Okay, okay. The #1 question I get asked from you guys on Snapchat (I’m grace.atwood) has been around nutrition. And so I am going to share my best nutrition advice, but please keep in mind – I am in no way a health professional, and these are just the things that work for me! Also, please try not to be critical – food can be so polarizing… everyone has an opinion. “You’re not eating enough!” (trust me, that’s definitely not the case!) “You’re eating too much!” (maybe, but I’ve lost weight so… it works?) and so on and so forth. More disclaimers: I’m not fully at my goal, but I’m getting there. I’m not proclaiming to be an expert, excessively fit, or a model… I’m just a regular person who has made some changes that have worked pretty well for me. I have put some before and after photos on Snapchat and will continue to do that every month. Disclaimers aside, here we go…
I am a foodie. A big foodie. Scratch that, a huge foodie. I grew up in a restaurant (yes, literally in a restaurant – our house was attached)! I will always live to eat vs. eat to live, but one of the big things I learned from my trainer (Alex) has been to learn to look at food as fuel as opposed to either a) something delicious, or b) something that will make me fat. My entire life has really been spent straddling those two things… eating decadently, and then dieting to “repent.” That’s fine, but since we’ve been working together I’ve been eating a more balanced diet which really helps to fuel our (very hard if you follow them on Snapchat!) workouts. It also keeps me fuller for longer, which helps to keep me on track.
Without further adieu, here are the things I have learned. I will be sharing a longer post about personal training at some point, but for now, you can see my workouts on snap!
Protein is king!!
Prior to embarking on this little challenge, my friend Aly would tease me that I didn’t eat enough… and I would say that I didn’t understand how she could eat so much and stay so tiny. It’s all about protein. Most of what I eat is protein + vegetables… and complex carbs after a workout or earlier in the day. It keeps your metabolism going, it keeps you full, and it’s good for you – especially if you work out a lot. Alex recommends eating protein right away, as soon as you wake up to rev your metabolism. I almost always have a Quest Bar as soon as I get up. (The blueberry muffin is my favorite, for breakfast!)
Carbs are okay…
But the best time to eat them is right after a workout. And I don’t eat them after 5pm. It’s important to stick to good carbs, though. Quinoa, brown rice, and spaghetti squash are all good choices.
You’ll see an example day below, but Alex has stressed the importance of eating every 3 hours to keep your metabolism up… and to keep from getting hangry!
I always try to be prepared. If I am going to a night of events, I will eat protein + veggies at home before so that I’m not tempted. And I always keep a Quest Bar or a KIND Bar (the lower sugar ones, like Black Truffle!) in my purse just in case.
The banned food list:
It’s very short, but also can be limiting. Any and all processed foods, and soda (even diet soda) are not allowed. I miss Diet Rootbeer.
Truth: Alcohol is my carb.
Basically, alcohol is my carb. Can we print that on a sweatshirt? It would be a best seller. When Alex and I sat down and made my meal plan, I told her I wanted this to be a lifestyle change (and it has been, which is so amazing), which meant that two things were non-negotiable. Coffee in the AM (I no longer drink mine with any sweetener… just a little unsweetened coconut milk). And wine. If I am out and about I try to stick to vodka soda as it is the lowest calorie/carb option… but if I am at home, or just really want it, I will have a glass of red wine. Red wine is something I really enjoy… So if it takes me a little longer to hit my goals, I’m okay with that. I don’t want to commit to something I can’t stick with forever!
I will say that since changing up how I eat, I can no longer drink the way I used to. I’m still not sure if this is a good thing. I have to be really careful. I can drink wine all day long, but hard liquor is another story – after two vodka sodas, I’m gooood.
My Meal Plan:
In a typical day, I will have three meals and two snacks.
Snack #1: (as soon as I wake up): Quest Bar, + Coffee with Unsweetened Coconut Milk and morning supplements (see below). For those of you who don’t love Quest Bars, my friend Aly has a great recipe for protein balls!
Late Breakfast (11/12): Omelette or egg scramble with spinach (I add a lot of spinach to get my greens), tomatoes, + cheddar cheese. My omelettes are basically salads, I put so many veggies in them!
Post Workout Meal (somewhere around 4:30/5)*: Peanut Butter Split Smoothie at Juice Generation (Yes, this counts as a meal – I get mine with a scoop of Whey Protein, Almond Milk, and no sweetener.) Thinking about this smoothie is what gets me through my hardest workouts!!! It’s incredibly delicious and the perfect post workout treat.
Dinner: Veggies + Protein. I usually will cook a turkey burger, make homemade meatballs, or grill up a piece of chicken… and eat that over salad or with steamed broccoli. If I am ordering in, I’ll often do salad and sashimi… or I’ll order from Bareburger and get a turkey burger wrapped with greens (and pimento cheese which is probably not the best decision but it’s amazing).
Snack #2: String Cheese
…and usually a glass of wine at the end of the day/with dinner. Alex hates this, but it’s my treat.
