I have always had a pretty healthy attitude about food. Now, I don’t really enjoy the foods that are healthiest for me all the time, but I have never thought of food as the enemy.
So many of us, women and men, feel like they need to restrict themselves, or ‘detox’ after a day, week, month, or even year of poor eating.
When will we learn that living a healthy life to the fullest is a complete lifestyle change?
Below are a few of the questions I am asked all the time. I get these questions from clients, friends, and readers just about every single day. My answers come from my experience in training clients for over 5 years. This is what I have found to work best for myself and my clients. There are many ways to shape up, and not just one right way.
If I am going to help someone get in shape, I cut to the chase. No bull. Start making changes. Stop making excuses.
I want to lose 10 lbs. How many calories should I eat?
Unless you are looking to competitively compete, I don’t believe in counting calories for normal, everyday life. It can become an obsessive, mind blowing habit that is difficult to break and consumes every last bit of you. The only time I ever count calories is when I’m training for a fitness competition. Why then? In order to look my best, I need to know how much I am eating so I can evaluate my progress. If I ate 2000 calories the last 6 weeks in my previous training, I know where to start this time around. It makes it easier as an athlete.
For the normal, extra-ordinary (:)) person? I suggest keeping a food diary, taking note of how certain foods make you feel, what you enjoy, and what habits or trigger foods cause binging and emotional eating – a whole other subject. Are the eating habits consistent? Are you getting enough protein? Too many treats?
10 lbs can also (and most likely should) be a progressive loss. It will not happen healthily in 2 weeks. Consistency is the key to losing and maintaining.
I have eaten so badly lately. I feel like I just need to detox for a few weeks. What do you recommend?
I don’t like to look at food in terms of ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ Food is food. Food is never bad. Never. We need food to live. How could it be bad? However, eating too much of anything over an extended period of time can cause a weight gain.
I do not support detox diets. (Note: I know there are a few medical issues that sometimes require a ‘detox’ – I am not referring to that). Nor do I support restricting food after indulging. What I do believe in is eating intuitively – so by all means, if you had a 700 calorie lunch and are not hungry for dinner, grab something light! However, when you have some ice cream, which leads to cookies, which leads to pizza on Sunday night, I don’t believe in planning ahead to starve on Monday.
I recommend getting back on track immediately. Follow your normal schedule, exercise, drink your water, plan out your meals, and have some healthy, fiber-rich snacks on hand. Change your lifestyle. Make changes, not excuses.
Can you give me a meal plan? What should I eat every day?
Oh, boy. This one here is quite the doozy. It drives me bonkers. First off – NO, I absolutely will NOT give you a meal plan. I will give you suggestions on what the best foods are to fuel your body. I would love for you to tell me what some of your most favorite foods are. Yes, you heard correctly – your favorite foods. You are allowed to eat them. Shocked? Don’t be! You are going to be 100% more successful eating foods you enjoy, than straining raw egg whites into a protein shake, because I told you to.
Secondly, I will not give you a meal plan because it will not educate you on HOW you should fuel yourself. I want you to learn why you are eating certain foods, and I sure as heck hope to the high heavens that it is because you enjoy the food and it makes you feel good. A meal plan will not teach you how to eat. What happens when you get sick of that one daily plan? Are you planning on eating the exact same food everyday for the rest of your life? Even if I gave you 5 meal plans, you still need more variety than that.
As for what you should eat everyday: What do you love? What do you want to eat? What makes you feel good? What makes you run faster, or lift heavier, or gives you more energy to chase around your 5 kids each day? Treat that body with love peeps!
I gained a pound! What do I do? I must have ate way too much.
Are you a female? Hormones can affect your weight and cause it to fluctuate from week to week, or even day to day. Did you eat something with a high sodium content? You may be retaining water.
Regardless of the cause, it is most likely not because of the dessert you had at dinner. My own weight fluctuates anywhere from 3-5lbs a day from morning to evening.
Don’t be a slave to the scale. If you feel the need to weigh yourself, or are tracking your progress during a large weight loss, I suggest weighing yourself on the same scale, in the same clothes, on the same day, at the same time, and consistently every 2-3 weeks. Like: every other Friday morning at 6am before you eat breakfast.
Do I ever get on the scale? No. I don’t even own one. As for clients that I work with consistently? I need to know their weight so I know if I’m doing my job. I only want to know their weight once every few weeks, and I tell them that if they even step on that scale at another time and tell me about it, they get 89 extra lunges after their 4 mile run.
Not really, but you get the drift. Throw that bugger out.
I want a body like a fitness/bikini competitor, but I don’t want to lift weights and get..you know…big. What do I do?
Strength training is not going to make you ‘big’. Eating a surplus of calories while on a consistent strength routine? That may make you gain a bit of muscle mass. How do you think fitness/bikini competitors get the ‘look’? Sure, 90% of it is nutrition. But they lift weights. Most of them lift heavy weights.
You are looking to be leaner or see more definition in your body? Unless there is muscle underneath that fat, you are just going to be the same flabby, yet smaller version of yourself. To see the muscle definition, you have to have the muscle. To have the muscle, you must lift a weight that challenges your body. It may be 5lbs, it may be 45lbs. Whatever it is, challenge yourself!
Afraid of getting big? Eating a balanced and healthy, non-restrictive diet, I do walking lunges with 30 lb dumbbells in each hand. I also do overhead shoulder presses with 30 lb dumbbells, and curl 25-35 lb dumbbells for biceps curls. Don’t be scared, friends. :)
I love sharing with you what I’ve learned through experience. I think so many of us have the same struggles, and feel alone sometimes. What questions do you have?
Remember, we are all beautiful!