Disclaimer: The following is what works for me based upon research and medical advice FOR ME at this point in time. I’m not advocating ANY of this FOR YOU. If you want further research or advice, I’m happy to send you in a direction where you can seek out the professional opinion appropriate for your situation–reach out and let me know, you don’t have to be alone in the world of cyberspace misinformation!
I have a list of questions that friends have asked me to expand on in some blogs that I’m going to cover over time…and so here’s one: What do you eat?
Here’s the complicated answer (don’t worry–I’ll simplify it too!): for my current weight within this five pound range, I consume 1500-1700 calories depending on the workout or run that has been completed that day (pick up your jaw, it looks like a lot, I know, it messes with my head too–remember the disclaimer, it’s not for everyone. Remember, I’m still losing weight, I’m not 110lbs soaking wet, nor will I ever be–I’m also a 5’10” active woman, my body REQUIRES calories to lose weight). But it’s not just calories. It’s mathematically divided by macro-nutrients that are also adjusted by larger weight ratio increments as I lose weight. Currently, those are 45% carbs/25% fat/30% protein with a 80-100g protein baseline depending on the calorie ceiling for the day. Complicated enough? It’s actually not that bad–I track every single thing I eat on an app, MyFitnessPal. I’m a premium user (yes, that means I pay an annual fee)–but I get to then tailor the website and app to my different calorie and macro goals by each individual goal and each individual day of the week and it does all the crazy math for me. Plus the special access to premium customer service is helpful too. All I have to do is plug in the portions of the food I eat and it does all the magic. Literally, seconds at a time, less than five minutes total during the day and I have tons of data about my nutrition at my finger tips. Another nice feature about MFP premium is I have been able to completely eliminate the feature where it even allows the appearance of adding exercise calorie burn to your day–unless running 10+ miles where I’m burning literally thousands of calories (which I do track elsewhere), I don’t consume my calorie burn from exercise and I don’t want to see that mind game temptation in my food journal.
So here’s the simple version–what I actually eat in terms of real food:
Pre-workout (Amount depending on the intensity/length of workout; usually only one of these unless it’s a long run):
- Unsweetened Applesauce
- Gu Stroopwafel
- Skratch Labs Energy Chews
- Soon to be tried–making my own fuel bars, I’m trying to cut out chemicals and preservatives (and save a little $$$)
One cup of coffee w/ 2oz of protein shake instead of half and half (my newest find! Love this substitute for cutting calories and bumping protein!), and a scoop of BCAAs in water if I worked out or ran that morning, and one of the following:
- Homemade breakfast sandwich with english muffin, egg whites, spinach
- Steel cut instant oatmeal with flax seed and PB2 powder
- Honey Nut Cheerios or Special K Red Berries with Almond Milk
- Kodiak Power Cakes (protein-enriched pancakes) and bacon
- Eggs or Egg whites w/ shredded cheese, bacon, english muffin
I’ve talked about my “toddler diet” before where I snack on little things throughout the day/afternoon. Sometimes I eat leftover portions of dinner the night before depending on what we had. Some days I have lunch meetings and eat an actual meal–that last part isn’t covered here because I don’t have say on planning those menus, usually it’s buffet so I go for salad, the protein, and the dessert–occasionally the carb if it’s really yummy. But here’s the bulk of my options that I usually choose from most days:
- Hummus and veggies
- String cheese
- Sargento Balanced Breaks (cheese cubes, nuts, dried fruit)
- Ready-paks (cheese cubes, veggies, fruit, pretzels)
- Fiber-One Bars or Brownies
- Greek Yogurt
- Soup (truly an unsung hero–many are low-cal and filling, just gotta watch the sodium)
- Trader Joes Pumpkin Bars (like a Nutri-Grain Bar)
- Unsweetened Applesauce
- Fresh Fruit
- Steamed Veggies
Dinner Main Dishes (We like a hearty dinner, some recipes–usually crockpot ones–yield leftovers that are great for packing to bring to the office, others are perfect for cooking just for two.):
- Boneless Thin Cut Dijon Pork Chops
- Turkey Burgers
- Cheeseburgers (lean beef)
- Meatloaf (lean beef)
- Steak (leaner cuts)
- Turkey Chili
- Chicken or Beef Stirfry
- Italian Meatballs
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (cooked nine million different ways)
- Sloppy Joes
- Navy Bean and Bacon Soup
- Tacos or Taco Salad
- Carne Asada
- Turkey Breast
- Roasted chicken (which then becomes chicken sandwiches, chicken salad, and homemade chicken stock–we don’t waste!)
- And so many more that I’m not thinking of…
As far as side dishes go, almost all dinners are accompanied by a giant salad each (no really, we each get a salad served in a serving bowl)–to cut calories and not go overboard on that, they’re loaded with leafy greens and fiber-rich veg, and we use yogurt based dressings that have lower calories. We don’t make carb-y side dishes like pastas or potatoes, except on occasion. We substitute things like spaghetti squash or shirataki noodles. We eat lots of steamed veggies with seasonings one them like broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, onions, peas, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, squash, zucchini, etc.
With anything–it’s easy to go overboard. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here because I believe in it for me so strongly. I don’t do deprivation. Everything has to be permissible because if I believe I can’t eat it, I’m going to fixate on it until I eat it until the point of excess and undo all of the positive work that I’ve done for myself. It’s all about planning and portion size. I plan out my meals and that’s what I eat–life happens and things change, but for the most part, that’s what I eat. Portion size is key–it’s not the whole package of something. It’s a weighed and/or measured portion of something. I use measuring cups and spoons. I use a food scale. I buy pre-packed foods and prepackage many of my own items too. Food has to be easily accessible for me, or I’ll reach for the junk, it’s as simple as that. It’s work, but I’m a work in progress too–and I’m worth it.
And there you have it…the mystery of what I consume that has brought me to the point of 150lbs down so far. And I can promise you this with unabashed assurance–it will change moving forward–my nutrition has and is been a fluid learning process over the last couple years, and as I lose weight, those goals constantly change as my body requires less to fuel its existence.
Ask and ye shall receive on the questions–I’m happy to share!