As we put Christmas behind us with the relief of having some form of control over our lives we still have the last week of the year where most of us like to use “I’ll start after New Year’s” phrase. We all know after too many holiday parties followed by Christmas lunch, brunch, dessert, and leftovers the next day we need to tighten the reins and clean up our eating. The only problem is many of us aren’t ready to give up the foods that have been comforting us the past few weeks and if everyone else gets to start on New Year’s then I guess I’ll jump off a bridge too. Wait, what?? Look, you’ve already made additional holes in your belt buckle and started wearing elastic banded pants. Why wait till the first when you can get ahead of the rest by starting now?
I know it’s easier said than done, especially coming from someone who eats clean year round but I was in your shoes before and there is nothing worse than trying to restart something you fell off the wagon for and hitting the restart button. Making changes to becoming healthier and getting in better shape all take planning and preparing and I don’t expect to teach it all to you in one blog. For now let’s start with the basics and use these simple daily habits to get you going in the right direction.
Eat breakfast everyday.
Eat small meals throughout the day.
Eat a lean protein and complex carbohydrate with every meal.
Eat whole foods instead of processed food.
Drink half your body weight in ounces every day.
Prepare your meals ahead of time.
With the new year less than a week away you have to start planning for a better version of yourself and with the right nutrition and exercise plan you can look forward to a healthy New Year and fitter YOU!
I will be sharing my food diary for those that ask me what I eat most days. I prepare all my meals. When I leave the house in a hurry I go to Snap Kitchen where most of the meals are gluten free and portioned perfectly for me. For future posts I will include all foods not prepared by me and show you how easy it is to eat healthy and delicious foods when on the go or eating out with friends.
Juliana’s Food diary:
Breakfast: 1 whole egg, 2 egg whites, 2 ounces chicken breast all scrambled together with 2 TB salsa, 1 whole grapefruit
Morning snack: medium apple, 4 ounces lean fround turkey
Lunch: 5 oz grilled chicken brest (baked), 5 ounces baked sweet potatos, 1 cup steamed green beans
Afternoon snack: protein shake blended with 1 banana and 2TB almond butter, water, ice, 1 ounce trail mix
Dinner: 5 ounces fround turkey, 1/2 cup brown rice, 1/4 cup black beans, salsa, 1 cup broccoli
Poor Monday! No body ever cheered for Monday the way they do Fridays but at least you can have a fresh start. After a long over indulgent weekend it’s safe to say Mondays are a good day to start from scratch. Today I cleaned up my eating, been hydrating with my water, had a cup of detox tea, and am already feeling better. I still have to get through dinner but I have a plan and am not tempted to get off of it. We believe in fresh starts and when we decide to focus on a goal the sky is the limit, until a coworker or family member starts waving temptation in your face. This is where will power steps up and keeps you honest with your goals. You can’t let every chance to back down defeat you. Every time you say ‘no thank you’ and pass on the sweets or after work drinks your will power gets a little stronger. Think of it like a muscle. The more you flex it, the stronger it becomes. So stay strong and stick to your main goals because life likes to challenge you.
Before I say good bye to Monday here are a few tips to sticking to your clean eating habits:
1. When making your grocery list keep processed foods off. Instead of cereal add gluten free whole oats. Add fresh fruits and veggies to keep around for snacks. Start portioning your meals and making them more frequent.
2. Replace all sugary drinks with pure clean water. If you must have something different try brewing green tea and add a little honey and lemon. Or try juicing fruits and vegetables. I know it can get messy but it’s a great tasting way to try new things. Here is a juicing site to get you started.
3. Read your nutrition labels. If it has more than 3 ingredients and you can’t pronounce them, it’s a sure sign it should not go in your body.
Overall, stick to the source and stay consistent with your meals. When you plan ahead you are likely to stick to your program. Healthy eating should be a way of life and don’t worry, everything in moderation not deprivation.
For 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: firstname.lastname@example.org