If you follow me on social media, the past few weeks you have probably noticed me reference a Nutrition Challenge at some point. You probably have also noticed there is a lot more pictures of clean food on my plate and a lot less pictures of the treats that I love so much. I’ve promised a blog and some more information about it a few times – so here is me delivering!
My husband Brenton and I eat well for the most part – as I preach so often, we track our intake 80% of the time, and fill that intake with clean, nutrient dense food 80% of the time. We are busy, prioritize fitness, and enjoy structure and eating well. However, we are also human and enjoy the occasional date night, nights out with friends, glass of alcohol, and sporadic trips to Andy’s (the best frozen custard, EVER.)
I have eaten Paleo for 2 years straight, cut weight numerous times, as well as done different month long “parameter” diets such as the Daniel Fast in the past. However, Brenton has done none of the above. He had never put parameters on his nutrition for a certain period of time. He is also the man that likes about 2 types of fruit (we may have not stretched it to 5), and chokes down vegetables just because I tell him he should. So, you can imagine my surprise when he came to me and said he wanted to “eat clean” for a certain period of time. He asked me to put together some guidelines and said he would execute what I thought that should look like. I told him I would lay out a plan that we would do for just under 30 days (from July 5th until he leaves for the CF Games on August 1st).
When creating the plan I took some things into consideration:
- We would still be very active between training, coaching, and working and I needed to make sure we stayed properly fueled in the process.
- Brenton has a history of injuries, many that leave him with some serious inflammation day to day and I believe it gets irritated even more by certain aspects of his diet
- Without a community doing it along side us, I knew it would be pretty challenging to stay the course
I took my knowledge of various ways of eating and developed these guidelines for our challenge which we have nicknamed “The Brenton-Get-Jacked Challenge”
- dairy (excluding eggs)
- processed food
- fried food
- added or artifical sugar
We made a few exceptions to this as we kept in plain oats and potatoes of any kind to keep carb intake where it needed to be. We also kept in whey protein supplements, and dextrose for intra-workout fuel. We would still be tracking and weighing our food as much as we could in order to make sure we didn’t have too much of a drop off in caloric intake.
Once we came up with this plan, we invited everyone we knew to join it on it with us. It was pretty awesome how many friends jumped on board and are doing this along with us now! We created a WhatsApp group and have been sharing recipes, questions, struggles, and progress pictures! Having the support of friends around you during something like this makes it a heck of a lot easier.
I coach nutrition daily. If you are one of my clients or have ever worked with me before you know this is not the way I coach, or my initial recommendation. Actually, I am very well known for coaching FLEXIBILITY with nutrition and encouraging that treats, sweets, and not so nutrient dense food here and there are actually good and encouraged for longevity, as it keeps you “sane” and satisfies those real life scenarios and social situations that we all enjoy so much. However, I do think it is really important to do a bit of “annual cleaning” and some kind of “challenge” like this one month out of the year – last August was the Daniel Fast for me. When deciding on a route – do your research! Do not do anything drastic like trying to eliminate one entire macronutrient group and be sure to keep an overall BALANCED nutrition no matter what your parameters are!
I encourage this method with most of my clients at some point and I think it is really important for a few reasons. First, it challenges you to a dose of mental toughness and shows you the discipline you are truly capable of when you commit to something. Second, it teaches you ALOT. It teaches you to read ingredients (you learn how many items sugar is actually added to), it teaches you how to get creative and how to think outside the box to build meals, it teaches you some new food you might like that you may have never tried before. When you are left to eat fruit and veggies in abundance, you often try new things to keep variety! And most importantly, it teaches you how to clean up your order at restaurants and make substitutions or better choices in social situations.
Health is also an obvious answer to “why”. So much of the food we eat on a day to day basis is damaging to our bodies, and doing a full nutritional clean up like this once a year can give our bodies a much needed rest and reset.
ONE WEEK IN:
The first week was very likely the hardest part (as it always is with a major adjustment like this). First, I had to make sure the house was stocked with everything we could have and that all the “elimination foods” were out of the house or just replaced with other items. We were eating a ton of rice and bread, so a lot of that needed to go and I needed to get creative with what we would have instead. The hardest part for both Brenton and I for sure was the sugar withdrawal that comes the first 3 days. It is actually pretty scary how awful your body feels coming “off” added or artificial sugar. We were both suffering from headaches, irritability, fatigue, and just overall yucky feeling – almost as if we had the flu. By day 4 however, that passed and we finally felt back to ourselves and feeling even better.
Physically, my performance has felt great and I feel like my aerobic capacity has increased which I know is a direct result of eliminating sugar. Inflammation has also decreased (as Brenton feels it has for him as well). I often suffer from an uncomfortable stomach and that has also seemed to subside eating this way.
Aesthetically we have noticed a big difference as well. I feel less inflamed visually and less puffy which I think was a result of water retention from the excess sugar I was intaking. We have both lost a bit of weight, but nothing significant as I do not want to wither away simply because I have changed up my nutrition parameters. Below are some Week 1 progress photos that we all have shared so you guys can see exactly what I am talking about!
I will write another piece toward the end of this challenge with final updated pictures!