*Note – this assumes that I work out around 3/3:30. This is my favorite time to work out as I am self-employed and prefer the gym when it’s emptier. I always have a protein smoothie after my workout, so sometimes that means I switch my meal schedule. If I work out in the morning, I’ll have my PB split after my AM workout, and the omelette later in the day.
These are the supplements I’ve taken forever… since working with a nutritionist 3 or 4 years ago. I honestly don’t know if these actually do anything or if the effects are purely psychological, but when I take this combination religiously my skin looks better, my digestion is better, and I have more energy.
Morning: 2 EPA-DHA 720 (fish oil) // 2 PhytoMulti (Multivitamin) // 2 AdvaClear (Detox support)
Before Bed: 1 NuCulture (Probiotic) // 2 MagCitrate (Calcium + Magnesium, helps with muscle function.)
I hope that is helpful! As always, just let me know if you have any more questions.
Loved reading this, it’s always fun to get a different perspective. Wine is my carb – you’re not alone in that one!
Yay! We need the sweatshirt 😉 xo
Thanks for sharing! I love your forever mindset and I find the examples super helpful.
Thank you! Really happy you find the examples helpful!!!
This was a great read, I appreciate that you’ve been doing more personal posts such as this post and the Q&A’s.
So happy to hear that, Maggie! x
This is all FAB! I’ve recently started focusing on protein and veg, cutting out rice if it’s curry etc. And it’s making a huge difference. I’ll keep coming back to this post as a little guide, thanks!!
So happy to hear that, Elishia!!! The focus on protein + veggies really helps. Both are delicious…. I do really miss bread, though!!!
I love this post, thank you for the suggestions!
So happy you enjoyed it! x
this is seriously fascinating- why is it we are so interested in other people’s eating habits?? i’m definitely looking into your supplements as well- whatever you’re taking for your skin is absolutely working!
outdoor must haves for baby on my blog today
Haha, I don’t know. It’s like those “what’s in my bag” posts… I love those, too! Thanks for stopping by, Brittany! x
LOVE this post! In general, I’ve been enjoying these longer and more personal posts. I love reading about what other people are doing to stay healthy and lose weight, and found this really helpful.
I can’t wait for the more detailed post on personal training. Love following your workouts on snapchat, but find it hard to remember what you are doing when I want to try some of the exercises out myself a few weeks later.
Thank you Sofia! I am so happy to hear you are enjoying them!!!
Note, I don’t think I am going to share exact work outs on my blog. I might team up with my trainer to do one or two… but I don’t record our workouts – for now, Snapchat is the only place I plan on putting them. The post will probably be more of an overview of what we do, + what I’ve learned! A lot of people screenshot the snaps to refer to them later on.
Thanks for commenting 🙂 xo
“Alcohol is my carb” may be one of the best things I’ve ever heard related to healthy eating! Please put it on a sweatshirt – I would totally buy one.
Hahahha… maybe it’s time to start my own clothing line! 😉
Quest bars are a staple for me! I eat one every week day for breakfast…and I’m someone who can’t eat the same dinner two nights in a row. Double chocolate chunk is my go-to (eating one right now!) but really want to try Smore’s!
Wow…I never realized how passionate I was for Quest bars… 🙂
I am so happy to hear that someone else is as passionate about Quest Bars as I am!!! I was tweeting about them the other day and found out that Amy from Dallas Wardrobe (www.dallaswardrobe.com) feels the same as we do. They are the best!!! My faves are Cookie Dough, S’Mores, and Blueberry Muffin!!! I don’t love the double chocolate chunk but Alex likes that one a lot. 🙂
Such a helpful post! I’m definitely using “wine is a carb.” xo
I think we need the t-shirts! 🙂
I just bought a box of the blueberry muffin quest bars – excited to try them!
I am very recently self-employed and my eating schedule has been all over the place. I am going to try to use your schedule as a framework. Thanks so much for sharing!
I feel your pain!!! When you aren’t in an office, it’s so easy to forget meal time. I would get busy with a project and realize I hadn’t eaten between 9am and 3pm. Putting some structure behind meal time (and learning to eat every 3 hours or so) has been really helpful for me!!
I love posts like this. Especially as I’m with you on the mid 30’s struggle – when I was in my early 20’s I literally ate KFC like twice a week and most of my meals were noodles of some sort, and yet here I find myself 20lbs heavier than I was then, eating clean 80% of the time. It’s so frustrating. I’ve been sick for the past 3 weeks and am just starting to get back to working out and plan on really kicking things into high gear leading up to the holidays! Yikes! Your snapchat is so inspiring though, I love seeing how hard you’re working! Keep it up, girl! xo!
It’s so crappy!!! I was the same. I have always eaten relatively healthy, but now it’s like… if I don’t eat clean and work out a solid five or six days a week, BOOM… I suddenly look puffy and pregnant-ish. It’s such a bummer!!! I’m so happy you enjoy the snaps. Sometimes I feel a bit ridiculous putting them up there but I’ve gotten a really good response so will continue to do it.
