We are in the midst of a group 30 day nutrition push Why? Well to get to your physique goals, nutrition plays the most important role. So much emphasis is placed on workouts as well as other small rock items that sometimes this message gets lost to the general public and beginners. Nutrition can be boring on social media, so most veterans are putting workout stuff out there. It is what it is, but I want you to understand how important what you put in your mouth is! Sometimes you hear that results (or abs) are 80% nutrition and 20% in the gym. It is true!
Tip 1 ✔ plan out what you are eating BEFORE it goes into your mouth. (Seems like a DUH tip but it is imperative to say out loud for an AH HA moment!) It is 4:30 pm here and I have my day planned out in the MyFitnessPal app. Some days I plan it out the day before, some days I plan it out before my first meal, and some days I plan out BLOCKS of cals if I am not sure what I will be having (i.e. we are travelling). This is important to my success while in a deficit, and not something I do much in maintenance mode (meaning you will not have to do it forever)! When you in a deficit as a female, your calorie budget is smallish so you really have to think things out to hit your calorie and protein goals PLUS have a food volume that feels decent to you. I generally like 3x500 cals with about 35 g of protein at each meal. I like those to be around 2 pm, 5 pm, and 7 pm. That is what feels GOOD to me right now. It has changed over the years based on my workout and job schedule ;) SO plan out your meals or budgets before you eat ✔ and experiment with budgeting and timing
Tip 2 ✔ Happy to report that I have hit my nutrition goals the past 15 days and gotten my stickers on my planner! Whatever you track, you will naturally focus on.
Getting in LOTS of liquids helps when you are in a deficit. When you eat less, you tend to drink less. Also, it is easy to mix hunger cues with thirst cues. 100 ounces per day is a good goal for most ladies. I will drink more if I mix it up in the lquids department. I usually have two 8 oz cups of coffee in the morning and drink my 16 oz water bottle. Caffeine is a natural appetite suppressant, and is very effective for me. Around lunch, I refill my water bottle and will usually make a 16 oz bottle of pre-workout if I am lifting. If not, I make a cup of herbal hot tea. Around 3, I have a 12 oz can of diet coke and refill my water bottle. (I time that diet coke as a caffeine hit too, this is right when I start to get hungry!) Then around dinner, I refill my water bottle again and have another hot tea or two with dessert.
So think through your typical day and see if you are getting in enough liquids. If you cannot keep up with water bottle refill counts, you can slide plastic bracelets up the side or buy 4x25 oz water bottles in different colors. There are also water bottles that track for you these days! So fancy ;)
Tip 3 you CAN fit in treats and eating out into your deficit calorie plans! We usually go out to eat after church on Sundays, so today we went to this little German place. They have AMAZING food, I really love their apple strudels. So I planned my whole day around this guy ;) I also had their brat with kraut. So good! It tooks a few tweaks to my eating plan for the day but it is worth the effort. Some treats will be worth the effort, and others are not. YOU decide! But never ever set food as "off limits" or "bad". That kind of thinking can really mess with your head, do just don't do it! Everything goes in moderation! ✔
Tip 4 sometimes the best thing can do for our nutrition is no nutrition at all. What do I mean? I mean that we often eat instead of feeling emotion or eat by a clock. We are stressed- we eat. We are happy- we eat. We are sad- we eat. It is noon- we eat. Getting the picture? Investigate what triggers you to eat. Go for a walk or journal to examine your hunger cues BEFORE you eat a few times. What is beneath that hunger? I think you will find many may cues are attached to emotions or timing. You have to get your mind right before you can ever hope to lose the weight and keep it off. ✔
Tip 5 ...is all about simple substitutions. Things that you can swap out of your diet for something with lower calories or higher protein. Here are two common examples that I do. On the left, I generally sub spaghetti for zucchini spiralizer noodles with my marinara and meatballs. Saves about 200 calories and amps up the volume, not to mention extra veggie nutrient goodness. On the right, I generally sub any high carb snack food for a protein bar. Same calories, but the protein bar has 20g protein. These simple subs can make a world of difference in your calories and macros each day. Other examples:
✔ cooked down berries instead of syrup
✔ protein pancakes instead of pancakes
✔ lettuce instead of a wrap
✔95% lean beef instead of 70% lean ground beef
... you get the picture ;) be creative! You might find you aren't missing anything, this is how I prefer to eat now.