If you have any questions, are looking for nutrition coaching, or want to get started on something like this and need more advice – send me over an email or visit my website at:
**Most of our daily meals are made easier by Trifecta Nutrition. We trust Trifecta for quality and care of our food 100%. If you have not checked them out, click HERE to take a closer look.
Dietary fat is one of the three macronutrients that make up our diet. It is an essential part of our nutrition, but can be pretty complex to understand. There are so many subgroups of “fat”, that we, as a society, have formed these stigmas or preconceived notions on what is “good” and what is “bad”.
I am sure you have heard that fat makes you fat, that eating too much fat increases cholesterol, and that the key to a low calorie diet is eliminating all dietary fat. While there is some underlying (very underlying) truth to these statements, when taken to the extreme they are without question – incorrect.
On the other hand, I am sure you have been fed some information explaining how eating an incredibly high fat but low carbohydrate diet is the key to losing fat and “becoming lean”. You were excited to hear this, and ran to the grocery store throwing every fatty meat, cheese, egg, avocados, oil and nut you could find in the store in your cart feeling like you finally cracked the nutrition code!
But, then you started asking more questions, doing more research, and you learned there was a bit more to it. You were told all fats weren’t created equal, that there was “good” and “bad”. Now, things got a bit more confusing when it came to fat. What about the different TYPES of fat?! Saturated/unsaturated? Monounsaturated? Polyunsaturated? Omegas?? What are those? How does cholesterol play into the whole thing? You were more confused than ever.
I understand how all of this information can be confusing, and trust me – there really is no simple explanation. However, I am writing this in hopes to clarify and simplify some facts about FAT and allow you a bit more understanding one piece at a time. There is a ton of information that would take up more than this single, short blog piece – but we will focus on one aspect of fat.
This piece will be focused on Omega Fatty Acids and how they come into play in our nutrition.
What does dietary fat do for us?
*note: the below benefits are from ALL fat – both saturated and unsaturated,
including Omega 3’s and 6’s so we would not want a diet that is absent of one particular type
– provides us with the most energy of any macro nutrient (9 calories per gram)
– primary energy source for babies and kids under 14 years old
– secondary energy source for adults
– helps make steroid hormones (sex hormones, courticosteroid hormones)
– forms cell membranes, primarily those of the brain and nervous system
– helps transport fat soluble vitamins (Vitamin A, D, E, K)
– provides us with TWO fatty acids we cannot make on our own: OMEGA 3 and OMEGA 6
We will discuss that last one a bit further.
OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS
Where can I find Omega 3’s
– marine life (I.e. salmon, sardines, mackerel, cod, algae)
– seeds (chia, flax, hemp)
– Brussel sprouts
– egg yolks from Omega-3 enriched hens (fed the above seeds)
– wild rice
There are three types of Omega 3’s:
1. Alphalinolenic (ALA)
2. Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)
3. Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)
ALA is a popular Omega 3 source amongst plant based eaters as its is mainly found in seeds such as chia, flax, and hemp, as well as walnuts. But, the latter two, DHA and EPA, are the fatty acids we are most concerned with in Omega 3 supplementation, as they are the most beneficial to our body. They are found primarily in marine sources like fish and algae. It is important to get direct forms of these two, as we are unable to covert ALA into DHA or EPA in our bodies.
Why are 3’s so important?
– dilate blood vessels
– prevent blood coagulation (clotting)
– lower inflammation
– decrease pain
– dilate airways
– keep cell membranes more fluid causing: improved brain function, increased insulin sensitivity, and improved joint health
– aid in fat transport
OMEGA 6 FATTY ACIDS
Where can I find Omega 6’s?
– most oils
– fried foods, snacks baked in oil (chips)
– most nuts (excluding walnuts)
– dairy (cheese, milk, butter)
– cookies, candy, pastries, muffins
– dark poultry, pork, beef
There are three types of Omega 3’s:
1. Linoleic Acid ( (LA)
2. Gamma-linolenic Acid (GLA)
3. Alpha-linolenic Acid (AA)
Why are 6’s so important?
– constricting blood vessels
– clotting blood
– increasing inflammation
– increasing pain
– constricting airways
Essentially, 6’s do the exact opposite of 3’s. These may seem like negative effects for the body, however we do need these processes to occur to be able to come back from injuries and recover from daily training sessions and workouts.
What does this all mean?
We need both Omega 6’s and 3’s – but in proper balance. It may be surprising that the proper balance does actually mean getting more 6’s than 3’s. However, in the current American diet, the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is about 10:1 and can even be unbalanced up to about 20:1. This ratio is so off because we are so often consuming an abundance of refined oils and processed foods in the modern world. Years ago, our ancestors had a more exemplary and much healthier ratio of about 2:1 and only up to about 8:1 on the higher end.
