Exercising came easy for me! Last year alone I worked with 100's of women who felt the same way. They could exercise and fall into that routine with a little effort but when it came to proper nutrition they struggled getting a grasp on something that would work for them. I was the EXACT same way. I was doing Insanity, not eating near enough, and definitely wasn't keeping it clean which was exactly what I needed to be doing. I love to host clean eating challenges because I know there are so many others like myself who love a little direction and meal plan samples. So here is a recap of what works for me if you have missed one of my challenges recently.
I tried several systems for learning how to eat clean and proper portions, I read numerous blogs so I will share what worked for ME in hopes that you can pick up some tips and I can save you time. Don't laugh when I tell you I literally PRAYED for a simple solution because my body desperately needed a change. A few months after I made some dietary changes and attempted to dive into clean eating I attended an event where the company announced the release of the 21 Day Fix. I hate to product drop but if I am going to be 100% honest this was the game changer for me. NO GUESS WORK. It came with a solid list of foods, listed from most beneficial to least. It comes with portion control containers so you don't have to count calories, weigh food, or take a shot in the dark ... lets face it America has crazy large portions. It literally maps out WHAT to eat, HOW MUCH to eat, and WHEN to eat (I didn't realize how awesome you could feel if you eat the right foods at the right time)
If you follow proper portions it will help you stay on track and you will be less likely to indulge. I have learned how to eyeball my portions by following multiple rounds of the Fix. It has became a lifestyle for me. SIMPLE. I call it my nutrition for dummies because that is EXACTLY what I needed.
I swear by drinking a large glass of warm lemon water to kick off your day. This was one of my favorite tips I learned a few years ago. Lemon water acts as a natural detox and it also jumpstarts your metabolism. Making sure its warm or room tempurature is the key here. What works for me is finishing the whole glass before I eat breakfast for the day.
PREP- Can I say game changer again? Ha, I don't mean to sound repetetive but it is hard for me to pick the one thing that makes all the difference. Thankfully most of these all play hand in hand. Prepping on Sundays is what works best for our family. I do a simple meal layout for the week, I shop, then come home and chop all my fruits and veggies. Portion out some PB, Hummus, and mixes nuts so I always have snacks on hand. I store extra nuts and easy grab and go snacks in my car so I don't ever get stuck and end up HANGRY ... hangry Whitney is not a fun Whitney ;) Thirty One bags makes some fabulous lunch storage totes that make transporting easy and cute too. That never hurts.
Refillable water bottles. This was a must for me, more so because in AZ we have hard treated water. So I was gifted some bottles with a filter in them for Christmas. Plus add our scorching heat on top of that and it was necessary to always have a bottle on hand for myself and the kids. They even have great bottle you can infuse with fun things like strawberries, limes, cucumbers etc.
Let's talk tea! Green tea is a great addition to add to your beverage rotation through the day. When I was cutting out my coffee creamer habit green tea was my saviour. It took me time to aquire the taste in place of me beloved creamer but now I really do enjoy green tea.
Desserts ... Yep I am going there because I am the queen of dessert!!! It is my fave. I could eat it any time of the day but late at night after dinner I am notorious for being a snacker. This is where my mixed nuts with dried cranberries saved me and also all that fruit I chopped on Sunday. Plus it allows my kids to snack on something other than junk at night. So I set it out so that is our go to!!
BUY IN BULK - This plays a huge part in my prep on Sundays. I also cook up meat to have in containers portioned out to eat for lunches, add to salads, or having something to grab and go in a pinch. What I don't cook I portion and freeze to have on hand later through the week or month for dinner. We are also big on leftovers. Making more for dinner to have leftovers through the week. It is perfect for my kids lunches or my husband to take to work.
My Go To Principles. Some of these were hard to wrap my mind around but have made a big difference.
1. Eat SIX small meals a day. Say what? I only used to eat 3 times a day, IF THAT! Why was I so scared of calories?? Probably bc I chose the wrong ones!! Eating every two to three hours. My body has adjusted and I can tell what time it is based on when my body tells me to eat ;)
2. Breakfast. Everyday with in an hour of waking up. First you drink that lemon water then you can make and enjoy that breakfast with a great kick start to your metabolism. Oatmeal and/or eggs are a quick and nutritious option to start your day.
3. Combine lean proteins with complex carbs. Lean meats like chicken or fish are a great option and complex carbs can come from nuts, fruits, and veggies. My favorites are bananas, apples, oranges, and cucumbers. I also love oatmeal and sweet potatoes which are great complex carbs!!
4. Drink that water!! Half your body weight in ounces EACH DAY. MINIMUM. So if you are 150lbs, you need 75 oz of water each day. MINIMUM. Drinking water speeds up metabolism, keeps your body functions MOVING if you know what I mean, and if you don't drink enough your body will actually hold on to water (hence water weight and bloating)
5. FATS. Yes I said it...you need them!! I love Olive Oil and Avacado for great healthy fat.
6. Cooler on wheels. Cooler over the shoulder. I don't care which route you go but one of my favorite purchases was a cooler that I could pack and grab and go in the car. Again 31 has some great ones or six pack bags if you will be gone ALL DAY. I always throw in my shaker cup and shakeology so I have a go to when I am out longer than anticipated.
7. FIBER. Did you know that the skins of fruits and veggies harbor great fiber benefits. Eating the actual fruits and veggies over juice makes all the difference. Plus keeping up on the water intake. Keeping out body moving along properly has so many benefits.
8. PROPER PORTIONS. I can't express the importance. This makes all the difference if you are looking for real results and rather quickly. Proper portions + clean eating = beautiful mixture.
What should you avoid?
Complex carbs, artificial sugars, sugar (not from fruits), super sizing portions, preservatives, artificial flavoring, dye's, fat free, sugar free and dun dun dun alcohol, juices, and soda's ... aka empty calories.
I hope these tips help you get started on this journey. If you would like more information on how you can transform your life with clean eating and exercise please message me at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to here and create a free account and together we can help you reach your goals.