5 Tips for Choosing the Right Nutrition Plan

 

Nutrtion Blog

When it comes to nutrition it is safe to say there are hundreds of different fad diets that are claiming big results in less time. Some of the latest fads include Paleo, Ketogenic Diet, The Whole 30, Atkins (is still holding strong), No Fat, No Carb, Low Carb, Cabbage Soup, I can go on… With all of these options how do we know which one is right and safe for us?

Over the years as a nutritionist I have learned the best nutrition program is a healthy, well-balanced, and sustainable one. As one expert  Michelle May, MD  and author of AM I Hungry?  explains,”It doesn’t matter how scientifically sound the program is (and many are not), how fast they work (you will regain as fast as you lost), or even how many people have tried it before. What matters is whether you can do what they say forever– not whether you should, but whether you can.” It’s one thing to pick a diet/nutrition plan and another to actually follow through with it. We have been eating a certain way most of our lives and have developed habits over the years that are hard to change. When starting a new plan we have to make some major changes to accommodate the healthier ones. With that being said what factors do we consider before choosing a nutrition plan?

Understand What is Healthy I can’t tell you how many times clients have sat in front of me and sworn they have been eating healthy and haven’t seen any changes in their weight. Let’s define healthy. According to merriam-webster healthy definition is free from disease or pain. So what does this have to do with the foods we eat? Honestly, everything. At this point we have a good understanding that fast food meals do not rate very high on the healthy scale while whole foods that you buy from the grocery store rate higher. We can also agree processed foods like baked goods and common junk foods and candy are considered unhealthy. Now that we can distinguish which foods fall into each category let’s take it a step further. In order to pick the right nutrition plan you should be looking for balance, one that includes all three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. These are important for our overall health and play vital roles. Let’s take carbohydrates, the poor group has a bad rap and is always being removed. First with Atkins then the South Beach diet and it continues with the Ketogenic diet and other low-carb plans. We have to understand carbohydrates are our energy source. The reason removing carbs was successful is because for every gram of carb there are 4 grams of water so we initially would lose water. Then after the weight fell off and people decided to go back to eating carbs they would re gain the weight. If we eat good quality carbs in the right amounts we can thrive and live a healthy lifestyle. Eliminating food groups or a macronutrient are not sustainable and potentially dangerous because they can cause nutrient imbalances. Another unhealthy way to diet is by restricting your calories too low. This can set you up for disaster by keeping you hungry and deprived. This can also lead to binge eating and set you back even further from your goals. Starvation diets never work and can also wreak havoc on your metabolism. Signs that a plan is unhealthy and not right for you include feeling hungry all day, moody, irritable, and not enjoying the foods you are eating. As I mentioned earlier a healthy balance is the key to longterm success.

Life-style Everyone is different. We come in different shapes, sizes, and live different lifestyles. So why wouldn’t we choose a plan that fits our lifestyle? A lot of my clients  are too busy to meal prep so I have to find creative ways to get them to eat healthy. For example, I have a teacher that is in class all day and drives for Uber most days of the week. He doesn’t have time to grocery shop let alone meal prep. The best he could do is eat on the go. This meant ordering what he thought was healthiest and even that was not the best.  After months of this way of eating and little to no results he finally committed to a meal prep and delivery service that prepared portioned and calorie fixed meals to his job. He continued to log his food during the first month and stuck with the meals. In the first month he lost 10 lbs. This happened because a. he used a company that took all of the guesswork out and b. he was consistent. Let’s not forget the food was healthy and sustainable. Another important factor was he said the meals were satisfying and didn’t taste bad. Let’s look at someone who has time to grocery shop and meal prep. One of the first things they need to decide is what kind of plan they should start. Is it healthy and can they do this long-term? How do they know what to eat? How many calories should they eat and will it help them reach their goals? Once they figure all this out they can create their weekly meals and grocery shop. Scheduling the time to do this helps keep them on track and even though it may seem like a lot of work once you get into a routine it becomes second nature. This brings me to my next tip…

Time and Budget Moms with time to spare are able to meal prep and be more successful with results than busy moms who work full-time jobs and have to run the kids around. Usually its the busy moms that gravitate to the Weightwatchers and Nutrisystem programs because there is less prep work involved. When looking for a plan we want to find one we have time for and fits our budget. If you have a family you cook for then batch cooking is a great way to get everyone to eat healthy and stay within budget. You wouldn’t order prepped meals for 5 people in your household considering that would get very expensive. Turn meal prepping into a family event, you not only get help from the kids you also get to spend more time together.

