Whether your goal is to lose weight, maintain your current weight or to bust through a plateau, the absolute MOST important thing you can do is to EAT SMART. Good nutrition is the keystone to your success. Like any good trainer or nutritionist will tell you- you CANNOT out-exercise a bad diet. Or, as others will say, great abs are made in the kitchen NOT the gym. Painful, but true.
To get started eating smart, the first thing you should do is determine your ideal caloric intake given your current age, height, weight and activity level. Freedieting.com has a calculator you can use to figure this out. Click here and enter in your personal information to see how many calories you should be consuming daily to achieve your goal.
A good next step is to start journaling your foods- both Sparkpeople and MyFitnessPal offer free online food & exercise journal tools as well as member support and both offer mobile application options as well so you can track your foods while on the go. Both are great options. Keeping tabs on what you’re eating can help you stay on track and make better food choices. I use MyFitnessPal– my username is CoachPetrina. Feel free to add me as a buddy!
Part of accurately tracking your foods is knowing portion sizes. Use measuring cups, tablespoons and even a kitchen scale to measure out portion sizes. As time passes, you may even develop the ability to determine portion size just by looking at your food- but this takes time and practice!
The next step you should take is to ditch the junk in your kitchen cupboards and refrigerator. Make the time and the effort to read labels. If it’s processed and loaded with fat or sugar, chances are it’s not good for you- when in doubt, throw it out! Make a healthy grocery list (click here for ideas) and stock your kitchen with healthier options.
Planning is key! If you can map out the plan for your week and portion out different meals and snacks, this can help you stay on track while you’re at work or on the go. The BEST way to head off temptation is to have a healthy option ready to eat when you need it. Ziploc bags and Tupperware containers are particularly handy. If you need some meal plan ideas, Team Beachbody Club Membership features meal planning. You can even customize it based on your dietary needs/restrictions and print out a grocery list for the week. If you join my Challenge, you’ll get a month of Club Membership FREE!
To give you an idea of the kinds of meal ideas you get with Club Membership, click here to see what a day’s meals included for me during Insanity: The Asylum. It’s not rice crackers and seltzer water. Thank goodness for me because I like my food to be tasty…
Take this breakfast option for example:
This is my healthy substitution for IHOP’s Stuffed French Toast (a former favorite when I weighed in at 240 lbs) inspired by the Insanity Nutrition Guide. I made these using 2 toasted Kellogg’s NutriGrain waffles topped with 1/2 cup of Trader Joe’s nonfat greek yogurt sweetened with 1 drop of liquid Splenda and sliced strawberries (sliced and sprinkled with a wee bit of sugar & refrigerated overnight) and paired with a dark chocolate protein shake. Total calories: 330. Do you know how many calories are in a stuffed French Toast at IHOP (and just in the stuffed french toast alone, not including all the extras you get in an IHOP combo)? 580!!!!! Not to mention my version has significantly less fat and sugar.
This is a great example of how you can find and create healthier alternatives for your favorite indulgent meals.
Eating smarter isn’t all about simply eating less food or less of the foods you love- it’s about making wiser choices, being more aware of what’s in the food you eat, knowing your portion sizes and planning ahead. Failing to plan is like planning to fail. You CAN do this. Recognize that it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be an effort but one well worth it. I promise.
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