Today marks the first day of my new meal plan, so I wanted to go more in depth about nutrition and my struggle with establishing healthy eating habits. We are constantly surrounded by temptation, whether it be processed foods at the grocery store or fast food restaurants on every corner. It takes a tremendous amount of self-control and determination to successfully establish healthy lifestyle changes. I’m going to share with you my health challenges, how I plan to overcome them and much more in the weeks to come!
Before I go any further, let me tell you a little bit about my background! I have a B.S. in Public Health so although I am not a dietitian or personal trainer, I have studied nutrition and the human body extensively. I am very fortunate to be blessed with good genes and a fast metabolism. However, genetics can only take you so far! Within the past two years, I’ve noticed not only my metabolism slowing but my unhealthy eating habits were catching up to me. I started gaining weight more easily, I always felt bloated, my energy levels were low, my skin broke out immediately after fattening meals, and I started experiencing kidney stones due to extreme dehydration. You’d think just one of these side effects would motivate me to improve my overall nutrition but nope, I kept eating one Crunchwrap Supreme after the other. I didn’t realize how intense my habits were until I went to break them and had a rude awakening! I had been eating/drinking whatever I wanted for 23 years so my body was addicted to a lifestyle full of processed foods (and endless amounts of Dr. Pepper). I would go three or four weeks eating pretty healthy, then I’d fall off the wagon. I’m sure many of you can relate to this vicious cycle!
My big AH-HA moment came a few weeks ago during my third CorePower Yoga Teacher Training Program. I thought, “here I am sweating my ass off daily (excuse my french), investing thousands, and trying to establish a career in this health-based field but can’t reach my full potential because of my need for fast food and soda?!” I decided that instead of focusing on all the foods I won’t be able to enjoy, I am going to view this as a personal challenge to prove to myself that I have enough discipline to successfully change my lifestyle without quitting. I’m not changing for a boyfriend, for swimsuit season, or for friends I want to impress…I’m doing this for myself and myself ONLY. THIS IS KEY! This might sound like a simple concept, but it was only when I broke everything down and was 100% honest with my intentions that I found the determination needed to make it possible. When you’re having a rough day and all you can think about is that double double with animal style fries, only YOU can remind yourself of those personal intentions. This is where personal growth occurs, goals are achieved and lifestyles are changed.
I feel like this is starting to sound like a self help book, so I’m going to stop rambling and get to the good stuff!
I do some form of exercise 6 days a week. I can’t live without CorePower Yoga Sculpt. The combination of heat, sweat, cardio, weights, and yoga is perfection in my opinion. I take Sculpt up to five times a week and lift at the gym three times a week. I’ve only been lifting for a few weeks but I can already feel a huge change in my body. Workouts are very personal, so find what you love and be sure to stay consistent! Try integrating both aerobic (cardio) and anaerobic (weight training) exercises into your workout routine in order to create balance throughout the body.
My biggest recommendation when it comes to grocery shopping is to SLOWLY integrate healthier foods into your diet. Multiple times in the past couple of years I’ve gone to Whole Foods, spent hundreds of dollars on super healthy food only to have most of them go to waste because I couldn’t sustain such a dramatic change in my diet so quickly. Don’t feel like you need to take it from one extreme to the other. I’m constantly roaming through Pinterest and Instagram to find healthy versions of the meals I love. Here’s what I picked up most recently at the store…
Tomatoes, carrots, asparagus, spinach, avocado, romaine lettuce, potatoes, apples, bananas, strawberries, rasberries, whole wheat english muffins, pecan granola, greek yogurt, chicken breasts (both raw and pre-cooked) , low sodium sliced turkey, cottage cheese, peanut butter, ground turkey, brown rice, eggs, pinto beans, quinoa, oatmeal, balsamic dressing, pretzel thins, eggs, Quest protein bars, onions, bell peppers, turkey bacon, and Healthy Choice fudge bars.
-Eat 6 times a day
-Your largest meal should be breakfast then decrease portion size throughout the day
-NO carbs after 4 (the worst part)
-2 protein shakes a day
-Lots of water!
I was introduced to this plan by yoga instructor and friend since middle school, Stacy! We both have the same vices when it comes to our diet so we’re a great support system for one another. Out of respect for Stacys trainer who created the nutrition plan, I don’t want to post the exact details so I just listed some key points above! On an average day I will have oatmeal with half a banana for breakfast, a protein shake, chicken with quinoa and tomatoes for lunch, cottage cheese in the afternoon, and asparagus with a form of protein for dinner (no carbs). This is an extremely strict nutrition plan, so I will probably end up integrating more flavorful meals in the next few weeks like turkey meatballs with wheat pasta or stuffed bell peppers.
I hope this information helped! Just take it day by day and try to enjoy the process rather than focusing on the end goal. Enjoy the fact that each day you are making conscious decisions to invest in yourself and your future. Nothing worth having comes easily. The hard is what makes it great… if it was easy, everyone would do it!