When it comes to nutrition, there is a lot of crap floating around out there. The truth is you are much better off keeping your nutrition as simple as possible & finding what works best for you.
Clients ask me often & I’m also frequently messaged about how I eat. Keep in mind as you read the following that there is absolutely no ‘’one size fits all’’ approach to nutrition. This is how I approach it because after 7+ years of playing, tweaking & learning this is what I have found works best for me, makes me feel my best & is what I can maintain. Also note, that I am not that different from anyone else, in that, i’ve struggled, as you will see, with fad diets, fears and a very unhealthy relationship with food & exercise.
I’ve done Atkins.
I’ve done a cleanse or 2.
I’ve done some sort of grapefruit diet.
I’ve done intermittent fasting.
I’ve done clean eating.
I’ve done the all or nothing.
I’ve done contest prep.
I’ve tried 100% perfection.
I’ve starved myself.
I’ve eaten off plan then punished myself with hours of cardio.
I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that I’ve even taken food out of the garbage that I had originally tried to throw out.
I’ve weighed myself daily & sometimes twice daily.
I’ve worked out for hours upon hours each week & sometimes for hours a day.
I’ve taken fat burners.
I’ve felt guilt for eating & not exercising.
I've had a list of foods I considered good vs bad.
I’ve avoided social situations because of fear of food.
I’ve feared carbs & feared not exercising daily.
I’ve loathed how I look in the mirror & had a very negative body image.
I’ve compared myself to others & based my journey and it’s success/failure on theirs.
I’ve hoped, wished & dreamed that the next best thing would be THE THING.
I’ve had a very unhealthy relationship with both food & exercise.
But, I’ve learned through experience, much trial & error & a lot of education that there is no one size fits all when it comes to nutrition. There is no ‘this worked for her so it’ll work for me too’.
And so now, I eat a balanced diet.
I do not label food as good or bad nor do I punish myself with exercise.
There are certain things I choose not to eat, like pasta for instance, not because it is off-limits but because it makes me feel crappy & my body doesn’t handle it well.
I eat a diet that’s filled with mostly nutrient dense food; lots of lean protein & veggies which I’ve learned to cook in ways I love. I also enjoy the higher calorie stuff in moderation. I’ve learned that when you don’t have a list of foods that are completely off limits this lifestyle is so much easier to maintain.
I am however very picky about my higher calorie foods. I must truly love & really want it in order to bother eating it.
I am consistent. Consistency is key. I don’t allow a bad meal or a bad day to throw me off. When life gets hectic, which it does, I slow down but I don’t stop.
I actually eat a lot of food & I do not cut out carbs or fats nor do I fear them. I have cut carbs to drastically low amounts previously but I don’t function well, am low on energy, have brain fog & I feel like crap.
I always have food prepared in my fridge & usually have food in my purse for days when I have lots of errands and won’t be home much.
I would never do a cleanse, detox or some diet with a name again. Nor would I starve myself.
I don’t do cheat meals nor do I eat to be stuffed. I stop when I am satisfied which keeps me feeling great. I also do not allow myself to become extremely hungry but I do often feel slight hunger between my meals.
I wouldn’t put butter or oil in my coffee. I use cream & God help the person who screws with my coffee.
I am way over the idea of perfection. Moderation is a much more sustainable approach. And because moderation, there’s no need to binge.
I eat 4-5 meals daily because this is what I have found works best for me, If you prefer 3 meals, then do 3. I usually measure my portions but I don’t count calories or macros any longer. However, I am always mindful of them both & I am always highly aware of what goes into my body. That said, I do believe that tracking calories & measuring portions are both very useful tools especially since most people tend to underestimate how much they actually eat.
I don’t rush to eat breakfast when I get up, I rush to drink my coffee ;) I eat breakfast after coffee & I eat at least one of my meals after 7pm. I don’t buy into these types of myths any longer. If you prefer to eat breakfast first thing & get all your calories in before 7pm by all means, again find what works for you.
I rarely do cardio unless I want to. I really enjoy running but I only do it when I feel like doing it & certainly not because I ate something I’ve deemed bad. I only like running outside so I don’t force myself to get on the treadmill just because I feel I need cardio.
I workout 4-6 days a week but generally for no longer than 45 minutes each time.
I do not take any supplements of any kind & definitely not fat burners.
I no longer fear social gatherings, going out to eat or travelling. Moderation is glorious!
I’ve long since let go of guilt, the scale & have learned to just enjoy the process in general.
I still keep a food, workout & how I feel journal. Because I have grown to know my body so well, I can usually pinpoint why I feel off by going through what I’ve ate or drank or how hard my workouts are, how much I’ve slept and so on. I’ve learned to be really in tune with my body.
I respect my body for what it can do, is capable of and allows me to do. I know what food & the amounts that make me feel my best so while yes, I do eat to fuel my workouts, to sleep well & to recover properly, I don’t look at any particular food as ‘off-limits’. I just eat to feel & perform my very best.
I’ve also found that I am quite capable of controlling certain medical issues by eating as I do. I rarely experience migraines or symptoms of IBS anymore & I am able to also somewhat keep my menieres under control through proper nutrition & exercise.
I am at peace with my body as well as how it looks & feels. I no longer eat because I want to change something about my physique & for now, until goals change that’s how it will stay.
This post was inspired by a fellow trainer who had posted something similar a few days ago. I think that it's important as fitness professionals to be honest about what we do and don’t do. There is a lot of hard work & even, I believe, soul searching involved in the process of creating a healthy lifestyle. Changing habits requires a lot of both physical & mental fortitude as well as rearranging and letting go of what you think you know.
The truth is the simplest method is likely the best method. What works best is what provides you the results you desire & is something you can stick to long term.
Until next time,