There are some simple steps you can take to ensure that you are able to get your 6 and 3 ratio back in proper balance:
1. Eat less industrial oils and processed foods (less corn and soybean oil).
2. Eat a more varied spectrum of plant and animal foods (fatty fish, wild game).
3. Consider supplementation (fish oil, or vegan algae oil).
The main approach we should have toward fat, as with nutrition as a whole, is balance. We should never look to eliminate, or negatively view one specific macronutrient (I.e. “sugar is worse than fat”). Nor, should we view the macronutrient subgroups that way (I.e “I am going to eat NO Omega 6’s because they are bad!). We want to incorporate a balanced ratio of macronutrients and their sub groups into our diet. When it comes to fat, eating a wide variety of natural, minimally processed sources, as well as supplementing with a reliable Omega 3 product, we can ensure we are getting proper quantities of dietary fat daily.
Personally I use Driven Nutrition for all of my supplement needs. Omega’s are no different. I trust their products and I know their Omega Drive formula has the highest quantity of DHA and EPA. You can get your own Driven Nutrition Omega Drive by clicking on this link!
Remember to register for our newsletter BY CLICKING HERE to stay up to date on new blog posts and important information from Honor Your Nutrition!
There are two types of people in the world – those that LOVE to grocery shop (me!) and those that DREAD it (most people). If you are part of the latter group, I have put together some strategies to make your life a bit easier. When embarking out on your grocery journey, it is important to find a store that is a “one-stop shop”. If you are going to multiple stores to do your grocery shopping, it is very likely you are going to get distracted, pick up one too many “snacks” that don’t need to be in your pantry, and likely overspend as well.
Have A Plan.
Walk into the grocery store confident and ready to get what you need. Grocery shopping (like most shopping) should be premeditated and purposeful. This will help prevent you from impulse buying junk food, or food that will later lead to over snacking back at the house. The best way to create a fail-proof plan is to make a list and then plan an attack route once inside the store. This strategy will keep you focused on the task at hand, and will serve for a much quicker and painless grocery trip.
Make A List, Check It Twice.
Take a lesson out of the big guy’s playbook here and be sure to make a list before leaving the house, then check it over. Write your list down… ON PAPER. Making the list on your phone and constantly referring back to it while in the store will often lead to distractions while there. I like to go as far as making a list by macronutrient category (I like organization). So, my list usually starts with fruits and vegetables, followed by meats/protein, followed by carbohydrate options, then added fats that I need, and finally finishing with boxed/canned pantry items, condiments, and snacks. Doing this will ensure that you have all of your bases covered. If you are planning on making a special dish this week, double check that you have included all of its ingredients. Organizing your list this way will help ensure you have plenty of options for the upcoming week’s meal prep and snack grabs, while also keeping you from getting distracted while actually in the store.
PRO-TIP: If you are shopping in a superstore (like Wal-Mart) that has other household items as well, those go at the END of your list. Get all of your food shopping out of the way before moving on to non-food items. This will prevent confusion and allow you to focus better while picking up groceries.
Have A Snack, Bring A Drink.
If you are an impulse grocery shopper (see something delicious on the shelf and grab it because you want to try it) this trick will help you. NEVER, I will repeat, NEVER go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Bad choices will be made, I promise. Make sure you have a meal or snack before leaving the house in order to stay focused on the task at hand. That task is grocery shopping for the week ahead, not your current empty stomach. In addition to that, it is smart to bring a bottle of water, some hot tea, or even your favorite coffee drink along with you. This will keep your taste buds and stomach occupied while you get in and get out of your grocery trip successfully.
Every grocery store is set up differently, so it is likely that you will get into your own routine based on your particular store of choice. However, most stores follow a similar flow. Start right in the front of the entrance in produce. Go through your list and collect the fruits and veggies that you have listed. Potatoes and avocados are included here, as well as additives/spices like onions and garlic. Next is usually the bakery section where you can pick up some English muffins, bread, or wraps. Following behind that is almost always the deli and meat/fish sections where you can get the items of that category that you included on your protein list. After that, head to the dairy section to pick up eggs, egg whites, yogurt, and any other dairy item you may have written down. Your list should be 85-90% checked off by now, all we have left are the finishing touches. Attack the frozen food section next. Some of my staple convenience items are found here such as frozen veggies for emergencies, or frozen fruit for smoothies. Finally, it is time to go down the isles. Here is where your plan and your list helps. It is easy to get distracted in the isles and end up camping out in the cookie or chips aisle. Don’t do that. Instead, go through the items you have left on your list and find them one by one in the isles (oatmeal, rice, granola bars, cereal, ketchup, canned items, frozen yogurt, etc) – get them in your cart and get out! Once this is complete, move on to household/non-food items if needed.
Repeat The Same Route.
If this worked well for you, repeat it. Every, single, time you are in the grocery store repeat this process. When you find a plan, a list, and a store route that was successful and painless, just continue to use it. We are creatures of habit and often find the most success and stability in routine. Grocery shopping is no different. Purposeful and goal driven grocery shopping is the best way to ensure you get in and get out painlessly while still stocking up on all the week’s essentials.
Don’t miss out on other blog posts like this one! Register for our newsletter today to stay up to date on new releases weekly. REGISTER NOW!
