With so many diets out there floating around, it all seems so tempting to hop on board and try them all out. From Atkins, gluten-free, low-carb, intermittent fasting, Paleo, Whole 30, Keto….list goes on and on….I mean gosh, they all work right? Sure….
Well, hold on. I am not a nutritionist/personal trainer or anything but I don’t base my food intake off diets. What makes me qualified then? For starters, I had two pregnancies back to back in my 30’s and lost almost 50 pounds and did it all on my own. Essentially, I do believe that if you are trying to meet a goal such as winning a trophy in one of Arnold’s fitness model competitions..or maybe even squeezing into that summer bikini in Hawaii, then yes diets provide a great guideline. They give you a basis to follow and you learn a lot about discipline and nutrition along the way. Learning to count macros can be very informative initially. For me though, I personally feel diets aren’t effective long term.
The term diet is simply – as I stated above – a guideline. But isn’t there a scientific rule of hey lets burn more calories than what we intake? Yea sure, It’s generally good to know how much you’re taking, but in the long run I find it all too discouraging to stick to. Counting calories all day just depletes my brain of other important things. Yes, there are so many programs and trackers out there that can help do this for you…but who wants to really do this all day long? I’ll share what worked for me.
I follow 5 Steps:
1) The first step is to understand what you’re putting in your body.
Quality over quantity. Real food versus processed food. Losing weight and becoming fit are two different things. If you want to eat less, then sure, you will lose weight. If you decide to follow a weight loss program, ok sounds great at first but I’ve been known to give that up quickly if it requires longevity. For example: low carbs, high protein, high fats, blah blah blah. The main rule for me is to: create an energy burning machine (a.ka. your body) where you make healthy choices all day that will essentially burn more calories in the long run. Making your food choices a lifestyle not a DIET. Instead of constantly tracking, read your nutrition labels and gather information about the ingredients you are placing in your body. Is it processed or is it naturally derived from a real food source?
Fueling your body is crucial. By fuel, I mean real food…please don’t believe all those diet shakes. I do not count calories, carbs, fat. Instead, I concentrate solely on placing quality fuel in my body. I eat when I am hungry. Do I eat ten pieces of bread and slap on butter? NO…use common sense…again eliminating processed foods is the goal. Now I do eat rice crackers, etc. but you get the point.
2) In addition to what you eat, you must change the pattern and beliefs of how active you are.
I mean come on, there’s really no magic answer other than eat right and exercise. How do I know? I lost close to 50 pounds I had gained from having two babies – that’s how. I’m a small girl too, so an extra 50 pounds on me was rough. How did I lose it? I ate well and MOVED my body EVERY SINGLE day.
Put in the work, and eventually it starts to become something you enjoy doing daily. The benefits are life changing – you will start to feel better overall and eventually you are bound to see results. Rome wasn’t built overnight and you’re not going to have a HOT body in a month. Be realistic, but stick to it. Find an activity you love that you can commit to a few times a week and then increase it. Start adding in different forms of exercise and be open minded. For me, I love hiking. Walk alone outside during your lunch break. Pop in a podcast on your iPhone (I like listening to the skinny confidential) and use that hour to keep it moving since you’re most likely sitting at a desk all day.
3) Eat well throughout the day. Don’t know what to eat? Here’s an example of my daily diet:
Breakfast: I always have organic coffee ALWAYS. I linked a great one by Kicking Horse called “kick ass” because it’s a funny name and I love the flavor. Some days I choose to have a fresh pressed organic juice (I juice anything from: carrots, spinach, apples, ginger, oranges, grapefruit, cucumbers, lemons) from scratch. Super refreshing and gets your taste buds and brain flowing for the day. I use this juicer by Breville everyday, and provides me with an awesome fresh juice.
Other days, eating protein with some carbs such as any one of these options: 1) eggs, avocado and one toast. 2) Oatmeal, overnight oats and sprinkle hemp seeds plus fruit, 3) a smoothie (check out my post here on how to choose which protein powders work for you) and blend a banana, water and frozen berry/fruit.
Mid-morning snack: almonds, or peanut/almond butter on organic rice crackers (you can add some sliced bananas too if you didn’t have any for breakfast), sliced apples with a scoop of PB, protein bar. Sliced bananas with granola and berries.
Lunch: Salad with a PROTEIN. Example: organic chicken and veggies. I love to add sesame seeds, avocado, eggs, veggies and make my own vinaigrettes. Or, I will eat leftovers from dinner which usually is a piece of chicken with some veggies.
