Lately, friends and gym buddies have been noticing more of my progress and asking me what I’m doing and about my diet. First off, I had a lot of digestive issues last year, when I was working out even harder than I am now, and I think getting those issues under control is really what has helped me the most. There already was a lot of muscle under this skin, I just needed it to show more! I am definitely thankful for the issues I have had because I’ve learned a TON about food and how to eat healthier in order to still build muscle and burn fat.
So many people will argue my diet with me though and tell me that it’s too strict and I don’t have to eliminate everything that I do, or that my issues are just different and this type of diet won’t work for everyone. Others will say I need “count my macros” (Laura Wadsworth – This blog post I dedicate to you!) or keep track of my calories to learn how to effectively eat my way towards a healthy lifestyle.
Well, if that stuff works for you, then that’s great. But is that really a way to live – by counting each carb, fat, and protein in each meal that you have daily? Not for me! I work out pretty hard though so the best advice I can offer you when it comes to working out and finding a diet that’s right for you is to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! There are certain foods that affect you adversely, and its finding them and eliminating them from your diet that can make a world of difference, making weight loss truly simple!
Here are some main points regarding my diet and how I am eating my way to a healthy lifestyle:
- I eat 8 meals a day. I LISTEN TO MY BODY and when I’m hungry, I eat something healthy. Yes, this has me eating every 2 ½ – 3 hours and its fabulous!
- I do not eat any processed foods.
- Each meal (for the most part) includes a protein and a carbohydrates in the form of vegetable.
- I do eat healthy fats still but keep them at a minimum right now or eat them in the morning. (I love a rice cake with some peanut butter on it alongside my eggs!)
- I eat my carbs after my workouts only.
- I avoid simple carbs all together and ONLY eat complex carbs.
- I avoid gluten and dairy. I do eat greek yogurt sometimes and will have a slice of Cabot Cheese (because its lactose free) when I’m having a cheese craving. Sadly, my cheat meals have included some Goodberry’s Frozen Custard as well but it is a big setback for me when I do that!
- I use Almond Milk only.
- I eat all natural foods with all natural ingredients. Yes, I eat peanut butter, but I eat the Crazy Richards brand where the only ingredient is Peanuts – no palm oil!
- I use olive oil sparingly.
- I use coconut oil and coconut spray when I cook meat and veggies.
- I watch my salt intake but still use sea salt and Zoe’s Kitchen seasoning is my favorite dry seasoning. (I just use it sparingly.)
- I only use dry seasoning and the only condiment I use is mustard.
- I don’t eat a lot of fruit. I eliminated fruits all together at one point but am now starting to incorporate them back into my diet.
- I eat low fructose fruits and veggies as I follow a low FODMAP diet. (SEE BELOW FOR MORE INFO.)
- I avoid all fake sugars and only use Stevia. (This should be used sparingly though as more than 3 packets a day can add up and be less effective.)
- When I may want to sweeten something up, I use a dab of honey or real maple syrup.
- I eat a TON of fish, lean chicken and turkey. (Red meat is something I have recently eliminated but I recommend eating it only once every couple of weeks.)
- I do not eat beans, corn, or potatoes.
- The only grains I eat outside of my morning gluten free oat bran are brown rice and quinoa.
- The only food that comes in a package that I do eat is a LARABAR, as these are easy to take on the go and also great treats to satisfy some of my sugar cravings.
- Outside of the LARABAR, I avoid dry fruits.
- If I eat nuts, it’s on a workout day only and I count them out. I eat 13 macadamia nuts.
- I use Shakeology protein powder which is free of fructose and all those horrible processed ingredients that most proteins include and also is a Superfood. (Ask me for more info if you’re interested. You can order it from me as well!)
- I eat as healthy as I can during the week and cheat a little bit on the weekends still.
- If I have a chocolate craving, I will have a little piece of chocolate as close to 100% cocoa as I can find. (Lately, I’ve only been finding 85% cocoa bars in stores.)
Back in January I started following a Low FODMAP diet with a Paleo focus. Here’s a breakdown of some info for those of you who do not know about FODMAP or PALEO.
- What is FODMAP? Referencing Wikipedia: FODMAP stands for “Fermentable, Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols.” FODMPA’s are short chain carbohydrates (oligosaccharides), disaccharides, monosaccharides and related alcohols that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. These include short chain (oligo-) saccharide polymers of fructose (fructans) and galactose (galactans), disaccharides (lactose), monosaccharides (fructose), and sugar alcohols (polyols) such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltitol.
- Many digestive issues are caused from high fructose foods. Fructose is very non-essential to our everyday diet and when large amounts of fructose enter the liver, most of the fructose gets turned into fat. (The only organ that can metabolize fructose is the liver. So when we eat a lot of fructose, many things in the body start to go wrong.)
- Excess fructose consumption can lead to insulin resistance, a stepping stone towards obesity and diabetes. (Why everyone should be conscious of their fructose consumption.)
- What is PALEO: Also referred to as the caveman diet, eliminates ALL processed foods. Basically, avoid cereal grains, legumes (including peanuts), dairy, refined sugar, potatoes, overly salty foods, refined vegetable oils, etc.
To better lay it out for you, here’s a fabulous chart that I found helpful when deciding what foods to avoid. I wish I could say I follow this EXACTLY, but I don’t, and I definitely still have cheat days that do throw me off. I do love the foods that are allowed under this and I really don’t miss the foods that are in the red.