Keto, Whole 30 and Macros, oh my!
In a world overwhelmed with information about the latest diet trends, detoxes/cleanses, superfoods and a million other related topics it can be hard to know where to start.
I’ll share something I’ve learned.
Start simple; it is more sustainable AND it makes a difference.
There isn’t one perfect, preferred way of eating that works for everyone. Different bodies have different needs. People have different goals and varying physical activity levels, hormones, body composition, age, and many other factors to consider, therefore, ideal ranges for calories, macro breakdowns, food types, timing, so on and so forth ranges a lot as well.
…..And, there isn’t a secret diet or pill that you’re missing. Success most often comes from taking small steps to educate yourself about nutrition, putting things into practice and finding where you feel your best.
The good news is a simple and solid foundation of having the majority of your intake be high quality food (READ: fresh food, minimal ingredients, outer perimeter of the grocery store kind of stuff) is a great place to start!
So, before we get too deep in to how many calories and macros you need, weighing and measuring, macronutrient timing, macro cycling, let’s take a look at what you are eating in your day to day life and start with making 2 small mindset changes there.
You don’t need to eat perfectly every day of your life, you need to be consistent. This is not “all or nothing”. This is us working to do a little better every day, eat more vegetables, fruits and other whole foods, drink more water, develop some attentiveness when we get triggered by food/stress/other emotions, and ultimately build more awareness in general of how we fuel our bodies.
Eating perfectly and hitting your calorie, macro, keto, paleo, whole30 goals is totally awesome, especially if you are on a planned-out program with a set goal and an end date that is supported by someone who is giving you solid nutrition advice.
However, you want to be able to integrate that hard work back in to your life in a way that is sustainable when your timeframe is up. These days, that for me means making quality food choices most of the time, while letting myself indulge sometimes (full-fledged, guilt free permission) in effort to avoid crashing and burning over multiple empty pizza boxes and falling asleep too full (of shame, cookies and 17 servings of peanut butter) ... and trust me, I’ve been there too. We all have our days. Even those that seem to have it “figured out” are still human.
You won’t always be motivated, so you need to be disciplined. Motivation is usually high when you start something new. This is where we capitalize on developing good habits and routines so when motivation is fleeting, habit and discipline back us up. You start to recognize what your body and mind feel like when you eat better, so you strive to stay there/or get back there. In the same way, I am not always motivated to go to the gym (and probably quite often I’d prefer a nap) but I show up because it’s part of my routine, I know I’ll feel good after I do and for the most part I know I just have to get myself to walk through the door.
So…. mindset is great and all but where do we actually start?
If this is all fairly new to you, I have 2 suggestions
Keep a food log for at least 7 days. Write everything you eat down in a notebook (or use an app like myfitnesspal). And by everything, I mean everything. That handful of M&Ms you ate while you were walking by a co-worker’s desk? Yep, those too.
It is a good way to start to inform yourself about your individual eating habits.
What kind of foods do I usually eat?
When do I eat; do I eat 3 regular meals throughout the day? Do I eat more at certain times of the day? Do I feel hungrier in the morning/at night?
Do I eat enough? Do I eat too much? Do I eat when I am not hungry to fill another need (bored, lonely, stressed, etc.)?
Do I have balanced nutrition all week and binge eat on Saturday night?
Do I eat at least some vegetables and/or fruit daily?
Do I cook my own food? Do I eat out a lot? Do I have a plan for what I will eat during the day or do I wing it?
If you track for a full week you will have a ton of good information about your eating habits which is a great jumping off place to make small changes to improve your overall nutrition intake.
The second suggestion is to familiarize yourself with one of Greg Glassman’s (founder and CEO of CrossFit) quotes about nutrition.
“Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.”
This is the same kind of recommendation as I had above about eating “high quality” or “whole foods.” You do not have to eat only these foods, but let’s get a pulse on whether or not you consume at least some of these foods every day.
I am not suggesting you immediately go Paleo, Whole 30, Zone, WAG, RP, Stronger U (however, if you are inclined to do so, get informed on what is out there and sign yourself up!)
What I am suggesting is the above foods should be regulars in your daily food consumption.
Eat good sources of protein (lean meats like chicken, turkey, lean beef, fish, eggs, lentils, quinoa, greek yogurt, cottage cheese...) and high-quality carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, brown rice, black beans...), vegetables, fruits and healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocado...), to name a few.
Often times when I grocery shop, I will pick a few different foods from each of the above categories and decide how I want to mix and match them together to make a meal (a current favorite is chicken thighs, yams, brussel sprouts and apples).
Also feel free to reach out to your coaches at the gym for general information or if you have an interest in taking a deeper dive in to your own nutrition plan. Coach Nick and I have been at this nutrition thing personally for a number of years and now more widespread through the nutrition program offering we have at the gym.
Stay tuned. Much more to come on my one of my favorite topics… Food
If you have specific request about topics you’d like to have covered, let myself or your other coaches know.