You can also view my nutrition plans at: https://www.honoryournutrition.com/
Do you hear the words “Meal Prep” and instantly cringe at the thought of all the time and effort that needs to be put into that task? Let’s be honest, those Instagram pictures of Tupperware perfectly lined up on the counter with every meal for the week specifically weighed out are beautiful, but a bit hard to execute without wasting a whole day! Well, I am here to offer some assistance and help you prep for the week ahead in a very efficient and realistic way.
Personally, I dislike the confines of a meal prep system where you put everything in specific containers for each meal and store them in your fridge. I don’t like being tied to a meal like that, and I love variety and flexibility. Also, I prepare food for both my boyfriend (190-195# active male) as well as myself (145-150# active female), so our meals are very different in size and we enjoy different things on a daily basis.
I found a prep system that works for me, and I am excited to share it with you as I feel it is simpler, more efficient, and easier to execute on a consistent basis than the “make everything and split it into beautiful even portions and eat the same meal every day for a week” approach.
Here we go!
Setup for Success!
BASIC SHOPPING LIST –
– two different proteins (one lean like chicken/turkey/shrimp, one fattier like steak/pork/salmon)
– two veggie options (one green, one non-green/of color)
– two starch options (rice, potatoes, quinoa, etc)
– two fruit options
– avocado, nut butter, nuts/seeds
– olive or coconut oil
HOW MUCH DO I NEED?! –
To decide how much of each item you would need, take the amount of protein you eat per meal and multiply it by 10 or 12 (2 meals per day for 5 or 6 days of the week). That is how much protein you would need to cook. If you are cooking for two people, you would obviously take that into account as well. For example, if you eat 4oz of protein at each meal, you would need a little over 2lbs (16oz) of protein – so about a pound of lean and a pound of fattier.
Vegetables are all dependent on how much you like to eat at each meal. The recommended serving size of vegetable is about 3oz (or 85g). So again, you would multiply that by 10-12 meals for the week. That would be about 30-36oz of vegetable between both your green and non-green options.
Starch is the option that would vary most, as this all depends on your daily carbohydrate intake. In my house, we go through a ridiculous number of carbohydrates. I eat around 250g per day while my boyfriend eats about 300g per day, so carbs are plentiful around here! I prefer potatoes as my lunch/dinner carb source while he could eat white rice until it is coming out of his ears. So, I find it easiest to buy the biggest box of Instant White Rice and a sack of sweet potatoes. Sometimes we don’t get through all of this in a week, but starches store very well and last longer than the above items.
My rule of thumb for fruit is one piece of fruit per day per person. If you are worried about your fruit going bad, choose options that would last well throughout the week like bananas, oranges, and apples.
My secret weapon of meal prep is 1) a good knife, 2) two cookie sheets, 3) aluminum foil. Get all of your groceries out, roll your sleeves up, and get ready to attack – this is going to be fast! Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Now Lets Cook!
My “go-to’s” are usually Brussels sprouts and bell peppers so I will refer to those two. But remember, you can use whatever is your favorite! I encourage you to rotate your veggies weekly and try new ones whenever possible. Let’s begin by cleaning and cutting your veggies how you would like them. I like to half my Brussels sprouts and cut my peppers into strips. Once this is done, I cover the cookie sheet with foil (you’ll thank me later for this one), spray it with olive oil, and sprawl the veggies out there. I then spray the veggies with the olive oil and season them with salt, pepper, and a garlic/onion powder blend (you can season however you would like!). Set these cookie sheets aside until your oven is at 450. Once it is, cook your veggies for 20 minutes, and then turn the oven to broil for the last 5 minutes to brown them just a bit!
**If you get frozen veggies (just make sure there is no other ingredient added to them), this same method of cooking will also work, just add 10 minutes to cooking time**
Cooking rice and potatoes is very different, yet both very simple. Let’s start with the rice. While your veggies are cooking, prepare the water. Once boiled, pour in the rice and let sit until soft.
When cooking potatoes, you have options. My favorite method is cubing sweet potatoes, spraying them with olive oil and throwing them in my Air Fryer for about 15 minutes! If you do not own one of those (get one!) you can easily throw them on another cookie sheet and stick that in the oven as well – they will cook for 20-25 minutes in the oven with the last 5 minutes on broil.
**PRO TIP: season sweet potatoes with paprika AND cinnamon for the most amazing flavor**
While your veggies are in the oven and your starch is in the works, get to your protein! Decide which method you want to use. My favorite method is an outdoor grill or a grill pan on the stove top. I don’t love protein oven baked, however, some people do. That is always an option as well. I would rather use my oven space for roasting vegetables and potatoes!
I recommend cutting protein up into cubes or strips. I like to do this for two reasons, 1) it makes cooking a lot quicker as smaller pieces of meat and fish will cook through faster, and 2) it gives you more options and variety when building meals later on! Once cut, you can season them however you would like and then they are ready for cooking. This is the piece of meal prep that will take the most attendance, so be sure everything else is in the works and under control before you start cooking your protein.
**PRO TIP: The crock-pot is also a great way to cook protein if you are able to start it ahead of time. You can put raw protein in the crock-pot with some great spices and leave it for a few hours. When you come back you will have a large amount of juicy, seasoned protein ready to eat!**
As you can tell, your entire meal prep time should take less than an hour if done right! Get as many things cooking and working at once and it will be quick and painless. This meal prep method usually takes me one hour from grocery bag to store in the fridge and I love it!