Tip 7 For every 7-10 days of dieting, AT A MINIMUM, you should take 1 maintenance day. What's a maintenance day? Eating at a caloric level to maintain your current body, which means taking a day off dieting. Notice, it is not a backwards day. You are not eating enough to put on fat, just stay the same. Why? To give your body and mind a break from the stress of dieting. This will help your hormone levels and mindset balance out to go at the deficit again. The leaner you are, the less your deficit should be. The leaner you are, the more frequent your maintenance days should be. Today is a maintenance day for me. I am eating mostly the same but am having a few mini eggs for snack. I am also having salmon for dinner which is more caloric than my normal protein choices. So mostly the same but just a few different choices. Maintenance days will teach you how to maintain your body for the long haul.
Tip 8 if you do not even know where to start on nutrition, start with a top 10 list of meals/snacks you LOVE! Homemade, store bought, and restaurant all count. Then figure out how you can fit these into your day within your calorie/protein goal. You may be surprised how easily they fit in, or you may decide they have to be re-created with lower calorie substitutions... or saved for maintenance days. You will never stick with your nutrition plan for the long haul if you are not eating things you like. And only you know what those things even are ;) ✔
Tip 9 if you are in a deficit, you are going to be hungry from time to time. It is OKAY to be hungry! Just a sign your body is switching fuels over to fat so reframe hunger as good when you are in a deficit. Whether it is a slight deficit or a very large one, hunger feels the same. A slight deficit is going to take longer to lose the fat, so just like a bandaid, you want to take it off as fast as you safely can. Luckily the Venus calculator will give you the lowest calorie goal that is safe for you based on your current metrics, anything between that and maintenance calories will cause fat loss. The closer you stick to the deficit goal consistently, the faster you will be at your goal!
Tip 10 And I still have LOTS to say So part of being successful is having good choices on hand and planned for. You are going to go the path of least resistance, especially when you are stressed and low on time. I went yesterday and shopped for a month (yes, you read that right) of our family's groceries. I make a plan and we stick to it. Simple as that! You can read more on how HERE- http://venuscrossing.blogspot.com/2015/01/healthy-grocery-shopping-for-month.html or HERE- http://venuscrossing.blogspot.ca/2016/06/monthly-meal-plan-and-grocery-list-for.html
(It also saves money because I swear I will go to the store for trash bags and come out with no less than $100 worth!) That top 10 list I posted earlier comes in handy for planning, have the kids and husband do one too so everyone is happy. Build out a week then repeat x4 for the month. I freeze as needed to make it to the end of the month, and we prioritize using up things that will spoil first. The key is to have enough variety that you don't hate it, but enough of the same to keep your list somewhat small. You will also eat less with less variety- this is well documented in research. ✔
And you just thought you were getting 10 tips, here is a BONUS one for you :)
Tip 11 ✔ Sometimes the best laid plans do not go right. As much as I plan, we decide to do something different at the last minute every once in awhile. And that is OKAY! My husband surprised me with brunch this morning so I decided to indulge in a waffle. I do not hardly ever have them, so this is a real treal that I enjoy! We are also doing a cookout at the beach later with friends. So I know calories are going to be higher than normal, so I will plan today as a maintenance day for extra calorie budget. You can move your maintenance day around each week as you need, be flexible! I like to use mine for eating out and/or social events. The beach will be tricky but I will drink lots of water between alcoholic beverages and only have one burger and one smore. Besides we are there to relax and enjoy friends, not just to eat! ;)
One of my Venus veteran sisters once told me the key to social event eating was 3D- dilute, discuss, and delay. Meaning lots of water, talk with people, and be the last one to get food. Wise advice. Keep things in perspective. Learn to roll with the punches and trust yourself to make the best choice at the time.