The internet, social media, or the media in general, has made eating, let alone eating for weight loss, so damn confusing.
So many questions and so much conflicting information.
Low carb? Keto? Atkins? Intermittent fasting? High protein or low protein? What about organic, or is it a waste of your money? Are grapes bad for you? Should I count calories or macros? What about eating before a workout? The list goes on…
(sigh…) I can’t blame you, or anyone, for being confused. I’m sure this is why many people get paralysis by analysis and just don’t do anything.
Making This Simple
My goal in the next several blog posts is to clear the air and make the nutrition or eating part of your weight loss journey as simple as possible.
Side note: Being transparent here, simple does not mean easy, but saying that doesn’t mean it will be hard either.
Before I go forward, I want to lay out a few ground rules to set the expectations.
- You didn’t get to where you are overnight, nor should you expect to fix it overnight, so don’t rush the process.
- Play the long game – its easy to drop 10-20lbs in 6 weeks, but the real goal is keeping it off months and years to come.
- Weight loss is like the stock market. It may seem erratic at times, but you’ll see the trend when you zoom out, so never get too caught up in daily measuring.
- You have to be honest with yourself – your here based on your lifestyle and decisions. I’m not saying some of those incidences were fair. I’m saying that you have to accept radical responsibility for your current situation because once you do, the process is so much easier.
One last thing, if you haven’t done so already, I recommend reading this blog HERE <==Realtionships with food.
This is a good starting point for those who know what they need to do but just aren’t doing it, which most people from my experience is most people.
Now, after you’ve done that… let’s move forward.
Food Quality – Make the Best Decision Possible
Now I’ll be upfront and say that food is a calorie game, but we are not going to start with the calorie game because, for many beginners, this is just stressful.
Instead, I want to talk about the food quality game or focus on eating quality food because 50% or MORE of an individual’s fat loss goals can be achieved by focusing on eating good quality food.
Now, what do I mean by eating quality food? For the context of this blog, it’s the least processed, closest to nature as possible food. Simply, if you can farm it, it runs or swims, you can eat it.
I often use the adage…
“…if you can’t grow it, or kill it, don’t eat it.”
Side Note: When a person adopts a way of eating that is more focused on food quality, we find they lose lots of weight out of default since most quality foods tend to be lower cal, more filling, and nutrient-dense.
Eating better quality food sounds great and all, but I know you want simple examples.
- Lean Meats (think 90% lean or better)and eggs.
- Any vegetable or fruit.
- Nuts, seeds.
- Whole wheat and whole grain if you digest it well.
- Dairy is fine if you digest it well.
Below I’ve attached a sample grocery list for some of our RTC members.
Okay, okay, so I’m sure you’ve heard this before, and not much of that is too new to you, but what about when you are in a situation that is not present?
Make the Best Decision Possible
When you’re just starting with your nutrition journey, it may feel black and white. You either have to meal prep all your food and eat 6 organic meals a day, or if you don’t, then you’re just wrong.
I can tell you that is the furthest from the truth.
No matter what, even if you do your best to be prepared, life will happen. You won’t have food, have limited access to healthy food, starving, hangry, and if you don’t eat, you’re going to lose your $hit.
So then what?
Well, what happens to most that are in this situation is they say to hell with it and binge… hard. Then they feel guilty, become mad at themselves, and start the cycle all over again.
Here is what I want you to do instead.
When you’re in a situation where you’re hungry and your food choices are limited, make the best decision possible, keeping in mind that you are trying to eat as close to nature as possible.
Let me give you some examples
-You got off work late, your starving. You know you don’t have anything at home, so you’re going to hit a drive-through. That’s fine! When you pull up to the menu instead of ordering the quarter pounder, order a chicken sandwich instead. Instead of fries, go for fruit, and instead of Coke, get a Diet Coke. Heck, the diet coke alone will save you over 400 cals. If you look at the menu a bit harder, I’m willing to bet you’ll even see more.
If you want more examples, I have our restaurant cheat sheet in the Help Kit Below, where we list some quick healthy(ish) options at local restaurants if you are unsure what to get. It’s Free 🙂 (Incline link to RTC Help Kit)
-Your hungry, you’re at the local QT… what do you get? Well, instead of chips, a Snickers Bar and Coke get yogurt, fruit, a whole wheat sandwich, beef jerky, a diet drink.
-At Starbucks, you’re making your morning coffee run instead of getting your triple mocha frappe… you get the idea, lol. Check out MacroBarista’s Instagram page HERE, where he gives maco-friendly (think low calorie) coffee drinks that you can order from the barista. It’s worth checking out.
And one more…
-Your out to eat with friends, and happy hour is here. You’re going to have a drink, you’ve had a crap week, and you don’t care… but you do. Go for the appetizer instead of a full meal, or if you do get a salad with lean meat (chicken or lean beef), all restaurants will do this, with dressing on the side. Then, of course, your drink. Any low cal beer, vodka with diet coke, to name a few. (in our help kit, we have a list of fitness-friendly alcohol drinks. Get Access HERE.)
The point is that no matter what you will be in a situation, eating healthier is going to be more challenging but not impossible.
Just make the best decision possible.
Getting fit and healthy…
…is caused by making many ‘best decisions’ over time.
Does this mean you ALWAYS have to skip the ‘bad’ food, go with the whole food options, say no to sodas, etc.…
No! I want you to enjoy food! I don’t want you to feel you have to eat whole foods and nothing else; that’s no way to live, and if anything, that will cause you to fall off the wagon living a life of deprivation.
Instead, I want you to discover another way to eat healthy foods that don’t taste like cardboard, and how to do it. In the beginning, too many people view eating healthy as black and white when there is a lot of grays.
Just make the best decision possible out of any situation, which is a great place to start.
But keep this in mind…
…if you’re going to eat junk or crappy food, make sure that it’s not a reward for doing well with your diet for the week and say “I’ve earned this”; or as a way to cope from a stressful situation.
That will start to develop an unhealthy relationship with food (as I went over on the last blog HERE).
If you know that you will eat out of the norm, such as going out to eat with the family, then, if possible, look ahead and plan on what you will eat or not eat.
You’d be surprised that when you plan ahead with your food, what other choices will you make for the day to have a bit more wiggle room.
Now, if it was a surprise decision, make the best decision possible.
This is how healthy eating starts.
In Health and Awesomeness,
Travis Merritt, BS, CPT, (and other letters behind the name) is the Owner of Rowlett Transformation Center in Rowlett, TX.
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