Invest in Tupperware that is big enough to store your prepped food in bulk. Six large containers are ideal (two for protein, two for veg, two for starch). This will keep things neat in your fridge and will allow building a meal to be really simple! I prefer this method over breaking up the food into specific meals as it allows for more variety in meals throughout the week and prevents you from becoming bored!
BUILDING MEALS –
Because all the hard work has been done already, you now have the building blocks to meals all ready to go in your fridge. Whether you need to pack a lunch for work, or are just coming home from a long day and don’t want to spend time cooking – you are ready! Simply take out your scale, pull out the components you want to use for your meal and measure out your portion appropriately! I love this kind of meal prep because although the components may be the same, I can create different dishes very quickly. Grab some tortillas and make tacos. Put your meat and veggies over potatoes and make poutine. You could even load some of the components upon a flatbread and make a quick pizza!
WHERE IS THE FAT? –
So far, we have covered protein and carbohydrates, but have not spoken much about fat. The good news is fat is not something that we really need to “prep”. Fat is the tag along macro that is found as add on’s and toppings. Obviously, there will be some fat found in the protein source you choose. Avocados and nut butters are a great enhancement to any meal. Cheese or ranch dressing are some other fatty add on’s that can make any basic meal delicious, as well as oils and dressings which can also help you achieve some added fat in your meal.
**PRO TIP: I LOVE to put some nut butter on my sweet potatoes, I surely recommend giving that a try. **
The above prep covers your “main meals”. But, it is a good idea to think ahead about snacks so that you are set with some great grab and go options. I like to keep fruit, RX Bars, Think Jerky, 100 Calorie Popcorn bags, Yasso Frozen Yogurt Bars, and Oh Yeah One protein bars stocked in my house. If I have some extra time after my meal prep, I also like to measure out raisins and fruit into little baggies. Another great snack I have found is really easy to build ahead of time is cottage cheese with some strawberry or peach jam (I use the smallest size Tupperware for this and will make 3-4 at a time.
There are so many ways to meal prep. The key is to find the most successful one. REMEMBER, the most successful one will be the method in which you can find time to execute on a consistent basis. I have spent some time sharing with you the most successful method of meal prep for me, I hope it will work for you as well!
*PRO TIP: To eliminate almost ALL of the meal prep, there are services out there to help you. However, the ONLY service I use and trust is Trifecta Nutrition. Their “a la carte” menu provides so many different options of protein, (bison, elk, cod, shrimp, salmon, etc) vegetables, and starch that it is easy to build quality meals very quickly. If any kind of meal prep doesn’t work for you, click through to their website and check it out for yourself!
For more coaching tips and to learn more about the nutritional coaching services I offer, head over to my website at www.HonorYourNutrition.com!
One of the most frequent questions I find myself answering when coaching my nutrition clients is “How do I make this work when I travel?” or “In this situation I find myself running around and need to grab something quick, where should I go?. Although I always recommend cooking your own fresh food as much as possible, I am human, and I understand life gets busy and these situations are all too common. One of the biggest pros of following a Flexible Nutrition program is that when life gets in the way and food prep isn’t an option, we know what to do!
Now, my “Nutrition On The Road” is a whole different piece entirely, but I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of “chain” eateries that are “macro friendly”. My intentions of doing this is to be of some assistance when you are looking for a quick option on the go while staying within your daily macro nutrient goals. We live in a society where businesses are driven based on the “convenience” factor – because that is what the general public wants. But, now more than ever businesses are also realizing that health is a major issue and little by little the majority of institutions are trying to make strides to accommodate the growing “health conscious” populations. This takes a bit of effort on your part though. You must do your homework and learn about the places you eat at and the different options they offer.
I am hoping this piece turns into a series of pieces where I can continue to provide you with this kind of information for all different chain eateries. In this first one, I tried to give you a simple variety for all kinds of different foods. I stayed away from “regional” chains and focused more on those that are found in all parts of the country. The following 10 eateries are some of the more common options out there and there are plenty of food choices at all of these places that carry some sort of nutritional value and can be useful when trying to stay within a nutrition plan on the go.
For each institution listed, I have included their most recent nutrition facts or a nutrition calculator for their menu. I have also included a meal option that is relatively “macro friendly” meaning it carries a caloric and macronutrient content that is reasonable and suitable for most “medium sized” humans to intake in a single meal.
I am hoping to bring awareness that it is OUR responsibility, as grown adults, to understand what we are ordering and eating day to day. The majority of chain restaurants out there have their nutrition facts easily available with a simple Google search of “ *CHAIN NAME* Nutrition”. Before you place an order at one of these places, take a few minutes to educate yourself on what you are about to eat – or feed your family! To take it even one step further, you may sometimes find that the institution you have searched for does not actually list their nutrition facts. That should not be a problem, and you should not avoid that restaurant because of it. Instead, take a place of similar kind and use their nutrition facts – odds are the nutrition information will be close enough to not completely ruin your nutrition parameters for the day!