Afternoon snack: handful of almonds or half an avocado on some gluten-free toast. Hummus with some veggies.
Dinner: a protein such as steak/chicken/shrimp/fish with organic roasted veggies and a side like: sweet potatoes or brown rice.
Dessert: some days you’ll be itching for a dessert. I eat no gluten/dairy in my desserts and try for wholesome things like granola and berries, paleo brownies or cookies, a few pieces or organic dark chocolate or vegan cheesecake…
Now this is a real basic guideline and of course I switch it all up daily so it’s not boring…Some days I make homemade tacos, stews, pot roast I mean you name it! I EAT. I am not deprived by any means. What I want you to see here is I didn’t grab chips or ho hos. Also, I dont consume artificial and sugary drinks. I mean I LIVE but I save sugars for those herb craft cocktails when I am out with the girls once in awhile. If you really have a soda craving, I suggest trying sparkling water with a dash of lemon or lime, an orange slice, strawberries…whatever! You catch my drift – real food. I eat until I am full.
Please don’t get me wrong when I say don’t count calories. The point of this article is to not focus so much on calories but more so on how active you are in burning what you eat. Just remember, real food is fuel. Can’t run on empty. Making healthier food choices will be more effective long term, and that really worked for me. If you are simply meeting a “calorie goal”, that goal just won’t last forever. It becomes more frustrating than effective, and then you find yourself starting all over from square one with a bunch of donuts in your mouth. Also, it’s perfectly ok to have a donut on a cheat day. Just ensure you walk that off 🙂
4) Make sure you are active daily with an exercise you enjoy.
Yep, that means six to seven days a week. If that means walking/running before work, during lunch, after work…or even hitting the gym, as long as you move daily. I make sure to move once a day with something I love. Switch it up! Try crossfit one day a week, then another day the gym, and the weekends I reserve for a hike (you can see my post on beginner hiking here). Swim..yoga..biking..boxing..whatever floats your boat. Getting outdoors is extremely beneficial. Try taking a stroll around the block with the baby. This encourages you to keep your blood flowing by constantly moving and keeping that metabolism going.
If you want to take it up a notch, it’s easy to bring a jumprope with you and stare at the beautiful ocean or lake while you workout. Whatever scenery you may enjoy, I find a jumprope a great way to get your heart rate up. Here’s the jumprope I use. It’s made specifically to workout and for speed, plus it’s relatively inexpensive. Or jumprope outside your house like I did in the pic below.
P.S. I ordered these workout pants below by Fashion Active Wear. They are great for high endurance exercises.
Don’t have much time?
There are moments when I am pressed for time and I have to get a quick workout in at home within 15 minutes. Seriously these resistance bands in the picture below are super convenient! They help tone which is SUPER important when getting fit, and there’s a bazillion different exercises you can do with them that help my legs and tooshy LOL.
Each band has a different resistance to make certain exercises more challenging. Perfect for traveling too. When I was traveling across country, I took them with me and did some exercises in my hotel room. I also like the single resistance band as well which I do so many arm exercises with. It’s pictured below and you can check it out here on Amazon. You’ll learn that toning and building muscle is important for your journey, and these bands really do help assist with that.
P.S. I love wearing the Nike Huarache’s to workout in and you can get them here plus receive 10% off. The workout pants below by Zella are one of my FAV’s!!! Super durable, high waisted and secure as it sucks in a little pooch I have, plus extremely comfy. I feel like it just sucks everything in. You can check out the workout pants here. I ordered a size small and color is in “purple striking”.
5) Most importantly – be sure to HAVE FUN.
I’ll talk about incorporating weights and body resistance exercises on future posts….. but the true root of motivation and getting fit is to fall in love with the art of an activity. Viewing food as fuel and understanding which foods are junk and which foods can contribute to your overall health is key. Before you know it, you’ll start converting the fat to muscle and become a machine. One thing at a time though.
Last but not least, per usual, I always make sure I take collagen protein immediately upon completion of my exercises. This allows your muscles to properly build, heal and repair themselves. I use a packet of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Packet Sticks wherever I am, open up a packet, and pour in my water bottle. This provides you with essential amino acids and protein when deleting yourself of energy and helps restore your muscles.
Now go out there, find an activity you love, switch it up and stick to it every week.
What is your favorite way to get fit and do you have some awesome tips? Comment and let me know.