I’m not an expert, but I get a lot of messages from people who are curious to find out what I’m eating and what my workout routine is like. While I’m happy to share what has been working for me, you need to find foods and exercises you like and learn what works for you. Today I’m going to start with diet. I post a lot of fitness-related images my Instagram, so follow me there for updates.
Start with small changes
Don’t change your diet overnight and declare you’re juicing or only eating boiled vegetables and chicken. That’s boring, and not sustainable. You need to make a gradual lifestyle change, and not go on a crash diet. Diets are temporary, and you want lasting results.
Try changing small things. I love chips, and used to eat a lot of them. First I cut back, and then I tried switching to popped chips and rice crackers. I didn’t stop cold turkey, and gradually switched and made healthier choices. I also started making my portion sizes a bit smaller, while still eating the same things, because I realized I was eating too much.
Learn to cook & prepare your meals in advance
Prep-packaged foods are more expensive, have more calories, and aren’t as good for you. Find some recipes on the Internet or in cookbooks that sound good, and give them a try. You can even enter them on MyFitnessPal so you can count the calories.
I can’t say enough good things about Skinnytaste.com. I’m not a creative cook, but I can follow recipes, and this website makes eating healthy exciting and delicious. The recipes have calorie counts and even include Weight Watchers points. The Skinnytaste cookbook is also worth getting. I’ve been making a lot of black bean burgers and lasagna rolls lately!
I prepare most of my meals and snacks in advance on Sundays, so I have food ready to go during the week. If certain things are on sale, I’ll make extra so I have things to pull out of the freezer as well.
The saying is true – you can’t out exercise a bad diet. When I started my fitness journey in 2013, I was just trying to make better food choices and exercise a few times a week. When I started counting calories in January 2014, I started losing weight much faster.
I swear by MyFitnessPal, and it has been instrumental to my success. It can be tedious to add all of your food, but now I have a good idea of how many calories things are, and it helps me stay on track and make better decisions.
On weekdays, I always have oatmeal, and it’s usually overnight oats or steel cut oats. For overnight oats, I just mix the ingredients together the night before and throw the container in my lunch bag (I like adding blueberries and bananas to mine). For steel cut oats, I make a batch in the slow cooker on Sundays so my breakfasts are ready to go during the week. I just add a bit of almond milk before I throw a container in my lunch bag, and heat it up at work. After the oats are done in the slow cooker, I add a scoop of chocolate protein powder and PB2. You could also add cinnamon and apples, or whatever flavour combinations you come up with.
On weekends, I like to make protein pancakes since I have time to cook. I mix a banana, quick oats, an egg, some almond milk, and a scoop of protein powder together, cook it in a pan, and top with sugar-free syrup. Sometimes I’ll make eggs and homemade turkey breakfast sausages.
When I go for my mid-morning coffee at work, I’m usually ready for a snack. Sometimes I’ll have a non-fat latte, but usually I’ll have some fruit, yogurt, string cheese, a hard-boiled egg, egg muffins, or a protein bar. On Sunday, I will portion out fruit into bags or small containers, and hard boil a bunch of eggs so they’re ready to go.
From lasagna rolls and sweet potato turkey chilli to Santa Fe stuffed peppers, my lunch is usually something from Skinnytaste.com. My coworkers are always telling me my lunch smells delicious, and it tastes good, too! I prep my lunches for the week on Sundays as well.
On the rare occasion I don’t get around to meal prepping, sometimes I’ll just have a Lean Cuisine or Smart Ones frozen dinner. The portion is satisfying, and the calories are sensible.
By 2 or 3 p.m. I’m ready for another snack, which is usually one of the items I listed under mid-morning snack, or sometimes a Cup-a-Soup. Once again, this is all prepped and ready to go from Sunday.
I usually get home later after going to the gym, visiting friends, or attending events,, so dinner needs to be quick and easy. I don’t always prep my dinners on Sunday like I do my breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. However, I still make sure I have some ingredients to work with in my fridge and freezer so I can whip up something quick.
Some of my go-to dinners lately have been spring rolls with peanut sauce, black bean burgers, and tuna cakes.
I don’t usually do dessert, but if I am craving something sweet, I usually have frozen bananas on hand, and I blend one up with some chocolate protein powder and PB2 to make a kind of banana-chocolate-peanut butter ice cream, or with other frozen fruit to make a smoothie.
I know it’s not healthy, but I love Diet Coke. It also has zero calories, which is a bonus. In the morning I have coffee with a bit of almond milk, and I try to drink a few glasses of water and green tea at work during the day. Beverages can have lots of empty calories, so be careful when it comes to things like fruit juice, energy drinks, or adding cream and sugar to your coffee.
Condiments can also add a lot of calories to your food, and you may not even realize it. I stick to hot sauce (I have a few different kinds in my fridge) and yellow mustard. Otherwise, use condiments sparingly. Also try adding spices and herbs to your food when you’re cooking to add flavour without additional calories.
Don’t forget to enjoy yourself. When I’m out with friends, I like to indulge in beer and delicious things like pizza, chicken wings, and fries. Just remember that these are treats that you should have once in a while, not every day, and make sure you’re exercising to burn extra calories! Life is too short to eat boring food all the time.