Okay, so you are going to hate me for starting the piece off like this, but I had to. Unless you have an ABUNDANCE of fat to use, you’re probably going to want to steer clear of Five Guys. They are famous for cooking all of their foods in peanut oil, which obviously makes their already fatty foods (burgers and fries), even higher in fat. If I had to make a suggestion here, it would be a “Bunless Little Hamburger and Little Fries”. That is probably their most reasonable meal choice and it runs at a macro cost of 24p/72c/40f. My biggest issue with 5 Guys is that they don’t really offer any better alternatives. There is no salad or veggie on the menu as a side, and even their “sandwiches” are very high in fat. Don’t get me wrong, I use to frequent that place, especially after “hard exercise times”. Until one day, I tried to actually make room for it… and realized there were much smarter choices I could be making!
Ice cream is one of those foods that gets a bad rap when, from a macro nutrient point of view is not that bad in moderation. Those last two words are key as often, ice cream is one of those foods that we overeat. I like Baskin Robbins because their ice cream is a bit more reasonable when it comes to fat than say, Ben and Jerrys or Cold Stone. If you go into Baskin Robbins and ask for a Small (2.5 oz) with one topping such as sprinkles or oreo cookie crumbles, you are looking at a macro count of about 15-25g of carbs and 5-10g of fat. Even a Large (4 oz) isn’t incredibly awful at a count of about 28-35g carbs and 14-20g of fat. Each specific flavor has their own macro nutrient profile but you can surely find one that fits your ice cream craving, as long as you agree to consume it in moderation!
BWW can be a pretty stressful place if you are weighing and measuring intake. I am here to help! It does not have to be stressful and there are some hidden gems on the menu that will help you through your experience there. Now, keep in mind that you wont be able to pig out on wings and fries like you may have experienced in the past. But if you are taking your nutrition seriously, you likely already understand that. My go to when I am in BWW are the Grilled Chicken Buffalitos – they are grilled chicken tacos that run 19p/18c/10f. This leaves room for a sauce of my choice to put on them, as well as a side order of Buffalo Chips or French Fries that will be around 40c/15f. Anther option could be something like a large grilled chicken salad (no dressing) and an order of SNACK size Teriyaki Traditional Wings (43p/12c/19f).
As a north east girl, Chick Fil A was only available during those exciting road trips down to the southern states during road games (that didn’t fall on Sunday’s of course). So, it always holds a special place of excitement in my heart as it was a treat. Even though I had been in Virginia for two years, Texas, and now Missouri where it is readily available – it is still a place I need to stop in every once in a while out of pure joy. Chick Fil A has recently made some strides to include healthier options into their menu. I like this. Of course, there are always HORRIBLE choices you could make here. But there are some decent ones as well. A Grilled Chicken Sandwich (pictured below) sits at 30p/40c/5f, while a 12-piece Grilled Nuggets sits at 34p/6c/5f. If you are okay with having a wrap while eating here, their Grilled Chicken Cool Wrap sits at 36p/30c/13f. Those numbers really aren’t bad, however the side items is usually where the trouble can start. You can make better choices in sides by opting for the Hearty Breast of Chicken Soup (12p/18c/3f – Medium size), or their new Superfood Side (4p/23c/8f – Large size). Try and avoid breakfast at Chick Fil A, almost every option is a “macro waste”!
Chili’s is actually a favorite “on the go” of mine and a place where, if you know how to navigate the menu correctly, can give you a pretty big meal for your “macro buck”. There are actually a bunch of options I could list here, but I will go with my traditional go to. When you first sit down here, they will bring out complimentary chips and salsa. Although the temptation is real, it would be wise to not touch these as chips are some of the most macro-wasting food out there. We all know how awful human self control is when it comes to something like chips, and tortilla chips are literally just a waste of fats and carbs. Instead, I always order either a side salad (4p/10c/3f) or a cup of Southwest Chicken soup (4p/10c/5f) to start while the rest of the table is munching on chips. For my meal, my usual here is a “Make it a Combo” option which allows you to choose two proteins and a side of your choice. I like to go with the Margarita Grilled Chicken and Seared Shrimp (44p/10c/7f) with a side of either Steamed Broccoli (3p/8c/0f), Asparagus & Tomatoes (4p/12c/1.5f), or their Citrus Chile Rice (3p/27c/1.5f) if I need more carbs. There are plenty of other choices on their menu that can make solid meals – just do a bit of research before!
Chipotle is one that people ALWAYS ask me about. It is kind of silly to me, because it is probably the most convenient place to “track macros” at. If you click on the link above, you will see that you literally just click on what you have chosen to put into your burrito or bowl, and boom, it adds all the components up and gives you the complete nutrition facts. I think it will be a bit eye opening as to what is actually in the different components of your meal – I know that after discovering their nutrition calculator, my order has changed a bit from what it use to be. I always get questions about how accurate I think this actually is, meaning “how do I know they’re putting that exact amount of rice in my bowl”. The answer is that we really don’t, but the calculation will be close enough to trust that you are not incredibly off on your numbers. Remember that when eating food you haven’t prepared yourself there is always a level of estimation and that is okay! Needless to say, Chipotle is for sure a “favorite spot” for me, and one I always seek out.