Is it Sustainable This tip tends to get looked over when trying to choose the right nutrition plan. Is it sustainable? In other words, will you be doing this plan for the long haul? First, let’s return to the reason why you needed a plan…  to help you reach your weight loss goals, right? Right! Okay, let’s fast forward to the part you’ve achieved your goals now what? Do you go back to your old eating habits? Do you completely stop using your plan? Of course not. This is where most people drop the ball. They think they can relax and slowly slide back into their old habits because the plan they have been using is not sustainable. If they completely cut out carbs or fats they will eventually return to eating them. That is why it is important to choose a healthy balanced plan.  But if we don’t know what that is or how to figure out how much of what foods to eat how are we suppose to find a plan that is right for us? One way is to go online and do some research. There are great resources and books that can guide and teach you how to eat and figure out how much to eat. If you don’t have time for that or just want someone to figure it all out for you then let’s move on to my final tip…

Talk to a Professional If you are unsure where to start or what options are out there the best step is to talk with a professional like myself. We can assess your body weight and advise you of any potential health risks that might result from not managing your weight properly. We can also help you set weight loss goals, diet guidelines, talk about fad diets, create a meal plan that is healthy and sustainable, and give advice on exercise. My job is to find the right nutrition plan for you. It’s my goal to educate and help you develop healthier eating habits that you can use long-term. I take all the guesswork out for you and help you find foods you enjoy and fit them into a sound program. Looking at your lifestyle also helps me understand what may or may not work for you. In a fast paced world we expect everything now and want results yesterday. Fad diets are temporary as are their results. Over the years I’ve learned not everyone is the same and require different approaches to their nutrition.

As you can see there are multiple factors to consider when choosing the right nutrition plan. When looking to lose weight we have gravitated to a quick fix fad diet that has left us feeling depleted and malnourished. With our health in mind we have to start looking for a more balanced and sustainable way to live through our eating and consider things like our lifestyle and budget before trying to take on a plan that may not fit our needs. In the end it can save you time and energy by going straight to the expert like a nutritionist that can help you choose the right plan.

If you are looking for online nutrition coaching Juliana is a certified personal trainer,  has a degree in  nutrition and has helped thousands of people with their fitness goals.

If you are looking for a jump start to your nutrition click the link below to get started on a Renew and Nourish plan that teaches you to eat healthier and make better choices. Each plan comes with a weekly meal plan, grocery list, and helps you remove foods that cause bloat and inflammation.

Click here to find a plan that fits your needs:

Contact Juliana for a consultation: feistyfitness@gmail.com

Competition Rebound: It’s Real

Competition Rebound-2For many of us that have been competing for multiple years we have learned that post competition nutrition is an important thing to understand, especially if you do not want to torch everything you’ve worked so hard for the previous three to four months. I have seen hundreds of competitors just a couple of weeks post show and am baffled to see they gained anywhere from 5 to twenty pounds after watching them work so hard to get lean and ripped for a show. I understand after being on a restricted competition diet we want to eat everything in sight. For me, I am constantly looking at foods on Pinterest and saving recipes of foods I want to eat after my show.  We want what we can’t have and we definitely miss the foods that make us feel good.  Our mind loves to play tricks on us and it’s human nature to want what you can’t have and lord knows I want it all after a show. The problem is our body has been on a restricted plan for a long period of time and the moment you flood it with foods you haven’t eaten in months like dairy, high glycemic carbs, bad fats, and sugar from dessert and alcohol we put our body through an emotional roller coaster and flood it with chaos. We immediately go into carb overload and with every gram of carb comes 4 grams of water which causes us to bloat because we were depleted just days earlier. The ideal thing to do is take baby steps into regular eating. It took one time for me to learn that eating what I wanted post show was not the way to go. You would be surprised at how easy it is to lose that tight midsection and ripped body.  So before you start hoarding your favorite cookies and stocking up on every flavor of bluebell there are a few things to understand.

First, for the last few months you have been eating clean and your body has been working like a machine to get you to your goals.  Many of you have been eating a set number of carbs that your body has been using for energy and to fill out those hard earned gains.  When you eat more carbs than the body needs it is going to take the extra carbs and store them for later use.  But if you are use to eating 100-150 grams a day and eat a whole pizza, then your body is going to take the extra carbs and store as fat. Let’s not forget all the additional water that comes with the carbs, hence the post show eating bloat.  I recommend easing your way into eating more. After a show your body is depleted so a good cheat post show is fine. The disaster begins when we start an eating binge that continues into the week post show.

Second, I recommend getting back on your usual eating plan and slowly start adding calories by increasing portions or adding a few foods that you’ve kept away but are still good for you like a little fruit, yogurt, and healthy grains. Don’t completely stop eating your healthy meals. Balance is everything and understanding how many macros/calories you need to maintain your weight is important when planning your meals for the day. Remember, you still need to stay on track to keep your hard earned body fit. This is a good time to talk to your nutritionist about future goals.

