This is a good article for my girl to write. She is my nutritionist and knows much more than I do about this subject and even has better discipline when it come to, hell, just about everything. So, without a do, here she is:
A little bit about myself:
I am 41 years old and my average weight ranges from 135-140. I am on the lean side and carry a good amount of muscle. Let’s rewind back to when I was younger. I didn’t always eat healthy although ever since I was about five I played sports so I considered myself to be athletic. Growing up I was into basketball and cross country and only weighed 110 at most. I ate pizza, pasta and all of the good fattening food that my mom cooked and never put on a pound.
Then in 1996, I went to college and well all hell broke loose. I was still into sports and played rugby and intramural basketball but did what, well most college students do… I drank every night and ended the night with a greasy pizza or pasta. I still thought that I could eat whatever I wanted and have my thin figure. Boy was I wrong. After finishing my freshman year, I put on not only the “freshman 15” but about 20 pounds more weighing in at 145. This is 145 of beer and fattening food, not muscle. Keep in mind, I am only 5’4 so the 35 pound increase was super noticeable. I came home from college that summer and immediately went to the gym but knew that working out was not enough. I started to cut out fast food and cut down (somewhat on the alcohol) and lost 20 of the 30 pounds I put on.
Fast forward now to when I graduated college which was back in 2000. I decided to not only do cardio at the gym, but I also got a personal trainer to get myself used to lifting weights. I knew now that eating whatever I wanted wasn’t doing a damn thing but making my pants tight and my stomach big lol. I kept up with lifting and cardio and then in 2009 I went through a traumatic experience which took me to the next level of fitness. Long story short, in March 2009 after leaving the gym, I pulled into my apartment parking lot and was choked, raped and kidnapped. I have no idea how I survived but knew that from that point on I was going to work my ass off in the gym every day to make sure that nothing like this would ever happen again.
For the next 3 years, I busted my ass in the gym every day, did cardio and lifted weights but most importantly I learned how to eat healthy. In November of 2012 I entered a local figure competition and took home two 1st place trophies and a 2nd place trophy. I could not believe that I actually got up on stage and did a show. I would never have been able to get on stage if I didn’t change how I was eating and didn’t work out like an animal.
Now let’s get into how exactly to eat healthy to achieve your goals.
Nutrition: The basics
Let’s face it, as you get older, your metabolism slows down and the days of eating pizza and wings every night has to come to an end. Unless of course you are willing to carry around excess weight and always feel uncomfortable. A healthy lifestyle has to be something you want to do, not something you think you have to do… The choice is yours. Before you set your New Year’s Resolution goal by joining the gym and eating healthy to lose weight, make sure you are ready to make some sacrifices because as I like to say, “No pain, no gain.”
By eating healthy, I don’t mean you should starve yourself and cut out all of your bad eating habits at once. I bet the majority of you won’t stick to it. A lot of people always bust my ass and ask me how I could eat healthy all of the time. They think that healthy food must taste like shit. Eating healthy doesn’t mean boiling a piece of chicken, throwing it on a plate and choking it down with water. There are a lot of options when it comes to eating healthy. Here are a few of the choices you have when it comes to eating clean (healthy) proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
- Chicken Breast
- Lean ground turkey (93% or better)
- Lean ground beef (90% or better)
- Fish (salmon, tuna, tilapia)
- Brown rice
- Steel cut oats (oatmeal)
- Ezekiel bread or whole wheat bread
- Sweet potatoes
- Olive Oil
- Natural Almonds
Now of course I didn’t list everything but I wanted to give you a good idea of what the basics are. The best thing to do when transitioning to a clean, healthy lifestyle is to experiment with foods. For example, when I make chicken, I don’t just boil it or throw it in frying pan and eat it plain. I use all kinds of spices because these will become your best friend. The best spices to use are by Mrs. Dash. They have all kinds of options and you can use them on just about everything. You could make your food as plain and bland as you want or as spicy and tasty as you want. It’s up to you, but the tastier you make it, the more you will want to eat it again. And repetition will become your best friend.
Another rule of a clean, healthy lifestyle is to make sure you are eating every 3-4 hours… and I don’t mean eating a huge ass plate of food at 8am and then another huge ass plate at 11am. First and foremost, you should eat breakfast because this what will jump start your metabolism for the day and get your body into fat burning mode. My breakfast consists of 1 whole egg and a half cup of egg beaters or egg whites (yes, from the carton) with veggies if you like and a ½ cup (dry) of oatmeal (I make mine with cinnamon, Splenda and Olivio spray butter and water.
Let me rewind to when I said to eat every 3-4 hours. You just had breakfast at 8am, now it’s maybe 11:30 or noon and you are feeling hungry. This is when you have a small snack; maybe an apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter or a handful of nuts. In other words, you are going to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with small snacks in between. Like I said, don’t gorge yourself until you feel like you are going to explode because that completely defeats the purpose. You always want to keep your metabolism going because this is what burns fat.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner should consist of the food groups I mentioned earlier (protein, carbs and fat).
Meal prep is exactly what it sounds like… Prepping your meals ahead of time so you don’t get lazy and stop at Burger King on your way home for a Whopper. I mean just think about it, the fast food menus now show you the calories in the food on the menu… Do you want to eat a 1500 calorie whopper and feel like shit the next day or eat 1500 calories for an entire day consisting of breakfast, lunch, dinner and your snacks? Kind of a no brainer, right?
Let’s get back to meal prep, the best thing to do and the easiest thing to do, is make your meals ahead of time so the urge to eat bad isn’t there (or not as much). Every Sunday I make meals for me and my man… You could go to any store, Wal-mart, Target or wherever you prefer, and get containers that are split into 3 sections. When I make our lunches for the week, we have chicken, sweet potato or rice and then a veggie (leafy greans are the best: broccoli, green beans, spinach). I will get into measuring meals a bit later because you first have to get used to having a refrigerator full of food in plastic containers. Especially for those of you just starting out. I don’t want to scare you away and tell you to buy a scale, measure all of your food because that might make you less likely to even try this lifestyle. For now, let’s focus on how to eat nutritious foods and then worry about how to measure the food. But remember, when you are prepping you aren’t going to eat a whole pound of chicken for lunch. Trial and error at first is your best option. And it’s the only way to figure out what works for you.
Rest When Cycling
Now that I gave you some of the basics about eating healthy, I want to talk to you about resting. Personally, I can’t tell you that there should be certain rest days when lifting. In fact, to be perfectly honest, my man and I hate rest days. But we know that we need to take one when our bodies tells us to. A lot of people have different ideas about resting. Some say you should work out for 3 days and then rest for 1 day or workout for 5 days and then take 2 days off… We say it’s all bullshit. There is no rule on when you should rest. If we train really hard and the next day our bodies are really feeling it, then we know we need to rest. But it’s up to the individual so there is no right or wrong time to rest.