Okay, let’s be real. Nowadays, there so so many effing diets that I can’t think of a single person who can keep track of them all. We all have to eat, but everyone is going to have a different agenda in what their eating is going to do for them. Are you eating to indulge and enjoy? Are you eating for general weight loss? Are you a physique competitor eating to achieve the absolute lowest fat percentage your body is capable of? Are you just eating to simply feel healthy and energized? Or are you even eating to maximize your muscle growth?
As a personal trainer, I feel obligated to tell everyone to eat “healthy”. But what does that mean? When I personally say that, I mean don’t overindulge, don’t just eat processed junk, but don’t deprive yourself either. There are a heck of a lot of people who know much more about nutrition and food than I do, but this is my standpoint. I think it is so important to eat well as often as you can. I think we all have at least some idea of what is good for you, and what isn’t. Obviously if you go out for lunch with friends, a salad with grilled chicken will be much better for you then that double bacon cheeseburger with fries. However, if you’ve had salads for lunch every day the past week and want a double bacon cheeseburger, get the damn burger. Completely depriving yourself of these cravings will typically just lead to overindulging too much on your “cheat” day, or maybe even falling out of your ‘good’ diet altogether.
I love food. I know everyone says that, but like I really love food. I can confidently claim it as my true weakness. I have a whole shelf in my pantry for candy, my freezer is packed with ice cream and Eggo waffles, and I even have a drawer in my fridge just for chocolate. I can’t stand passing up desert or pasta, and I know I snack way more than I should. However, that being said, I do actually try to eat well majority of the time. I also make an effort to never eat past being comfortably full.
I personally eat a TON of fruit. One of my clients used the term “fruitaholic” this last week, and I am not sure I’ve ever related to something more. I almost always have green apples (with peanut butter - alllllll the yes), bananas, and pineapple at home. Usually I start my day by having a couple of scrambled eggs and fruit. It’s perfect, it gives me enough energy until lunch, and I am not starting my day off feeling uncomfortably full. If I don’t have time for that, I will throw together a protein shake with one scoop of Gold Standard chocolate malt whey protein (31 grams), one shot of vanilla espresso from my Nespresso, and fill the rest with ice and vanilla soy milk. It doesn’t keep me nearly as full, but for when i’m rushing out the door, I’d rather have this than nothing.
Now before I get into what I eat for lunch and dinner, I will tell you now that I eat out a ton, much more than I should. While I don’t mind cooking, neither of my roommates ever really cook, and I refuse to be the personal chef for the house. I live with two dudes, so I’m sure you can understand why this is the case.
My usual lunch spots are illegal Petes, Mad Greens, Noodles & Company, Chipotle, or Tokyo Joes. They all surround my house, so it’s really easy to just stop in and grab something quick. However, currently, my boyfriend and I are working together to lose our “Winter weight” for a trip we have coming up next month, so I have been putting together meal plans for us. The most recent one I did was just 1/3 cup of brown rice, 1/3 cup of roasted sweet potatoes, and four medium sized turkey-meatballs with Korean bbq seasoning and no more than 1 tablespoon of sauce. This one is so easy to make, and I have the hardest time finishing it because it gets me so full. The best plus? Even though it is high on carbs, this meal is only around 350 calories.
Dinner is always different. Again, I eat out a lot. So this meal is almost always from somewhere other than my kitchen, but I usually go for some kind of seafood dish with plenty of vegetables. I always always always try to get a lot of vegetables with dinner if I can.
While I know I don’t eat the healthiest, and I don’t swear by calorie counting or anything, I definitely try to consciously eat well and in moderation majority of the time. I believe that moderation is key regardless of how you eat.
Macros. It’s a word that you’ll see in any nutrition book, you hear physique competitors talk about it, and this word can help you get the most out of your food. I can tell a client to eat more protein or minimize their fat intake, but understanding what macros are is the only way to really have them understand what I mean by that and really know what they’re eating.
Everything you eat is essentially broken down into 3 macro-nutrients: protein, carbohydrates and fats.
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
1 gram of carbs = 4 calories
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
A piece of food is not categorized just as being a fat, a protein, or a carb, nor is it considered “healthy” based on the number of calories listed at the top of a nutrition label. The food item may have one macro that is dominate but it usually contains all two or more Macros. “For example, Broccoli has 6g of Carb but also 2g of protein.” The amount of each macro you should be eating in one day is based on YOU (height, weight, activity level, age) and your specific goals (lose weight, build muscle, or maintain weight). That being said, every person’s body is different, and every single person has different goals. So, there is not just one single standard to follow.
THIS is the best Macro Calculator I have seen. It walks you through, and is extremely user friendly. However, for a better understanding of your results from this calculator, Morgs Eliz has an entire blog about Macros, and she even does a breakdown of it based on her own body dimensions and other qualities. I highly recommend anyone reads this because this is the article that best helped me to understand macros. This isn’t a one dimensional topic and there is a lot more to it, but I think a basic understanding is important for anyone.
All in all, everyone has a diet that fits their preferences and works for them. For some people it’s keto, for some it means being vegan, and for others it might be intermittent fasting. When it comes down to it, you need to eat to survive. You also need to eat a certain number of calories every day to give your body enough energy to function and thrive. Just like your body, diet is a balance system, and it should be treated as such.