Finally, take what you’ve learned from your competition prep and continue to grow. Now that you understand you have to be consistent with your nutrition to get the amazing results of a bodybuilder use that to continue reaching new goals. If your next goal is to add more muscle then start a plan you will follow consistently to reach that goal. Grocery shop, meal prep, take your supplements, track your progress, and most importantly build that physique you have pictured in your mind!

You are the only person that can get you to your goals and the only person that can keep you from them. It’s up to you.

To contact Juliana for competition prep or questions: feistyfitness@gmail.com

Paleo Diet Explained

Paleo Diet Explained

 

 

Degreed nutritionist and certified personal trainer Juliana ‘explains’ the paleo diet and keeps her fitness and nutrition answers real and up to date.

Ketogenic Diet

Ketogenic Diet

The Ketogenic Diet Explained

Have you been thinking about trying the Ketogenic Diet because your co worker lost over 20 pounds the first month?! Or you heard you can eat all the fat you want and still lose weight? Check out Juliana’a explanation of the Ketogenic diet, she explains how it works and if it is right for you?

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Intermittent Fasting Explained

Intermittent Fasting Explained

intermittent fasting: is it right for me?

https://feistyfitness.com/how-i-used-intermittent-fasting-in-my-bikini-prep/Intermittent fasting has been around longer than we have and is a schedule of eating that yield great health benefits. Although many mistake IF for one of the latest diet fads its more of a tool we use to allow our body’s to dispose of old cells and renew while fasting.

You can also check out my blog post on IF while competing:

https://feistyfitness.com/how-i-used-intermittent-fasting-in-my-bikini-prep/

The Best Way to Lose Fat

The Best Way to Lose Fat

 When it comes to burning fat there are multiple effective methods that pop into my head but I know there is not one best way but a combination of the right choices that create your body into a fat burning machine. But let’s face it, we can’t all be gym in the gym 6 days a week and the kids still have to be fed, right? So now what??

Nutrition

A Cleanse and Renew plan to remove toxins, reduce inflammation, teaches you how to eat clean and drop some pounds. 

Intermittent Fasting and my Bikini Prep

Preparing for a bodybuilding show takes dedication, commitment, and time. One of the biggest challenges is trying to eat all your meals throughout the day.

I have fond memories of rushing between clients to scarf down my meals so I could stick to my plan. I wouldn’t say it’s ideal but when you are competing you do whatever it takes to get your meals in and for many of us we have to eat 5, sometimes more meals every day.

Don’t forget the daily gallon of water and timing of cardio and weight training. I was doing two workouts a day, early morning at 5am and later in the afternoon around between 5 and 7PM. With this schedule IF has been a blessing in disguise.

 

intermittent fasting is a lifestyle

I want to start by stating intermittent fasting is a lifestyle, not a diet, or the latest weight loss craze (well maybe), it’s been around from the very beginning when our ancestors were hunting and gathering as part of their meal prep.

IF is a way for your body to recycle its cells, rid the body of toxins, and burn fat until we eat our first meal.

All this happens while you are fasting. There are not any negative side effects from fasting, only positive ones as stated in “10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting” by Kris Gunnars, BSc.

fasting and feeding states

IF has two states:  a fasting state and feeding state. It’s exactly as it sounds. You do not consume any calories, including but not limited to supplements and medications, while fasting. You can drink water, black tea, and unsweetened teas. During my feeding state 12PM- 8PM I fit all my meals and most times did not want to eat but of course I did because I know how much my body needed the calories. My last meal was at 7PM then fast would start around 8PM until 12PM the next day, sometimes til 2PM depending on my client schedule.

Waking up to do my fasted cardio and fasting til my first meal gave me great energy for the day and I did not have to stress about when I would eat my next meal. This schedule of eating met my needs and made prepping easy, especially because I knew what I was eating every day and didn’t have to think about it. I also noticed I lost body fat in less time and came in leaner than any of my previous preps. This prep I gave myself 10 weeks and was ready at the end of week 8.

Intermittent fasting (IF) and BIKINI prep

When I started fasting it was before my previous prep (July 6th, 2019) and knew I wanted to continue it as part of my daily behaviors. It helped keep me on track and not eat outside my feeding window. Knowing the drawbacks of breaking my fast too soon kept me honest and I was able to experience the benefits.

Using IF for my competition bikini prep proved to bring positive results and I have continued to keep IF as part of my daily eating schedule. There are other time windows to try with IF and I recommend it to anyone trying to become healthier with more than just exercise and recovery.

Other fasting/feeding time frames

20 (fasting) :4 (feeding), 18:6, 16:8, 14:10, 12:12

If you eat breakfast regularly every day then starting with a 12:12 time frame is a good place to start and each week increase your fast by 1-2 hours.

nutrition coaching for intermittent fasting

If you are still confused about IF and would like guidance on how to start and what to eat please e-mail me juliana@feistyfitness.com to schedule a consultation. Have great day!

