“Wait, what? Did I read that right??”
Yes, ma’am. I just told you to stop doing that general healthy eating thing.
DISCLAIMER: there is nothing “wrong” with general healthy eating. There’s nothing “horrible” (well, other than the obvious) about eating donuts all damn day. There’s nothing “bad” about the low carb, high carb, IIFYM, paleo, high protein, no protein, or the do whatever the hell you want diets. Basically, my point is that you should do what’s best for you and I’m not here to judge.
I am here to share what helped me increase muscle definition and decrease fat through food alone. In all seriousness.. I saw the results I wanted for years but that I actually saw in a matter of weeks when I applied this nutrition approach. I’m here to share the way I eat that allows me to maintain these results while enjoying every bite of what I eat.
For that reason, I am going to say: stop doing general healthy eating and start applying a few of my suggested food tweaks.
WHAT IS GENERAL HEALTHY EATING
I define general healthy eating as eating healthy, nutritious food items without a system. What I mean by a lack of a system is that there is no strategy or order as to how these healthy foods are eaten.
This is what general healthy eating looked like for me…
I would go to the grocery store and add all sorts of nutrient-dense foods to my cart: apples, bananas, potatoes, chicken breasts, ground turkey, oats, eggs, rice. All of those items I would consider to be beneficial for the body.
Then, I would eat those items at random throughout the week. I would maybe have oatmeal for breakfast. For lunch, I would have a chicken salad. I would have apples with peanut butter for an afternoon snack. For dinner, I would get some take out… healthy but a really large, calorie and carb heavy meal. Then, I would snack again before bed on crackers.
Again, all the items I was eating were healthy, but there was no system. Why was I just eating carbs for breakfast? Why did I skip carbs at lunch? I didn’t have a rhyme or reason. I was just doing general healthy eating.
Yes, those foods were healthy for me. But, I wasn’t seeing any results from this “general healthy eating.”
Does that sound familiar??
MY FOOD TWEAK SUGGESTIONS
I’m not about some complex plan. The way I eat is probably just a few simple tweaks to how most people already eat. When I understood how we could eat in a way that works with the body and our physiology, I found that we can eat to see physical results: fit and lean. Here’s a quick summary then I’ll go through each one.
1. Know your macronutrient groups + eat accordingly
2. Portions. Portions. Portions
1. KNOW YOUR MACRONUTRIENT GROUPS
Remember in my general healthy eating example when I realized I was just eating carbs for breakfast and then no carbs at lunch… it was just kind of random when it came to macronutrients. That’s a simple tweak that yielded big results for me!
Rewind… macronutrients are the main components that comprise our foods: protein, fat and carbohydrates. They hold the bulk of the calories. When we eat those macronutrients, they serve different roles within the body; they breakdown differently and affect our bodies in various ways.
For this reason, I tweak how I eat by knowing my macronutrient groups and eating accordingly. For example, I eat balanced macronutrient meals. I don’t eat a meal that is super carb heavy and has no protein. I know that carbs can fuel a weight lifting workout, so I’ll strategically eat certain carbohydrates around my workout. Do you see what I mean??
2. PORTIONS PORTIONS PORTIONS
Another mistake I made with general healthy eating is that I was actually overeating healthy food. This may sound silly but I didn’t ever realize that overeating nutritious foods could cause me to gain fat (and it did!).
A simple tweak I make now is that I portion out my foods. You won’t catch me weighing my chicken or measuring out the amount of rice I’m eating. No way haha! But, I do have a simple way that I eyeball portions by using my hand as a measurement. It takes me all of 15 seconds (literally!). Iit helps ensure than I’m not having 75 grams of carbohydrates from cereal with my breakfast simply because I had no clue of portions.
This is also how I get away with having more flexibility in the foods that I eat. Because I know the portions that I’m eating at each meal, I can swap in not-so-healthy options but keep the portions in check. Just yesterday, I had chips with my meal 4 as my carbohydrate option but I kept the serving within the portions I like to eat, so it was “on plan.” Portions are key in seeing results!
3. 80/20 PRICIPLE
80/20 is a general principle that refers to following a plan/rule/guideline 80% of the time and allowing for flexibility or modifications the other 20% of the time.
As it relates to how I eat, I simply try to eat according to my meal plan guidelines (timing, portions and food combinations) 80% of the time. The other 20% is more random… I’ll eat larger portions than normal. I’ll eat food items that wouldn’t be considered “healthy.” I’ll eat a restaurant and not try so hard to keep it lighter. I’ll indulge and have a treat. This is what keeps my nutrition approach balanced, maintainable and enjoyable.
If you think about it…. I eat 5 meals per day. Apply the 80/20 rule and that means that 1 meal a day has the opportunity for lots of freedom. I’ll add the chips that I did yesterday. I’ll enjoy fajitas and queso at a restaurant. I’ll snag that donut I was eyeing up at the grocery store. It’s not “getting off track” or “eating bad” – it’s balance! It’s part of my plan!
I suggest this tweak because the best meal plan is the one you can maintain long-term. For me, the 80/20 principle allows me to eat nutritiously the majority of the time while allowing for fun food flexibility.
EAT YOUR WAY LEAN MEAL PLAN: what I shared above is just the start of my complete nutrition approach. Again, how I eat is simple, enjoyable and effective. If you’ve been struggling with healthy eating and seeing results, I would highly suggest you check out the Eat Your Way Lean Meal Plan. In it, I’ll teach you my complete system and hopefully, it will take away all the food overwhelm and information overload for you!
FOODIE WEEK GIVEAWAY
Each weekday this week, I’m giving away a $50 gift card to the restaurant or grocery store of your choice!
To enter today’s giveaway….
Comment you favorite restaurant and tag a friend on THIS Instagram post. Winner will be announced on Tuesday!