If you didn’t catch it, last week I decided to get a little personal and dive into some details about the changes you may (or may not) have been noticing in me physically over the last year or so. If that sort of topic is not your jam, I get it… skip this one and come back next week for some more session features.
But as I mentioned last week, I decided to share a bit more in detail as my IG posts on the transformation constantly get more action than any others and my DMs blow up with questions about what I’m doing and how (which I’m 100% ok with, don’t hesitate to reach out if I can help you reach your goals). So today I want to get into the next real nitty gritty part of this transformation which has been my food. I’m all about advice with real takeaways so that’s why I touched on the details of workout first and now the details of the food before we get to the more personal last two elements of the deal with my why and an important change in my self talk (coming up in the next couple weeks).
First, let me tell you I’ve done EVERY diet. Every. Single. One. I’m going to talk more about my mental shift on things next week but that’s been a huge part of the food side of things for me and if you struggle to feed yourself well or use food to feed your soul (can I get an #amen) then I encourage you to check out the next portion of this where I’ll get more into my head about all this hard stuff. But for now, the logistics of my tiny habits…
No, I didn’t start all these things at once. I set one tiny goal and tried to hit it over and over again until I felt like I could take on another. These are the ‘rules’ I’ve set for myself. For my life, NOT for my diet (ie this shiz isn’t going to end, it’s just the way I live now).
Rule 1: 80+ oz of water per day. For me, this is best done in BIG chunks. I don’t want to see 10 8oz water bottles on my desk that I have to tackle (omg even typing that it feels completely unattainable). Thankfully I got this awesome gift this Christmas and it’s 40oz so I only have to drink 2 a day, easy peasy (ya, sure). And to break it down and keep myself on track goal is one before noon, one after. IF I have them both finished by the time I get home from work I try for one more 40oz while at home.
Best tips for tackling this if you struggle… find a bottle you love, carry it with you EVERYWHERE. I take this into every restaurant, it comes up/down stairs with me, it’s in the car if I’m on the road, it’s everywhere. When you drink, don’t sip. Channel your inner frat boy and chug chug chug girlfriend, every time you drink – CHUG IT!
But I do NOT skimp out on my coffee, nope nope. However, tip for deliciousness that isn’t a bucket of creamer is premade Adkin’s Shakes (I like Vanilla and Cafe Latte), Flavor God’s Seasoning (I like the Cinnamon Donut) and for me a bit of whipped cream is a must for my inner child.
Rule 2: Veggies! 6-ish months ago I decided to go ahead and cut out most of the meat from my diet. Started as just an experiment to do 1 day a week but I quickly moved to doing meat only at dinner (so the family doesn’t have to change their ways). Even then, I try to make meat my side dish not the whole meal.
Surprisingly, I LOVE this. I eat a LOT of veggies, can snack on them all the time without having to think much or at all about how many I’m eating. There’s a ton of variety available and I mix up seasonings a bit if I get bored. My meal prep is nothing fancy at all, either since I don’t have to cook up a bunch of lean meats for lunches I really just grab and go.
You’ll often simply find whole veggies in my lunch bag and maybe a carton of dip (homemade ranch dressing: the hidden valley buttermilk ranch packet made with fat free mayo instead) or simply olive oil + lemon + garlic salt (delish on avocado). Might throw in a fruit for afternoon snack and have some peanut butter in my desk drawer. Literally NO prep.
If I do prep it looks a little something like this ^^^^ …. cut up your favs: broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, carrots, kale, zucchini, mushrooms. Toss with some olive oil, garlic, capers sometimes, lemon juice or any other seasoning you prefer and roast for a bit. Then warm up throughout the week for a hot veggie lunch.
Heck yes, I still eat out. And I find the veggie only parameter makes it SO easy to eat healthy out because it tosses a lot of higher cal/fat things off the table. Soup/salad (and heck yes I ate that bread). Chipotle & Solsa are two favorites that have easy veggie options for lunch too.
Rule 3: Make the better choice when I can. This is a simple guideline for me to choose healthier even in my treats when it’s possible. If I’m craving sweets I put in an order with Annie at Perfectly Protein and I let myself have these sweets made with healthier ingredients instead of binging on the oreos (stay tuned).
One of those healthier options is Halo Top ice cream. When I am stressed I sometimes just like the freedom to grab the carton of ice cream and go to town. No measurements, no weighing… no bowl! I just want to stand in the kitchen and eat it while hiding it from my kids without thinking about it. This ice cream lets me do that with some flavors under 260 calories pur quart! Knowing I COULD eat the whole thing makes me ok just snacking on a bit of it and putting it away.
But sometimes I eat the oreos…. after I wrap them in dough and air fry them. 😉 … That brings me to Rule 5 (skipping ahead rule 4 is next): 80/20 … strive to make these choices. Because 100% perfection isn’t sustainable for life and ‘falling off the wagon’ isn’t a big deal if it’s only 20% of your life. More on this in the self-talk pep talk section.
Rule 5: Intermittent fasting. Ok ok so this is the ‘diet’ section where I am going to preface this saying this has been easy and wonderful and fit with my natural rhythm so well but this does not fit well for everyone and if I felt hungry/deprived or that this was unsustainable for life then I would not do this.
I have never been a breakfast eater (momma used to have to force me to eat 1/2 a toaster strudel before school – and come on those are flipping delicious). But my willpower ends at 8pm and that’s when I want to snack snack snack on all the random things. 8-10pm is the time when I undo my day, where I throw away my workout gains, my great lunch choices and just stand in my kitchen grabbing anything close and thinking in my head ‘you don’t even want this and it doesn’t taste that good, what are you doing?’ while continuing to eat the chips.
So the parameters are that I fast 5x a week (80/20 see rule 2) from 8pm-noon. I drink my coffee in the morning with my protein shake creamer and drink at least 40oz of water in the morning and then eat my lunch between 12-1. IF I’m feeling starving around 11am (sometimes happens if I’ve had a particularly long or hard morning workout or bad sleep) then I eat early… the point of this is NOT to starve myself, I listen to my body and break the rules when it tells me it needs more/less. I don’t know about you but I can only be miserable for a short time so if I felt deprived or hungry this wouldn’t last or I’d be binging on weekends.
Circle back to the 80/20 … fasting is easy for me during the week as I’m solo and don’t have kids/husbands influencing my choices. On the weekends I try to fast to 10am and then join in on late breakfasts with the whole family. Weekends are not days off, they are not binges but they are now my chance to relax a bit (I think of it in terms of a 20% decline in the rules not a full throw away).
Welp, thanks for reading if you made it this far. I know this is a very different post than usually here and I’ll have two more Friday posts touching on how I found my why as well as what’s changed in my self talk. This and my last post on my workout side have been the nitty gritty facts of the case and the next two will be the inside… the mental struggle, how I got past it and me being a cheerleader for YOU to be able to do the same.