods, or foods high in sugars/fats/salts etc. If you're consuming 1500 calories in a day but using up 1800 calories, then yes you would be in a calorie deficit. However, I see too often that some fitness "professionals" suggest that this calorie deficit can be made up using takeaways, and what I like to call brown food... you know exactly what I mean - throwback to the days of chicken nuggets, smiley potatoes and beans for dinner.

To sum this up... regular calorie deficits may mean that yes you lose weight, but you may in fact be malnourished. More so to the point, someone could be classed as obese in the BMI section but in fact still be malnourished. If we eat a very restricted diet - or perhaps are just fussy eaters - one may encounter malnourishment. So here's my question to you... how varied is your diet?

I encourage any new clients to try as many different foods as they possibly can - sometimes we are simply scared to try new foods, or for the ease of knowing what we like and how to prepare it. If I've not said it enough, I LOVE food, and actually one of my favourite things about travelling is being able to try new foods from around the world. I like to encourage people to have a healthy relationship with food, and I believe that being able to prepare meals or snacks from scratch is a great benefit to our health. I'll be the first to admit that I don't like ALL foods, but I'm sure up for trying something new to widen my tastes. Use the pictures below to look for some alternative foods to try within your diet, and if possible try them more than once! You may prefer a food if cooked in a different way, for example, sweet potatoes can be quite mushy as jacket potatoes and a texture that not many people may like, however if making homemade chips, they may prefer the crispy texture of sweet potato in chip form!

How many of the above foods have you tried? There are plenty more - but generally these are freely available in UK supermarkets and provide variety for our diets!

It is important to take into consideration the availability of foods that we may have local to us, as well as the cost of items; I appreciate it can be expensive sometimes to eat more healthily. However, I would argue that you can't put a price on good health and well-being. We just consider those who choose to eat a more restricted diet - vegetarians, vegans and pescatarians come to mind, as do those with allergens as it means some foods are already off limits to them. Despite this, there is now much more variety within our supermarkets to be able to choose alternatives - hundreds of products are gluten free, dairy free, nut free or even suitable for vegans (big up Oreos and Lotus biscuits... who knew!) meaning that our diets do not have to be limited. If you really can't find alternatives, or perhaps can't afford to have them often then I would suggest doing your research into supplementation, to ensure your body still receives a suitable level of all the vitamins and minerals that it needs.

Malnutrition can be very easily avoided with a varied diet and willingness to try something new. Pick up a different fruit next time at the supermarket, or try a different milk in your coffee. You may find something that you like, and perhaps even find a new level of energy from more variety of food. Do so with care, but with an open-mind for change. Eating healthily doesn't have to be boring at all, but it's one way we might just start changing our futures into more balanced lifestyles. If I'm honest, the above food suggestions only just scratch the surface, but try something new, or a different way of cooking! Remember that even the healthiest of looking people could be lacking good nutrition if they don't eat a varied enough diet! Eat for your health, eat for your mind and eat for your fitness...

Any questions? Let me know via instagram @ajrpersonaltrainer or get in contact via my website

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