I’m so happy that I’ve finally got my training game back. I’ve set fitness goals and I’m finally training 5 days a week CONSISTENTLY again. Even though I LOVE movement and fitness in general, I have to admit that I was in a slump of not training on a consistent basis for at least the last 3 years, except for 6 months in Thailand where I was training 1 to 2 times a day.
Now that I’m training regularly again it’s time to look at tackling another area of my life; my diet and eating habits. Diet is something I REALLY struggle with, I have a serious sugar addiction and I hate to cook (ironic considering I took a professional cooking course and worked in restaurants in the past). My lack of meal planning and preparation leads to me eating out at restaurants or grabbing fast and unhealthy snacks way too often, but if I’m going to drop some fat I’m going to have to get my eating on point, because diet is 80% of the fat loss game and only 20% is exercise (or so they say.)
SUGAR, THE FIRST GATEWAY DRUG
Because I’m in relatively decent shape people just assume that I’m also disciplined with my eating, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You’d never know that behind closed doors I’m a junk food junkie. That’s right a fitness enthusiast such as myself can easily polish off an entire box of cereal in one sitting, or eat an ENTIRE pizza to myself (yes I’ve done it many times and I’m not proud of that). I’ll continue to eat gummy bears long after my stomach is aching and during the holiday season eggnog for breakfast seems totally reasonable. With a diet like mine is it any wonder I can’t shed these last 7lbs I’ve been trying to ditch for the last couple of years?
My cravings and addictions are so strong that when I even think of no longer eating junk food I get sad, really sad, and anxious. I can actually feel a heaviness in my chest and a pit in my stomach, not unlike the feeling I get when saying goodbye to a loved one at the airport (the sad thing is, I’m not even exaggerating). Dr. Oz was not joking when he said sugar is as addictive as cocaine, he offers some tips here on how to help curb sugar cravings.
In an effort to accept the dietary changes I MUST make if I’m ever going to lose fat, I’ve decided to take it in baby steps. I can’t think about sticking to a diet for the rest of my life, otherwise I’ll get discouraged right off the bat, it just seems too impossible, and well……sugar. So I’m going to tackle this in weekly chunks instead, meal plan and groceries at the beginning of the week, take my week a day at a time, and then give myself tons of praise and encouragement to get through the next week. When I look at it from the standpoint of: It’s just a week, it feels much less daunting.
The next thing I was asking myself is, if I want to lose fat how many calories should I eat on a daily basis? There are many websites and apps out there that help you calculate roughly how many calories you should eat daily to lose fat, and for me, based on my age, height, weight and activity level it’s apparently around 1600 calories a day to lose about a pound a week. I’ve decided though, that eating healthy AND counting calories is too much too soon (for me anyway). For now I’m just going to concentrate on eating healthy, whole foods and that will be miracle enough, once that becomes easier, then I will look at adjusting calories if I still think it’s necessary. If you’re ready to jump in and you’ve figured out how many calories you need to eat daily to lose weight you can use the FitDay app to enter the food you eat to be sure you stay on track calorie wise.
LOSING WEIGHT VS LOSING FAT
Some people simply want to lose weight, they’d even cut off a limb just to reach their goal weight. I however want to lose FAT. Which means the numbers on the scale might not change but my bodyfat % and my body composition will change drastically if I drop fat. In my life I’ve been a “fat” 145lbs, where my thighs are more on the thick side, and my midsection is soft. I’ve also been a ripped 145lbs, with little fat and a lot of muscle definition. When I was 145lbs and ripped most people thought I was more like 120lbs. My main reason for wanting to lose fat is because I’m really getting focused with my calisthenic goals (achieving 10 consecutive pull ups, front lever, planche and free standing handstand) which will be easier to reach if I’m carrying less fat, can’t lie, I’d also like to look better even if it’s not my main focus. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have a six pack but we’ll see if it’s attainable with my 30 something year old metabolism. This ain’t like back in my 20’s, when I could live on a diet of gummy bears and gin, and as long as I still went to the gym my body remained tight and toned. So if I can get some definition in my abs WITHOUT going on a diet so restricted in calories that I feel like I’m starving all the time than great, but if eating healthy with a reasonable amount of calories isn’t enough to bring out my abs, then that’s cool too, aesthetics are not my primary reason for training and wanting to lose fat, but it can be a sweet by-product.
THE FRESH START 21 EATING PLAN
After looking at a bunch of healthy meal plans online I really liked the look of the 21 Day Fresh Start Cleanse. It’s a gluten free, whole food, vegan meal plan that includes daily smoothies. I was a little concerned if I’d get enough energy on this diet so I contacted a facilitator of the 21 Day Fresh Start Diet on Facebook and let her know I train 5 days a week with three of those days being heavy lifting, and I was recommended to add extra protein and more healthy fat (nuts, avocados, coconut) and to increase portion sizes to ensure I’m eating enough to sustain my training. I’ll probably add some fish at times, I’m also going to add protein powder to my smoothies. Ill also still have a cheat meal once a week. A cheat MEAL though, not an entire day of meal debauchery like I usually do when I’m cheating, and one other exception to deviating from the meal plan is when my bestie Jenny Jo saves me some of her home cooked, AMAZING, fresh, tasty, healthy, vegetarian meals that she makes for her VERY lucky family, but, outside of my cheat meal, and if Jenny wants to bring me some of her food, Ill be sticking with the Fresh Start 21 for the next month and see how that goes.
Below is an example of 1 day of meals with the Fresh start 21 eating plan. I encourage you to check out the website, it has other diet plans and if you’re into smoothies they have tons of great smoothie recipes.
HERE’S TO HEALTHY EATING! WISH ME LUCK!