I wanted to write a post about one huge component to health + fitness: EATING! Without a sound nutritional routine all of your hard work in the gym will eventually stall, or worse never begin. Most personal trainers would tell you, nutrition is more important than what you do in the gym and a unhealthy diet cannot be overcome with workouts. I want everyone to practice both good nutrition + workouts 🙂
Nutrition is something that I want to improve on too, so we’re in this together! I’m not a nutritional expert, but this is going to be a very basic outline of how you can improve your eating with a few tips!
First, let me just say it: I LOVE FOOD! On our first date Drew’s first compliment to me ever was “I really like that you like to eat”. We look back and laugh about that statement together, and he’s lucky I didn’t take that the wrong way :). Plus, it is a true statement. I think it’s very important for everyone to develop a healthy relationship with food. It is what fuels our bodies. If we think about it more as fuel and less like stress relief, a reward, something to do when bored, a prize, a gift, what you live for, etc etc…I think people would look at it a bit different. Again friends, this is about health…not about looking a certain way.
I think we need to stop right here and self-reflect on how we each eat on a daily basis. Think about about your goals and then think about: do I know what to eat to reach those goals? Do I know in what proportions to eat it? Do I know how to prepare food? If I’m time crunched what is my go to? (please Jesus, don’t let them answer McDonald’s). Not to rub it in on a Monday, but how is my weekend eating?
As basically as I can state it, your meals should be in this equation: Protein (size of your first) + vegetable (load up) + starch (about a half cup)= Meal.
Examples of proteins: Eggs, salmon, pork, chicken breast, lean red meat, almonds, turkey breast…
Examples of vegetables: Spinach, green pepper, red pepper, zucchini, asparagus, edamame, carrots…
Examples of starches: Sweet potato, brown rice, steel cut oatmeal, whole grain bread, quinoa…
Examples of fats: Avocados (my favorite!!!!!!!!), eggs, meat sources, cooking with olive oil…
I also add fruits in with my breakfast or for snacks. My favorite is to have greek yogurt with blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, + strawberries.
Many people I know often treat themselves on a very regular basis. In fact, at my old office job + at my current nursing job people are really surprised that I can avoid the treats that are brought in. I don’t eat perfect, that’s for sure. BUT, I do prefer to plan my treats because I find it to be more satisfying that way. I don’t want to just mindlessly pop a doughnut in my mouth at 7:30 in the morning after a shift, but I do want to have a date night with my husband and chow on some guacamole + chips.
I try to abide by a 90/10 rule, eat well 90% of the time and 10% of the time I can loosen up a little (my favorites: sweet potato fries, guacamole with tortilla chips…can you tell I’m more of a salty girl?). 10% is not very many snacks/meals (do the calculation), maybe you are treating yourself too often?
Here are some “easy” tips to healthier eating (easy as in easy to learn…not necessarily easy to incorporate):
- Plan ahead. You need to plan a healthy week of meals + grocery shop and then stick to it! I do the same thing with my workouts. If you make yourself a plan + get the ingredients you are way more likely to stick to your healthy eating routine. Busy people get in trouble when they don’t have healthy things on hand.
- Meal preparation. I have many friends that use their Sunday to cook meals for the week. You can prepare your proteins, starches, and vegetables ahead of time and then prepare them (in correct portions) in Tupperware. This way during the week you just have to grab one and warm it up. If you are super busy during the week or go on busy stretches (nurse life) than this could be a key to you eating better! Think about doing this for your lunches! If you are grabbing something from the cafeteria or fast-food everyday for lunch, this is definitely a spot that you could quickly improve with some planning!
- Keep temptation away from the house! I also love Sunchips + SkinnyPop…but, I know those are the best dietary choices. I don’t buy them because if they are out of sight, they are out of mind. If you have treats in your house that you love, you are really tempting yourself and testing your willpower. It’s better to get a vary small serving (pint of ice cream) vs. a huge serving (gallon) if you are choosing a treat. Good thing I don’t like ice cream because my husband just bought a gallon (working on him all the time, at least he grocery shops?!!! 😉 )
- Reduce/eliminate sugary drinks. I’m going to write an entire post about this, but for now…cut back on any soda or fruit juice you drink. These are extra calories that don’t leave you satisfied or more full + studies show people that drink sugary drinks don’t compensate by eating less + they are one of the main culprits of the obesity epidemic!!!!!
- STOP eating out so much. Any way you slice it, when you are in control of your food preparation + portions you will be better off. Eating out is a big part of our culture + one of my favorite date nights, so I’m not saying to stop doing it. Just realize this really should only be a meal or two a week. If you are traveling or have to eat out for work, try to navigate the menu and choose a healthier option.
- Reduce alcohol consumption. This can add up to lots of calories + cause you to make some poor food choices (hello 2am pizza). If you have a goal of weight loss/being healthier this is definitely one thing that can slow you down.
- Don’t go hog wild on the weekend. Of course, easier said than done. I have weekends that I overindulge too. I usually start off feeling sluggish and crappy on Monday. If you go out to dinner + out to drinks on Saturday…do you really need to go out to brunch or get a bloody mary the size of your head on Sunday? Probably not. If you do overindulge, just get right back on track as soon as you can. Don’t let it be a slippery slide down to old eating habits or a “bad week”.
- Don’t be afraid to say no. I used to feel pressured to say “yes” to dessert if we were over at someone’s house or if someone took the time to make a treat. Not so much anymore. If it looks absolutely delicious, I might say yes. But, if I would rather not spend an indulgence on it…I politely decline. No one really cares, and if they do that’s weird.
I hope these help! Email me if you want a list of great foods that AdvoCare recommends. I am going to be starting a 24 Day Challenge with a girlfriend to really hone in on my own nutritional habits and portions. Excited to start! Of course you can do this without AdvoCare, but if you struggle and need a reason, a plan, and supplements to stay on track…this is a good bet! If you want to check out Neal’s Fish Fry blog, go here. It’s hilarious + as a Wisconsin girl one of my favorite “cheat meals” is a fish fry and he researches where to go.
Later this week on the blog I’m going to interview my close + inspiring friend Kelly + give you examples of easy to prepare meals that I eat! Hope everyone has a great week! -Ames