Bikini Prep: Top 4 Things You Should Do After Your Show

Bikini Prep: Top 4 Things You Should Do After Your Show

Just one week after my competition and I have been feeling anxious. Going from 6 days of workouts, early morning cardio, meal prep, and every thing that involved ‘Comp Prep’ has come to a stop. So what now?

For me, I continue living the basics of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. I won’t stop working out or eating clean, I modify my plan. I continue eating my meal plan with modifications. For example, I recalculated my calorie intake to a maintenance amount and from there I fill in the blanks for my macro nutrients. I use this as a guide for when I prepare my daily meals. It’s important to understand after a bodybuilding show you have to slowly increase your calories to re feed yourself and not rebound.  It’s also important to give yourself some time off. Some competitors continue if they have multiple shows in their schedule but when you have finished your last show of the season taking a week or more from the gym is ideal for your body to get much needed rest and recovery. Here are a few tips to consider after competition season.

Rest and Recovery

Calculate maintenance calories and eat

 

A lot of competitors have a hard time post show because they stop meal prepping and start eating whatever they want but this can send them down a spiral of bad eating and quick weight gain. When you have depleted your body with low calories and restricted macros it’s vital to plan for post show nutrition. Believe me, my first show I gained 20 lbs in three weeks and I never let that happen again. Unfortunately I did not have the proper guidance but learned it was the route to take. Get with your coach and ask about a maintenance plan before moving towards a building phase.  If you are looking for a coach please  contact me directly.

Get back on a regular workout routine

This is not a hard thing to do for most competitors. We find the gym to be our happy place and spend hours upon hours there weekly to get the results we want. After talking to your coach about the next steps you should also make short and long term goals to keep you motivated and planning for your next show if it’s the direction you want to take. Also, a regular routine will keep you mentally fit. I have seen a lot of competitors go through post show blues and even reported feeling a void. It’s normal after coming off a natural high of adrenaline from the show and not having a plan or direction.

Get feedback and work on building or growing for next show

Feedback from the judges and your coach will prepare you for what to work on next. If you are an amateur looking to go Pro then you want to get as much feedback from every show and train to create the look and symmetry required to take it to the next level. I competed in four national shows before earning my pro card as an IFBB and some of the feedback I received was my quads were too big, my lateral delts too small, and my back not wide enough (this helps create a smaller waist in bikini).  With this information I focused on these specific things as I continued to work on everything else.

 

At the end of the day a post show plan can have a large impact on your next steps. Spiraling into bad eating can negatively affect the way you feel and lower motivation. Then trying to recover and lose the weight you gained can be a challenge if you do not have a plan. Bottom line…listen to your coach. We know a thing or two about this and believe me it’s not fun to watch someone throw away all of their hard work.

Juliana Halloran

CPT, Nutritionist BSc.

Rainbow Quinoa Salad With Grilled Turkey

This is one of many of my fresh and delicious meals in my Lunch Recipe Pack.  This salad is great for a post-workout meal or to just keep you energized through your day.

One Habit at a Time

When we think of habits they aren’t always thought of in the best light.  Bad habits have always been the spotlight when deciding to make a change but what about the good ones?  When we decide to become healthier , fitter, it’s never an easy task, especially if we want to take a healthy route that allows us to sustain it longterm.

An approach I take with my clients has been one that allows you to go at your own pace and develop new good habits over time.  We have all gone full speed ahead with extreme diets and crazy high intensity workouts that I’m sure most of us have crashed and burned. The problem is we are all creatures of habit and at the end of the year we make claims to the “New Me”, start the regimen along with the other crazies that have the same aspirations and before January ends the regular gym goers no longer have to share their favorite cardio equipment with the new year traffic.

One way to remove yourself from this cycle is start developing good habits that lead to a sustainable fit and healthy lifestyle.  Obviously eating right and exercising are on the top of the list but there are a number of changes that need to take place for these two to stay consistent.  For example, if you intend on going to the gym to do cardio after work then start by packing your gym bag and putting it in your car every night before you go to bed.  I’m sure you have a pre bedtime ritual and this can be added to it.  Even if Wednesday you know you can’t go because you have carpool that night you still need to pack your gym bag Tuesday night.  Preparation is key if you want to succeed at anything.

 

The bottom line is small changes practiced daily create long term habits. It’s up to you to be consistent. Here are a few steps you can start today to create healthier habits.

1. Decide on 1 new behavior/habit and schedule in daily calendar

2. Plan ahead. Get the materials you need to start and have ready for use. If your new behavior is drinking more water get one that holds at least 24 oz and can take anywhere.

3. Execute. Do it and be great at it. If your new habit is taking your lunch to work find delicious recipes and prepare ones you enjoy.

4. Stay consistent. Easier said than done.

Starting something new can be tough but you are stronger than you realize.

 

Juliana Halloran CPT, Nutritionist BSc.