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.
I hope that is helpful! As always, just let me know if you have any more questions.