Many of the people I interact with, especially my 30 day challengers, seek more in depth nutritional advice then what I currently give. I can be pretty general when it comes to what I advise people to do. I hesitate to divulge exactly what I do because 1) I’m far from perfect (continually trying to figure it out myself) and 2) I’m not a certified nutritionist. True, I did study Sports and Exercise Science, and I’ve read everything I could get my hands on in terms of what to do, what not to do when it came to food, I’ve visited 2 nutritionists and interviewed them thoroughly…so yes I can definitely speak on the matter, but the truth is I’m NOT an expert.
I can only speak from my experiences, and if you’re cool with that, then Im more than happy to open up my world of thoughts. Here are the principles I go by myself and when helping others. I truly believe each person is different. Now whether you look into metabolic typing, or that people are sensitive and drawn towards varying food choices, not to mention that we all grew up with such varying conditions and environments, you’ll realize not one size fits all. For example, I like sweet things much more than I crave salty. After years and years of not loving that about myself, I’ve come to accept that that may be just what my body prefers and its up to me to find the healthiest version of sweets I can.
Thank goodness for Shakeology, Ezekiel and Paleo bread, sweet potatoes, almond butter, PB2, coacoa, stevia, low carb protein bars. If it werent for these buddies Id loathe my “healthy” day to day diet. I LOVE salads, but without my healthy carbs, good fats, and sweet tooth satisfactions, Id feel completely void of what I enjoy- trust me Ive tried. When I have my salt and protein cravings, which every body does, its not hard for me to eat vegetables with lean protein, staying away from red meats and rice, bread, pasta, chips for that matter. Where as other bodies would shut down if they didn’t have their bready sandwhiches, pasta with chicken breast, rice with their brocolli, etc. Once we find our formula of what we indeed perform optimally on, we can then listen to our cravings. Instead of reaching for Oreos, Doritos, doughnuts, and Big Macs, we can opt for the HEALTHIEST and most NUTRIENT PACKED sweet treat, salt fix, protein chow down, or carbo load needed.
My Top 7 Tips on Nutrition:
1) Have a VITAMIN, MINERAL, NUTRIENT SOURCE so that you are fueling your body properly. Shakeology is a great place to start. It helps SO many people with their hunger, energy, digestion, weight loss, etc, problems – mostly because we OVEREATING on junk and STARVING for nutrients. Not all food has the nutrients we need. This is crucial and Im a firm believer in this based on my development over the years as well as from my challengers’ success (MANY a skeptic included).
2) FOOD JOURNAL AND PORTION CONTROL: Now some people don’t work well with this, but for people like me, who have always loved food and even when eating healthy, can have too large of portions or not be as purposeful with each meal, need some accountability, guidance, and goal setting. Getting to know how many calories you need to have day in and day out will help you on your guidance whether losing, maintaining, or gaining. Myfitnesspal.com is perfect! My challengers love it, but there are several different programs out there and apps that others prefer. Find the one that you get most excited with when using it. I know my body fat % due to performing bod pods so Im a large fan of the Katch McCardle equation. I had a ton of success with weight watcher points until I started cheating on what counted for 1 pt versus 2, and same with calorie counting, until I started ignoring this 200-300 extra calorie splurge a day plus unknown eating out on the weekend.
Clearly this happens and its normally when Im just getting away from my goals or Im just not prioritizing my nutrition. I always know I can come back to the basics. I use a food scale, measuring cups/spoons and tupperware, HOWEVER Im STOKED that I’ll be doing a TEST GROUP FOR THE 21 DAY FIX. This incorporates 30 minute a day workouts plus a portion controlled system where she GIVES you the containers to use each day. I cant wait to help my challengers with this! If interested, definitely email me and we can go over it. Look out for the application process next month.
3) Squeeze in as many filling QUALITY SOURCES OF FIBER AND WATER DENSE FOODS as possible. Think veggies veggies veggies and fruit. Im not a huge fan of fruit but I do enjoy a juicy apple due to its lower in calorie and fat content, filled with water and has the fiber to keep me satisfied. Its very hard to go wrong with raw or steamed veggies- try to overeat veggies and fibrous food. It will make you very uncomfortable- and no one wants that. However somehow we cant just have one pringle or stop at one oreo- why is that? Ill avoid my rant on marketing and sales in the food industry at this time. Okay I wont… know that yes theyre catering to your every pyschological and biological sweet spot to get you to BUY IT AND EAT IT- no theyre not evil, theyre a business. Take ownership of your life and stop swaying with the wind… realize YOURE in charge. On a lighter note, FIBER FILLED AND WATER RICH FOODS: find your style and enjoy!
