Since beginning the 2017 smutty fitness kick-start, my inbox has been inundated with questions, which makes me so happy! After the previous post about cleaning your fridge I wanted to expand on how to make this year the best yet in regards to your nutrition and with perfect timing I received this question.
Happy New Year Hayley!
I'm not a "new year, new me" type of girl but I do like to set goals. I've never been a diet-er but have been super into my fitness, gotten into great shape, then let that fall off and gained all the weight back. So my weight fluctuates a lot. Now because of back problems and a need to feel better about myself I've been working out to be stronger and to prevent future back problems, under the guidance of a physiotherapist.
One thing I always find challenging is meal planning. I agree grilled chicken and steamed vegetables is the.worst.thing.ever. But I need some guidance on how/ where to find meal planning and cooking guides that are interesting and easy. I'm fine with setting aside a few hours on a Sunday to make my meals for the week but I always find it difficult to plan my meals and get the right amount of carbs, fat and protein in - I've used macro trackers and My Fitness Pal (which I love) before but I'm always under on my carb goals. Is there an app/website/dummies guide I can follow that will help me plan and cook my meals in a healthy way? Would you recommend visiting a nutritionist or hiring a personal trainer make some meal plans for me?
Meal plans. You can’t pick up a health or fitness magazine without finding a 6 week meal plan program to help you achieve your best bikini body. Sure meal plans can work for some, but even for those who they do work for I can guarantee that most will find themselves falling off of the wagon just like the rest of us. I spend a lot of time coaching my clients on their nutrition, but I never suggest specific plans to follow. Instead, I teach my clients how to create a healthy relationship with food. To learn how to wake up and eat a nutritious breakfast. To create strategies to help them stay away from coffee shop pastries. To help them learn when it is ok to have sugar and to not feel like they’ve failed. I never want my clients to feel as though they are on a diet and the quicker they learn how to eat the right foods and enjoy it, the quicker they are going to see results.
So, I challenge you to try this. Stick with your meal tracking programs, like MyFitnessPal, and take it one day at a time. Today, record everything you eat but eat normally, as you would any day. Do not make any changes but at the end of the day take a look at your macro nutrient count, rather than your caloric intake. Your fat intake should be anywhere between 20 and 35%, your protein between 10 and 35% and your carbohydrate intake between 45 to 65%. My usual record is 40-50% carbohydrates, 30-40% protein and 20-30% fat.
Chances are that in day one you are going to be way over in carbohydrate and fat consumption and way under in your protein, so before you go to bed, make a plan as to how you are going to improve that. Perhaps you skip the toast for breakfast and have fruit, chia seeds, and regular fat/no sugar yoghurt (a bit of honey or agave syrup is a good way to sweeten this up). Or maybe you try packing some quinoa and stir-fried veggies for lunch rather than a sandwich. Or perhaps you completely cut the carbs out of your dinner. Last night I sautéed some purple cabbage in a bit of olive oil and then browned a bit of chicken before adding a touch of pad thai sauce and splash of coconut milk. I mixed the two together and topped with some crushed cashews – a super easy and low carb dinner.
It may take a week or two before you dial in your macronutrient values but allowing yourself some time to play around with it and make some mistakes is going to help you learn how you should be eating, and prevent you from feeling as though you are on a diet and stuck living out of Tupperware containers morning, noon and night.
A few tips when learning how to eat to live:
- Make your food choices as colourful as you can. The more colour the more nutrients. It is that simple.
- Have more of your fruit in the morning and more veggies in the afternoon.
- Allow yourself a serving or two of grains a day, but pick healthy ones that are rich in nutrients. Barley and quinoa are two of my favourites.
- Make sure you are drinking water. Increasing your water intake is probably the easiest change to make and will give you instant results in how you look and feel.
- If you fall off the wagon just get right back on. Pretty soon you won’t feel like you are on a wagon at all but just cruising through your new life of healthy eating.
Attached - Goldie Hawn leaving the gym yesterday in LA.