You asked for it, so here it is: What I eat every day!
Well, I finally found enough time to sit down and actually write this little article about what I’ve been eating lately. I’ve had several people ask me about the type of “diet” I’m doing right now and I said I would write something explaining the details. And as usual, I started to overthink the whole thing (nothing out of the ordinary for me) and it became a bit overwhelming. I worried people would criticize me since what I’ve been eating lately isn’t really what I would have once qualified as perfectly “healthy” or “paleo” or whatever. I also worried I wouldn’t look like I had my sh** together “enough”. No, not every meal is pre-packed and planned. I wish. But, I’m human. I’m REALLY busy. Like… for real busy. My husband and I run a business, coach classes, we both work separate jobs out side of the gym, and I also try to market and do social media for our gym as well as get in my own workouts daily. So, I don’t have a ton of time, to say the least. I can only imagine what my life will be like once I have a kid (God bless you, Super Moms of the World!). But then, I thought about it, and I said “F*** it.” I think you guys deserve to know exactly what I’m eating and why its working and perhaps why your approach to eating hasn’t resulted in the fat loss you hoped for.
First, what I eat varies day to day based on how much activity I’ve done, what my workout was like, and if I was able to actually prepack food or not. So, not every day looks like the days listed below. I’m just giving you a few of my most typical days below:
Meal 1: Oatmeal (1/2) cup, 2 tbs sugar free syrup (agh!), 1/4-1/2 cup cashew milk, 1 scoop Progenex More Muscle, Coffee, Stevia
Meal 4: 1 cup rice (brown or one of the flavors of the 90 second Uncle Ben’s Rice bags. I know! Agh!), 1 pack of tuna (around 110 cals) or 3-4 ounces of lean protein, 1 cup green veggie
Meal 5: 4-5 Ounces of Chicken (or other lean protein), 1 cup rice, 2 high fiber tortillas, 2 tbs BoltHouse Farms Ranch dressing, 1 cup green veggie
Then I will usually also have a bite of my husband’s night time snack (normally some kind of protein bar concoction) or a handful or two of Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop Sea Salt Popcorn 5oz 8 Pack or Breyer’s Blasts Ice Cream. (She’s gone off the deep-end, folks!).
On other days, I will also have a post-workout Fuel For Fire, sometimes more quest bars and less “real food”. I’ll even have a Rice Krispy Treat post workout! Awful, rght? And I regularly drink diet sodas. That’s one I should probably give up but I said I would be honest.
Meal 1: 2 scoops of Progenex More Muscle, 1/4 cup cashew milk, coffee
Meal 2: Chicken or tuna or red meat (3-4 oucnes) 2 cups of green veggie or steamed cauliflower
Meal3: Quest bar
Meal 4: Eh… sometimes I’ll have something here and sometimes I won’t. I’m not as hungry on rest days.
Meal 5: Big salad with 2-3 cups of romaine lettuce or a kale mix, 4-5 ounces of lean protein, 2 tbs Bolthouse Farms dressing
4-5 ounces of lean protein, 2 tbs of dressing, 1 bag of steamed cauliflower and 2 Ole Mexican Foods Xtreme Wellness! Tortilla Wraps High Fiber Low Carb.
The macros look something like this:
Carbs: 200 g
Protein: 108-135 g
Fat: 55-60 g
Carbs: 70ish g
Protein: 108-135 g
Fat: 90ish g
In addition to that basic daily intake, I usually have a drink or two on the weekend. Think 1-2 shots of tequila in a diet soda not a bottle of wine! And Chuck and I routinely get pizza weekly. It will either be a Pizza Hut Skinny Pizza or an Against The Grain Three Cheese Pizza, 24 Ounce — 6 per case. I’ll have a couple of slices and call it dinner.
I can hear some of you now. “Oh my GOD! Grains! Gluten! GMOS!” Hell, I would have screamed the same thing not too long ago. And I also would have told you I could NEVER EVER eat that much food, that many carbs, and not gain a ton of weight. But, it turns out, I was wrong. And I had been making things harder on myself by avoiding a lot of the foods I eat now without thinking twice about it. AND, I’m finding that I really need to increase my calories. I’m not eating enough! HUH?? Yay! Want to know what I’ve learned? Ok, here it is in a nut-shell:
1) First, I was overeating fat and protein.