I love breakfast food. If I had to eat nothing but breakfast for the rest of my life I actually would not be mad, at all. Any kind of breakfast works for me… dishes I make myself, eating breakfast out at a diner, even chain restaurants are fine with me for breakfast. To be perfectly honest, I would much rather a local, mom and pop diner any day over Denny’s – but when that isn’t possible, this will do. Their food is actually not loaded with fat as most of their counterparts are (like IHOP) and their menu choices are very simple. You have some options here, which allows for a lot of flexibility depending on your personal macro intake. One option is to take a look at their “build your own grand slam” section and piece together a breakfast that works well with you. If that takes too much work, they have a menu section called “Fit Fare” which I usually choose from. It is pre- assembled breakfasts at reasonable macro costs – like their “Fit Slam” (24p/54c/10f), or their “Fit Fare Omelette” (32p/59c/16f). While doing research for this piece, I came across their “Fit Fare Banana Pecan Pancake Breakfast” which runs at 29p/134c/13f. Seems outrageous, buuuuut would make an amazing post workout meal on a refeed day (or regular day for all of you large male humans)!
When I put it out there about writing this piece and asked what people would like me to include, I had a great deal of “pizza” responses. I feel you guys. I, myself, have a pizza problem. That problem is the fact that I either want NO pizza, or an ENTIRE pizza to myself. I refer to it as “pizza for one” (see below). Most times, this takes strategic macro planning and blocking out enough of my daily intake to be able to include a pizza for one. But, if I feel the urge, I make it happen. My go to at Domino’s is usually a 10’ Gluten Free Crust topped with Light Cheese, Grilled Chicken, Spinach, Red Peppers, and Onions (pictured below). This comes at a macro cost of 24p/90c/30f for the ENTIRE PIE, #pizzaforone ! From looking at that you could imagine what the rest of my day looks like. Lots of chicken, egg whites, and veggies. However, on days I am craving pizza – it is worth the sacrifice. Now, obviously I referred to Domino’s because it gives a calculator that I love. You can add whatever toppings you want, cheese level, size, ect. When you are out at a gourmet pizza place, or a non-chain place (that is amazingly delicious), I still recommend using this calculator. It will allow you to estimate as closely as possible. Remember that the calculator gives you readings BY THE SLICE. So, if you are like me and #pizzaforone or bust, you would have to multiply its results by 6 (or 8 for larger pies) to get macros for the whole pie.
I always get really excited when I have the opportunity to go to Outback. It is my favorite chain steakhouse and a place that is really easy to order a filling and delicious macro friendly dish. As a company they are pretty health conscious, and their website is a reflection of that. Their site even has an “under 600 calories” tab which will focus your attention to the quality choices right away. You can easily start your meal off with a side salad (5p/12c/6f) or a cup of Chicken Tortilla Soup (9p/13c/9f). As far as steaks, their Outback Center Cut Sirloin 6oz. (38c/7f) or their Victoria’s Filet Mignon (40p/9f) would be my reccomendations. If you are not a steak eater and would rather white meat, their Grilled Chicken on the Barbie (5oz) with Seasonal Mixed Vegetables (35p/28c/13f) is a quality option. On their nutrition listings for side dishes, they include all of the toppings (such as butter and brown sugar on the sweet potato) so I usually just order a sweet potato with no toppings and log it as 200g (typical size of a potato). They do offer other vegetable sides that are a great choice as well.
It seems incredibly necessary that I open this paragraph by making one thing clear before you continue to read on. I am not going to spend time in this description discussing “macro friendly coffee drinks” – I get that question all the time, and it is ALWAYS a face palm moment for me. Coffee is made to be consumed one way – BLACK… black and strong (thats still one way). I refuse to acknowledge all of these foo foo drinks that everyone takes up time ordering at Starbucks. Drinks that are all basically desserts or coffee flavored milk. If your coffee has “too many calories”, you are not drinking coffee, you are drinking dessert. For more on that topic, you can read this gem “THE SKINNY LATTE TREND” …and stop asking me for “macro-friendly” coffee suggestions. Drink COFFEE, plain, black, and strong. Now, to the food. Starbucks has MY FAVORITE on the go item which is their Turkey Bacon Breakfast Sandwich (13p/28c/6f). I am also a huge fan of their Roasted Turkey Sandwhich (45p/48c/12f) for lunch. My favorite “treats” from them are the Cookie Dough Cake Pop (23c/9f) or the Petite Vanilla Scone (18c/4.5f).
Friday’s is one of those very common “I am traveling and I want something quick and reliable” out of your element places. Although the temptation is high in here to just throw your hands up and think you don’t have a good option around – that is not the case. Their Turkey Burger (31p/48c/22f) is a decent option and you even have the choice of “making it green” which would mean without the bun. They do have some fancy Naan bread sandwhiches in both Shrimp and Mahi Mahi that are 32p/55c/15f. Interestingly enough, their Bruschetta Chicken Pasta (half order) comes out to 21p/47c.25f an is PLENTY of food for a meal with a side salad! The side dishes is where you would most likely run into an issue as both their french fries and sweet potato fries carry a count of 50c/20f. I recommend always going with a side salad instead.
