It’s time to get off the diet roller coaster and get on an EATING SCHEDULE. Here are some tips to that are do-able for the long haul:
- Keep your blood sugar stable by eating every two to three hours on most days of the week. When you eat a meal, look at the clock and calculate your next feeding, it should be within three hours of your current feeding.
- Drink 80-120 oz. Water every day, measure it. When you wake up in the morning, make yourself stand there and drink 16 oz, right off the bat. Set an alarm on your desktop or phone to keep you honest. Drink 16 oz. Of water with your snack.
- Nutrient Timing is a must. You may not feel hungry post workout, but you should still take in your nutrition. Your muscles are like a sponge that have been rung out, they will absorb whatever you take in after your workout. Feed your body protein for repair and carbohydrates for replenishment of glycogen stores (energy stored in your muscle). If you wait until you are hungry, odds are more likely that you will make a poor nutrition choice.
- Ditch the “eat less, weigh less mentality”. If you find yourself skipping feedings earlier in the day, then overeating at night, you’re probably like many of Americans who are subconsciously thinking that if we eat less, we will weigh less. That only holds true if you actually DON’T overeat at night to compensate for skipping meals (or if you don’t overcompensate for not eating enough). Ditch that mentality, it is a mentality of deprivation. Know that you don’t have to suffer! Try something different. Eat breakfast within 30 minutes of awakening. Then look at the clock and make sure you’re eating again within the next three hours. Use the nutrition worksheet to help you figure out approximately how many calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrate grams you should be eating per meal.
- “Food Prep!” Quick food is typically processed. Focus on eating “closer to the ground” or less processed food. Think: PROTEIN AND PRODUCE, then add a starch (whole grains, potatoes, brown rice, or piece of fruit, peas, beans or corn) to your snack or meal. Pick a day or evening to plan out your meals for the week. Do your grocery shopping. Pre-cook your protein and clean/chop up your produce for the week.
- Have an “off plan meal” and two “off plan snacks” each week. Consider this: if you’re eating 3 meals and two snacks everyday seven days per week, then you’re experiencing 35 feedings per week. With the two indulging snacks and one off plan meal, you’re having 32 feedings that are ON POINT. Nice work! Keep your off plan meal to one plate of whatever you want. If you want lasagna, have it! Keep your off plan snacks at around 300 calories. Track these indulgences on your online food tracker as a checkpoint to make sure that you truly want to spend your calories on that particular meal. You’ll find some are worth it and some are not.
- Try a new healthy recipe every week. Try a different variety of fruit and/or vegetable or a new dip or salad dressing. Switch out your protein options. Variety is of utmost importance for adherence, so, mix it up. Even if you “think” you’re a repeater eater, listen up: humans enjoy variety in food. Don’t deprive yourself. We all possess relatively the same amount of discipline when it comes to nutrition-NOT MUCH! At ITC, we believe that you have many inner voices in your head. Psychologist Randy Kiel likens these voices to your “inner toddler”, your “inner teenager” and your “inner adult”. Your inner toddler is the one who “throws a tantrum” and eats everything in sight, including foods you don’t even like, just because your blood sugar is low or your mood is low. Your inner teenager is the rebel who understands the consequences of making poor food choices and overeating, but just doesn’t give a rip and does it anyway. Your inner adult is the rational one standing there with their hands on their shaking head wondering why you just sabotaged yourself. Your inner adult is also responsible for making all of the nutritious choices that nourish your body. Your inner adult speaks a lot louder when you follow all of the above rules, meaning your blood sugar is stable and you have nutritious options available.