So simple and straightforward, thank you! This is exactly how I try to structure my meals as well, but it’s so helpful to see someone else’s take on the variety and schedule. The only thing I wish is that I had a smoothie place I liked near me that I trusted to not be full of sugar and other fillers.
I’ll definitely be using this as a guideline.
So so happy that you like it! You may want to pick up the Juice Generation Cookbook – I have it and love it… they have a recipe for the smoothie I get, too! http://amzn.to/2e67dhH
I love this!! Something that helped me a ton was measuring my food. I always add black beans to my salads, but I wasn’t aware that I was adding practically two servings instead of one until I started measuring everything. I think it’s a balance of eating the right foods and eating the right amounts of those foods 🙂
That’s a really smart idea! I know, I am guilty of eating large portions too.. oops!
I’m used to ordering Mag Citrate in the hospital for my constipated patients, haha. Never heard of it being used as a supplement! The things you learn every day 🙂
Haha that’s hilarious!!!
Love this Grace! I love the sound of that smoothie. I make something similar and it’s a good dose of protein and makes it filling!
It’s so yummy and filling – I love it!
Thanks for writing this post, Grace! I am also in the mindset of finding something that works long term! How do you feel about the 80/20 diet? What about vacations and splurge meals? Ie: if you meet your friends for pizza at a great restaurant, do you still eat before? I feel like in a perfect world I could follow this, but so many events/dinners/occasions & celebrations come up!
Would love to know 🙂 xo
I am not familiar with the 80/20 diet! That being said, I have one cheat meal a week, so yes, for meeting friends or something like that I indulge! It’s really about doing the best you can. 🙂
Love this post, Grace! Are Quest bars not considered processed food, or are they an exception?
So, they are definitely processed… but they’re an exception. (That, and protein powder, which I put in my smoothies!)
Loved reading this, as I follow your workouts on Snapchat! I am so with you regarding not giving up wine… It’s a more necessary indulgence. I haven’t tried Quest bars but with so much hype around them I think I’ll have to give them a go!
Thank you Amanda!!! It’s definitely necessary.
I hope you try the Quest Bars – I really love them. Start with Cookie Dough! It tastes like eating a roll of cookie dough. 🙂
Alcohol is my carb too; guilty as charged!
Protein is king! And I’m learning (slowly) how to poach an egg, because they’re killer in the morning with avocado and really great on a salad too!
I’ve battled with extra pounds for years, and I also decided that I needed to figure out something that would work for me for the long term (not just a temporary “diet”). I have a formula for my meals, and I think about it kind of like a pyramid: every meal includes a lot of vegetables, a bit of good quality lean protein, and a little touch of healthy fats. Everything else (grains, alcohol, dessert, etc) is a treat or an occasional thing. When I follow this, I find that meals keep me feeling full and satisfied with tons of energy. I try to avoid snacks, but I know that a lot of people favor the eating every few hours thing. I do believe everyone is different and should do what works for them!
I completely agree – it’s all about finding something that works for you and that you enjoy – that way you’ll stick with it!!!
Love this, Grace! Your workouts have been great inspiration and motivators — I’ve definitely watched them a few times in a row. Now if only Alex was next to me, too! 🙂
I’m also a HUGE Quest bar fan — usually the cookie dough so I must try the blueberry since it would be great in the am.
I’ve also learned over the years that protein is everything, you’re totally right — it’s all about lifestyle. I did weight watches a gazillion years ago and people would always comment I was on a diet; I never was, it was a lifestyle change, and like you, if I want to drink or add cheese or splurge, I go for it. Loved this — great meal ideas now that I’m working from home. Thanks!!
Aw thank you so much Alyson! And so happy to hear that you are a fellow Quest Bar addict. They are just so, so good!!! I hope you try the blueberry!
Agree with everything you say. Working from home really makes things interesting as you don’t have set meal breaks like in an office. 🙂
Love Alex! So thrilled these changes have worked for you – planning is so key + what helped me to lose weight + lead a healthier lifestyle as well. I smiled BIG when you mentioned PB split smoothie because that is literally my FAV smoothie ever – I try to replicate – but it’s not possible, I swear they have magical PB there 🙂 Hugs to you! If you’re ever up for a Barre (at exhale) or TRX class (at FLEX Studios) – I’d love for you to come + play 🙂 xoxo
Thanks Lauren – and yesssss that smoothie is incredible!! My fave too. I have not been able to replicate it either and I have the Juice Generation Cookbook!
Wine is my carb, too! Oh and protein and veggies changed my life. Who knew it was THAT easy?! Jessika / beautybyjessika.com
Such great tips!! I have found that i am 10X better if I have the tools..aka forcing myself to go to the grocery store because I hate wasting food!
I totally agree! Every week I load up on healthy food so that I’m not tempted to eat poorly.