4) LEAN PROTEIN- I’m not COMPLETELY sold on meat being the devil. I totally understand the theories behind it, and want to eat as clean as possible, but Ill address that any diet must be sustainable and realistic. If you have to slave over getting chickpeas in your diet, and your willpower only last 2 days doing this, then bum rush the burger joint on Friday, I don’t really see the benefit. However when I met with a nutritionist she mentioned having around 10g of protein per meal. This would be more satisfying and help accomplish my muscle building/fat losing goals. I love a good turkey burger, seasoned chicken breast, tuna, sliced turkey, egg whites, turkey bacon, canadian bacon, salmon, tilapia, shrimp, scallops, shredded beef and crock pot pork on ocassion, and then I limit myself in this due to digestive issues but I know it works very well for others: chick peas, black beans, lentils, tempeh (for the vegans). I mostly stay away from red meat myself, but if you want to dabble, just make sure its not laden with fat. Lately, Ive been incorporating well over 1g of protein per body weight for myself, and this has absolutely increased satiety and muscle retention while cutting fat from the holidays.
5) GOOD CARBS AND GOOD FATS: Staying away from processed is the way to go. My favorite carb sources are Ezekiel bread, Paleo bread, oatmeal, oatbran, and sweet potatoes. My favorite good fat sources are almond butter and avocado. I do enjoy fat free ranch to dip veggies in and on salads from time to time. So if you too need your fat free dressings, just keep it 1-2 tbsp with your veggies, salads, and watch the sugar and carb content.
6) HYDRATE Water and green tea. Drinking these two liquids over the rest will make such a huge difference in your day to day. If you’ve never felt properly hydrated throughout the day, drinking water will change your life. You will have amazing energy and such brain clarity its incredible. Our body DEPENDS on water, but we go around drinking diuretics…chronically giving us a “hangover”. Who wants that without the benefits of the cocktails? Green tea has incredible health benefits- a tad of caffeine and the catechins to break down free radicals. I definitely enjoy my coffee. 1-2 cups throughout the day. Whenever I have too much, my sleep suffers. SLEEP is also key in breaking down fat and not forming stress hormones that work against you.
7) What fits in YOUR SCHEDULE. KISS: keep it simple, sexy! Like I hinted above, if its not realistic, maintainable, and frankly, quite simple…you’ll feel overwhelmed and talk yourself out of a great lifestyle change. Some people in my challenges make these GORGEOUS dishes, and while I wish I could send you all these magnificent recipes I make every week, the truth is that doesn’t happen. I go out to eat a lot! But I know what to get…I look at the calorie counts at all restaurants before hand and if I cant find anything, a chicken breast salad minus croutons and cheese is always a fair bet- BRING ON THE VEGGIES BABY. Pita pit, Subway, salad bars, Panera, Noodles and co, Scotty’s are favorites for me because I know what I can get there all around the 300-500 calorie bracket for a meal. Many other restaurants are catering to having a “lighter fare” menu- including Olive Garden and Apple bees. Hallelujah! Preparation is key and Im a firm believer in setting up a meal plan for the week and weekend so you’re not left scrambling and relying on an exhaustible will power.
These are the main principles I abide by. One more thing I didn’t touch on is treating oneself. If you are cupcake queen, limit it to one a week instead of five. If you have french fries with every meal, reserve the deep fried for a Friday night. I love my ice cream, cupcakes, carrot cake, and going out to eat not worrying about every calorie. If you can do it one meal out of the 21+ meals you have a week, you have successfully figured out how to enjoy the indulgences AND the every day nutritious food that energizes and fuels us, and tastes pretty dang good too! Just make sure to have your mind right. If you go into a meal feeling deprived, resentful, and like the world owes you a 12 course meal, you’re going to eat that way. If you go into the meal thankful for what this new lifestyle has brought to you and that you do indeed want to enjoy the fluffy sweets or greasy treats, enjoy it, be grateful, and move on to the lovely lifestyle you designed for yourself!
Get out of your own way, keep it simple, and stick to it. You’ve got this… you’re in charge after all!