“So, what do you eat?” It’s one of a few common questions I get sometimes. What the seeking person wants to know or might be asking is “tell me how to eat. Give me a plan/structure ’cause what you’re doing, it seems to work for you.”
First, I personally abhor structured diets that tell me what I have to eat, how much and when. This is probably why I tossed all that nonsense 8 years ago when I started my crazy adventure.
Even when I work with people I don’t make a meal plan for them. Why? They need to learn how to eat and how to make their own plan work. I want them to know and understand their body and how to listen to it.
Second, how I eat is what works for me. My nutritional needs will be different on several levels. My natural daily metabolic needs as well as what I need athletically will influence my daily diet.
Therefore, I can’t just give someone a blanket “this is what I eat” and expect it will work for them too.
There are some things I do that I think are applicable to anyone and can lead to personal success.
- I eat healthy 90% of the time. Meaning, I try to eat real foods as close to their natural form as I can. Of course, I leave wiggle room for those treats that make life fun or don’t make me feel restricted and deprived. This approach has worked for me and I believe has kept me successful.
- I drink lots of water. It’s my primary drink ( followed by coffee of course;) I don’t drink alcohol or sugary drinks of any kind. Well, only Gatorade after intense endurance workouts, but that’s a bit different.
- I eat when I’m hungry and I eat enough to satisfy my hunger but not make myself feel to full.
- Veggies or fruit take up lots of space on my plate at all my meals.
- I get 3 meals in and depending on my athletic load that day, healthy snacks as needed.
- Protein is a major thing for me at all meals and snacks to support muscle growth and maintenance as well as it doing a fine job keeping me feeling satisfied and not hungry.
And depending on my training schedule and what type of workouts I’m facing for the day, will determine what my nutritional needs are. Obviously, some days, I will require more calories than others.
See how I can’t just make a blanket statement to someone telling them what to eat?
The first step ( I believe) for anyone, is knowing yourself. Be the best student of your body you can. Know what foods make you feel good and healthy. Know what your activities are and how you need to nutritionally support them. Learn to listen to your body and it’s natural signals for hunger and when it’s satisfied. I’ve learned what foods make me feel energetic, satisfied, help me athletically and help me build a strong body. It’s been a learning work in progress.
Make it your goal to eat real, whole foods and allow opportunities for the little treats in life you love ( in moderation)
How else can you make a winning eating plan for yourself that will lead to long term success and sustainability?
* Learn to eat three kinds of foods at meals. Obviously, the bigger variety of foods you eat, the more vitamins, minerals and nutrients you consume. Learn to experiment with different foods at each meal. Include plenty of veggies and fruit.
* Choose foods in their most natural states. Foods in their natural state or lightly processed have more nutritional value and less sodium, trans fats, and other non-healthy ingredients.
* Think moderation. Make a strong foundation of healthy foods, but don’t deprive yourself of things that are enjoyable to you too. Stop thinking of foods as good or bad. Think of moderation and if you enjoy something ( like an occasional coke or whatever your poison is) it can fit into an overall nutritionally strong daily diet. You may be surprised though, that in time, when you start eating good food, you can lose the taste for certain foods you once found appealing.
Teach yourself to not just eat, but to learn to eat better. Look at a stronger, daily nutritional plan as a way to love and respect your body.
Making small daily changes will get you on the road to healthy, balanced and successful eating and living an overall healthier lifestyle.
Tell me, have you learned about yourself? How to feed your body in a way that supports your life and daily activities? What tips or tricks can you share?