I hear from ALL of my clients that the weeks they’re off their normal routine is always a STRUGGLE. They eat stuff they normally don’t eat, it’s hard to get their workouts in, their sleep schedule is different and they feel like they fell off the wagon…again.
Clients will ask me “What should I eat when at I’m at this conference/on vacation/out of town for work” and my answer is always the same. “Do the best you can with you have to choose from and if you get stuck, text me.” Because I don’t expect everyone to know their “best” choice is, plus I’m their coach so I like to help when I can.
The problem is, a lot of people actually hate this response because for starters, it’s not cut and dry and also, it’s like I’m actually giving them permission to eat a bagel with cream cheese if it’s the best option there (and I actually am because bagels are delicious and will not kill you or your progress). What I think my peeps are looking for is a response more like “Buy a portable cooler and pack your oatmeal in a Tupperware container and eat that. Then at lunch pull out your salad. Have an apple and almonds for a snack and when you get home do 30 minutes of strength training and 30 minutes of cardio then go home and have your usual dinner.”
Not that there’s anything wrong with doing any of those things, but I like to make stuff as easy as I can for my clients. They’re just not used to that because of all the other diets and plans they’ve been on were “hardcore” and restrictive, so it takes some getting used to.
In this two part series I’m going to give you my top two strategies on how to feel amazing 24/7/365- not just when you’re on your usual routine.
In this first post, I’m going to teach you how to let go of the food rules and ignore the noise that is the health industry. Later this week I’m going to send an email out to my #FueledFam where I’ll give you strategies so you can learn how to actually trust that YOU know what’s best for your body over any coach or guru (click here to join so you don’t miss out!).
Ok, here we go!
Does this sound familiar:
“How many carbs should I actually be eating? I want some rice with dinner but Weight Watchers says it’s 2 points…I’ve had probably 30 points so far today…Shape Magazine said brown rice is better than white but all I have is white. I probably shouldn’t have it…it’s after 7pm and I’ll gain more weight if I have carbs at night. This website says I can have 3 starches per day if I want to lose weight…how many starches is 1/2c of rice? Maybe if I don’t have my banana tomorrow morning it will all even out and I can have the rice? But then what will I have with my oatmeal…?”
Full disclosure…this is pretty much an exact conversation I’d have with myself a few years ago. ALL OVER A HALF CUP OF RICE! Crazy, right? Crazy, but really common! Nutrition is confusing.
I had all the information, I mean, I had a degree in Nutrition. I knew the exact nutrition facts for rice (and everything else I ate). That wasn’t the problem. The problem was that I had TOO MUCH information and couldn’t sort through what was true for me and what I was being told to do by external sources.
Too Much Information
How many diets have you been on? For me I’d estimate around 15-20. That means I learned and practice HUNDREDS of different food rules up to this point in my life and the reason why it’s so confusing is that everyone has a different opinion. Atkins says no fruit, Weight Watchers says fruit is “free.” Special K says two bowls a day, South Beach says no cereal. Paleo says high protein and fat, Vegetarianism says no meat and loads of produce.
When we jump from one diet to another, it’s really hard to leave the rules behind from the previous diet, and this is where we get confused.
Even my coaching clients tell me “Weight watchers says xxx but you say this…” or “Where’s the meal plan? I need structure because I don’t know what to eat.”
When we follow plans, points, tracking systems or meal plans, we stay super dependent on what other people tell us is best for our bodies. My question is, who one EARTH could know your body better than you? The reason why we trust other people is because we’ve lost the ability to know what our body is actually asking for and we’ve lost the ability to trust ourselves to know what we need and when we need it.
It’s time to make your own damn rules!
Like I said before, no one knows your body better than you do or better than you could if you took the time to learn it.
What does hunger and satisfaction feel like in YOUR body? THIS IS REALLY ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW. I don’t believe that when we’re looking to either lose some weight or simply live an overall healthier life that we need to count calories or macros (grams of carbs, fat and protein). It doesn’t have to be that complicated. Lean proteins, produce, whole grains, healthy fats and some treats. It’s THAT simple when we can focus inwards on what our boy is asking for.
But it’s hard work. Much harder than blindly following a meal plan.
I had a coach that told me I HAD to eat 6 meals a day to “keep my metabolism up” so even though I wasn’t hungry, I ate anyway. In turn, I learned to ignore my hunger cues and eat past the point of satisfaction on a regular basis. On the other side of the coin, I was told by another coach that if I’m not feeling hungry then I won’t lose fat and I should be feeling the hunger pangs every day to know that I’m eating the right amount of food. I’m sorry. WHAT?! Yet I blindly followed their advice because they were the “experts.” I didn’t realize then (and also didn’t get nearly as good of results) that I was the actual expert. I was living in my body and I could learn exactly what my body needed and wanted. I just had to be patient and relearn my cues.
Ask “How does my food make me feel, physically and mentally?”
Food should make us feel energized and satisfied. Notice how you feel after breakfast. Do you actually feel energized and satisfied? Do the egg whites and spinach ACTUALLY hit the spot, or would adding a bit of fat like cheese or avocado increase the satisfaction? Does your yogurt sit well with you or do you find it irritates your stomach a little? Does your breakfast leave you feeling energized for a few hours or do you crash and burn by 9am?
Then ask yourself “Am I having cravings?”
If so, you might be feeling mentally deprived. For more on cravings check out this post to figure out whether you need to give into your craving or not.
Start asking yourself these questions to tune into what feels good for you then play around with things a little bit if you find areas you want to improve on. Maybe more carbs at breakfast would do you some good, or maybe a little feta cheese on your omelet would make you feel just a litttttle bit more satisfied.
If you can learn to eat when you’re physically hungry and stop when you’re physically and mentally satisfied, weight loss will come pretty easily as will getting enjoyment from food. Learn your body on the inside and watch the outside fall into place and never have feel “off plan” again.