Yep, going paleo is great for decreasing inflammation and for overall health. However, as a result of being completely grain free, my body was starving for calories to support my higher energy requirements (CrossFit, lifting, coaching, etc.). So, without me really realizing it, I was eating way too much protein and far too much fat.
Fat is SO easy to overeat. It’s super calorie dense so every little taste of nut butter adds up… BIG time! And it tastes good so its easy to keep going back for just a little more. However, once I relaxed my paleo rules, fat loss got a whole lot easier and my energy levels increased! How did I cut the fat? I totally banned nut butter from the house. I know! You should never ban a food, right?! But, for me, well, if it’s in the house I will eat it… and eat it and eat it. And now that’s its been out of the house for a few months, I don’t miss it! And it allowed me to add a whole lot of carbs to my diet without a single ounce of fat gained.
The protein was harder to decrease. I was so used to grabbing protein when I was hungry because it’s a “good” food. I had to train myself to decrease my intake and reach for more carbs when I was hungry and not protein. Its getting easier but there are still days when I go over on my macros.
2) My insulin sensitivity, activity level, and body fat levels all affect how my body uses carbs.
I previously mentioned that I would have never ever believed that I would be able to eat what I am currently eating and lose weight. And I would have been right. When I was a teenager and in my twenties, I wasn’t muscular enough, I wasn’t active enough, and I wasn’t healthy enough in a hormonal sense to be able to eat upwards of 200 grams of carbs a day. I would definitely have put on a ton of fat. Why? Aren’t you at your metabolic peak in your teenage and young adult years? Sure, SOME of us are. I was not. I was anorexic and bulimic for most of my teenage years and well into my twenties, I had a much higher amount of body fat (over 20% for most of that time), and I was working out but not nearly at the intensity I am now. I was also not in a great place hormonally. My testosterone was low, my estrogen high, and my insulin sensitivity (due to a higher body fat percentage and genetics) wasn’t the best. Leaner people, who are more active, and who have more muscle all can metabolize and use carbs for energy more efficiently than those who are softer, less active, and less muscular. Just because a Games athlete is eating 250 grams of carbs per day doesn’t mean that YOU should be eating that much per day unless you are her twin sister who is also doing exactly the same workouts. Which brings me to my next point…
3) Don’t base your diet on someone else’s!
I can’t tell you how many times I tried to copy some “fitness” models diet that I found in the latest Oxygen or Muscle and Fitness magazine. Guess how many times I wound up with “rock hard abzzzz” by following one of those? Yep, about as many times as I’ve won the lottery. That just doesn’t work. You see, for starters: that sh** is made up. RARELY if ever are those diets what those chicks actually eat. Believe me, some of them couldn’t stand up straight if they actually ate what they say they do in those article. And some would be the size of refridgerators. We all feel like we need to meet societies expectations in some way and competitors and fitness models are no different. That sentiment also applies to CrossFit athletes. Some of the more recent “diets” I’ve seen look like they wouldn’t supply enough energy to fuel a mouse much less a CrossFit Games athlete.
You have to throw away the notion that someone else’s diet is going to work for YOU! They have different genes, different energy expenditures, different training and diet histories, and different lives. You have to figure out your own unique needs.
4) Track your food.
Yep. I know. It sucks. Unless you are one of those people who eats intuitively and who does it very well (i.e. eating when you are hungry and only until you are full then stopping thus truly listening to your bodies hunger cues.) then you will need to track your food intake. It seems like a real drag at first, but most people need to do it because they have no real idea about what they’re eating. And when I say log, you need to weigh and measure your food and track everything. Believe me, you may think you’re eating 2 tbs of nut butter but you aren’t! Just measure everything for a few days. You’ll be amazed. Once you’ve figured out what you eat normally, you can begin to manipulate and play with your own calorie intake and macronuritents (fat, protein, and fat) based on what you normally eat, what your goals are, and what your life and workouts looks like.
I know, you want to know how many calories, fat, carbs, and fat you need. And I wish I could give you a magic calculator that would spit that out and give it to you. But, I know better than to try to make it simple. Its just not that easy and I would just be paying you lip service if I gave you some silly calculations to start with. You need to track your food and THEN, with some specific considerations and help begin to figure out what YOU need to meet your goals. Interested in figuring more of that out? Message us at firstname.lastname@example.org! We’ll be offering a nutrition seminar in the fall and personalized macronutrient setups now! Plus, stay tuned for more nutrition articles, recipes, and more!