If you are working out on the daily, hitting your minimum required steps (10,000), getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, and the scale isn’t moving then it’s time to take a close look at your diet.
You make think you are eating healthy but the truth is, you don’t know the entire picture UNTIL you look at the entire picture. With something as important as your diet you can’t just walk around without a plan or at least a glance.
You would never take a road trip without at least looking at the map, now would you? So why are you messing around with your health? Please don’t just guess and eat whatever the media says is the “perfect diet” today because we all know tomorrow it will be a different story.
Take the time to write out your meal plan for the next couple of days. Take out a piece of paper and write down what you are planning to eat and then really look at it and see what that looks like.
Do you have enough sources of protein, how about carbohydrates (many people like to really skimp here), how about healthy fats? Count that oil you are using when cooking too, if you are putting it in your mouth- it counts.
This may seem daunting at first but I promise it gets easier. Set aside a couple hours on a day that you are uninterrupted and can focus. Look up the food profiles of the foods you eat on a daily basis so you can calculate them. Please don’t pass this off like it is too much to do. You cannot go around blindly with your health and your goals or you will always end up frustrated with the scale, I promise.
You don’t need to follow any crazy or trendy diets either, don’t get me started on these or we will be here all day. You need to eat a well balanced diet and that includes all macros (protein, carbs, and fats), and there is no reason to eliminate any of them. Yes, there are times when you may need less carbs (like with PCOS or diabetes) BUT that still does not eliminate the food group entirely. This is where a plan and a food journal come in handy.
I could tell you to track your macros and eat a specific amount of grams of protein, carbs, and fats but that would be irresponsible of me when I don’t know you on a personal level. Besides, that is not for the beginner. First, start by eating regularly and balanced and then monitor your progress from there. If you don’t currently eat breakfast then that is a good place to start.
Don’t worry about the macro numbers until you get your diet in order and then we can talk. Don’t jump ahead of yourself or you will get frustrated quick. So here is what I want you to do.
Take out a notebook and write down a plan for 2-3 days of meals. Depending on how early you get up in the morning your meal plan will consist of 5-6 meals (a small group may have only 4),* we are all a little unique in this. Write down everything you plan to eat for breakfast, mid morning snack, lunch, mid afternoon snack, dinner, and optional evening snack. Now look back at each meal and see does it include an adequate portion of protein (building block of lean muscle)? How about the complex carbs (energy), does it include one of the following brown rice, sweet potatoes, , quinoa, whole grains, etc?
Now let’s look at the fats? Are you including those in your meals (responsible for hormones)- raw nuts, nut butters, olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, etc?
Do you see any one macro more abundant in your meals then another? Are you hungry after your meal or stuffed? When do you get hungry again- in an hour or two or not until lunch? These are all important factors to provide a clear picture of your diet.
Once you feel satisfied with your selections make a list of all the foods and amounts you need to prepare for the week. Chop vegetables ahead of time, put snacks in small portable containers, have recipes ready, be prepared and then start taking notes on how you are feeling after each meal (full, hungry, satisfied, content, tired, or energetic)?
Continue doing this until you stall on your weight loss again and then you can start talking about macro numbers. But at least you will have a better picture of what you are eating and how it effects you before you start removing an entire food group and suffering in your workouts or productivity.
BHow are those New Years Goals going for you? Are you struggling to lose weight for that Spring Break event or planning early for that summer vacation at the beach? Now that the temperatures are starting to rise are you in full panic mode?
It doesn’t have to be complicated when it comes to losing weight. Sometimes, the media can make things…. Well let’s just say confusing.
You just need to focus on adapting a few healthier habits and balance out everything else. Remember we never want to diet… Life isn’t about deprivation or about being a certain size or number on the scale. A true healthy lifestyle is being able to enjoy your life and the foods you eat. Now, this means balance… Yes you can have that donut when you are in the mood for one BUT you shouldn’t be craving it every single day as this represents misbalance.
My goal is to get you to a healthy balance of craving the good stuff more often than the “not so good stuff”. You should want to move more than staying sedentary. You should want the green vegetables and healthy protein more often than you want the sugary desserts and high fat foods.
This is balance and this is what it truly means to live a healthy lifestyle. That should always be your end goal. Balance is living, when you are not a slave to your workout or slave to your “diet”. Aint nobody got time for that.
Have you ever watched children at play or just being? They don’t sit around on their bums all day and then for one hour play hard, to just crash and sit the rest of the day. Do you know why that is?
Because our bodies are meant for movement.
We are not designed to sit for long periods of time and then schedule in an hour workout just to put a check mark next to it. We are meant to move throughout the day in all directions and yes get that workout in but don’t sit the other 11 hours of the day.
Add variety to your life, there is room for resistance training, interval training, long walks or hikes, and flexibility training. We need all elements in our life to have a balanced mind and body.
When it comes to nutrition, please don’t make this more difficult than it is. Yes, there are little tricks and rules here and there but if you are looking at losing a lot of weight then right now those little tips don’t need to be your focus. Your focus at this moment is simply adapting some different habits. Those little tips don’t count until you want to drop those last couple of pounds. We seem to get so caught up on every newest diet craze that we don’t actually start anything.
When it comes to eating a balanced and healthy diet focus on these rules.
- Eat your veggies. I know you have heard this many times before but veggies are your friends. By eating your vegetables you are not only eating enough fiber but you are avoiding the tempting foods due to hunger. Fiber fills us up and it provides lots of micronutrients that your body needs.
- Focus on the rainbow. Try and add in a variety of colors from orange to green. Your plate should be a ray of colors and not everything all one color hue. Boring….
- Aim for 7 servings a day. Yes 7 servings a day, if you really stop and think about it one serving is the size of a cupped hand. C’mon we can all get in 7 servings of goodness to ensure vibrant health. Right?
- Fruits- don’t avoid them. They provide different vitamins and micronutrients, but they do contain fructose (fruit sugar) so we want to try and eat them in the earlier part of the day and limit our servings to 2-3. The serving size is a little smaller than a cupped handful.
- Protein- our bodies need protein for survival. This vital macronutrient helps muscle repair from the breakdown that happens during your workouts. Protein can be found in chicken, pork, beef, eggs, fish, dairy, lentils, quinoa, and beans. You can also use protein shakes for additional protein. Aim for half of your body weight in grams. So for instance a 150 lb person would eat 50-75 grams of protein a day divided among their 5-6 meals each day. *this is a good place to start
- Water, water, water- I cannot preach water enough. It is vital to every organ in your body. You should always have water with you at all times. Chug down a glass of water first thing in the morning to flush out your system. Continue to drink up throughout the day. The minimum water intake is 64 oz of water a day and if you ask me that is still to low.
- Don’t stress over carbohydrates. Carbs get the most attention out of every macronutrient. While I agree the average person eats way too many carbohydrates each day, we still need them in our diet. Carbohydrates provide energy and if you truly think about your daily meals, when is the least time of day you need the extra energy and does that align with your carb filled meals? Hmmm. For most people, they are eating carbs with the dinner meals which is generally the last meal of the day and then they are sitting around until they go to bed. Since we are not utilizing those carbs for their purpose which is energy, they only have one other option….
Yep, they have to be stored as fat. Keep your carb intake earlier in the day and before and after your workouts and then still with healthy fats the remainder of the meals. Do you see how when it is broken down, things don’t seem too overwhelming?
Don’t freak yourself out about all the rules that you see on the internet or on television. Think about just incorporating healthier habits and you will be on your way to a healthier you and able to enjoy good health and have your cake too.