To view my website and the other services I offer, visit www.HonorYourNutrition.com or you can email me at email@example.com !
I thought I would put together this weekly overview to show you all how I manage my day food-wise. This is a pretty typical week for me right now. For some perspective – I am currently 4 weeks out of the USAW National Championships. As of now, I am weightlifting primarily where my sessions usually last about two hours. Four to five days a week, I will incorporate some kind of conditioning piece in there with an aerobic focus (20-30 minute workouts at 150-160 bpm heart rate). I get up at 4:20 am a few times a week to coach the 5:00 am and 6:00 am classes and I have learned how to adjust my schedule accordingly so I am not incredibly hungry on those days. I do have the luxury of going home at some point almost everyday to make lunch, and pack meals with me for the rest of the day – as I currently am on a plan where I work to have a meal every 3 hours. What you will not see in my log is my daily supplement intake. I use TEN Performance supplements and take RECOVERY and PME every morning as well as HCE and BCAA’s in my daily water, with RPM before bed at night. In addition to that, I take a multivitamin as well as a probiotic daily. I aim for 1 gallon of water per day, and 8 full hours of sleep at night.
Currently, my caloric intake is fairly low (for me) at only around 1900 kCal per day with an untracked meal during the week that typically brings my calories up to about 2800-3000 on that day. This time last year I was training for Crossfit Regionals, and then eventually the Crossfit Games, and my caloric intake was up to about 2600 kCal per day. I do work well off an intuitive eating method, and if I am more or less hungry on some days I will eat accordingly. I have no scenario coming up where I would need to cut weight or make weight. I am lifting in the 69kg lifter at Nationals and naturally walk between 66kg-68kg so I am eating for performance and maintenance right now. I am keeping my foods as clean as possible in order to enhance recovery, reduce inflammation, and get the most out of my training these last few weeks before Nationals. After nationals, I will do this again and it is very likely you will see a bit more ice cream, cookies, and less quality foods incorporated into my week. But for now, its full focus ahead to being the best me on that platform in a few weeks!
My basic intentions of writing this piece is to allow you to understand that although our nutrition often has a specific plan, life happens. It is okay to work your plan around a different daily schedule, or to incorporate an untracked meal during the week. I also wanted to give some insight into what my foods look like daily. I eat a ton of Trifecta Nutrition protein, as it is quick and easy. I try to work in a variety of fruits and veggies. I do not eliminate gluten, nor dairy, but I try to limit them as much as possible. I am a creature of habit – and often repeat meals day to day simply because I like them.
MONDAY – April 17th
Monday is always one of my busier days of the week. I am up at 4:25 am to coach. Before leaving the house, I make a bulletproof latte in my Magic Bullet using MCT oil, protein powder, and coffee (you will see this as an almost daily routine in my food log). I coach until 7:00 am, and then start warming up to train around 7:30 am. In addition to being up early, it is a higher volume training day – lots of lifts and heavy! My session usually goes until about 10:00 am where I head home to eat breakfast (Meal 2), work on emails from nutrition clients, and get any daily errands done that I need to. I ate Meal 3 at home, just before leaving for a chiro visit, then headed to the gym to get a conditioning workout in with the 3:30 pm class. I had Meal 4 on the gym floor, right before coaching Barbell Club from 5:00-7:00pm, then headed home for dinner (Meal 5). After cleaning up, taking a shower, and answering some emails, I was off to bed (early because I coach at 5:00 am again tomorrow!) with my pre-bed snack of popcorn and some tea.
Food Log by the Numbers:
MEAL 1: 14p/20c/10f
MEAL 2: 29p/47c/15f
MEAL 3: 33p/46c/6f
MEAL 4: 18p/30c/5f
MEAL 5: 30p/19c/12f
SNACK 6: 4p/23c/2f
TOTALS: 139 Protein, 206 Carbs, 57 Fat (32g Fiber, 48g Sugar) 1893 Calories
TUESDAY – April 18th
Tuesday is a lighter day in terms of responsibilities and training. I did coach 5:00 and 6:00 am classes, but then headed back home to lay down, relax, and watch SportsCenter before getting up to have Meal 2 and answer some emails. Tuesday is a lighter day when it comes to training volume, and I do not coach in the evening – so I knew I would train later on. My day was pretty much just chores, errands, and emails until I headed to workout at around 4:00 pm. I ate Meal 3 at home, and whipped up Meal 4 (which was an AMAZING homemade acai bowl – MY FAVORITE!) right before walking out the door. When I was done training, I had a text waiting from my amazing boyfriend that he wanted to take me out to a movie. Our favorite theatre is one that serves dinner to you in incredible recliners while you watch the movie (seriously the best thing ever invented). So, my Meal 5 was a restaurant meal. Majority of their menu is fried food, burgers and pizza. I knew I wanted to stay on track with my numbers so I ordered a simple grilled chicken salad with dressing on the side – a safe bet almost anywhere! When we got home, I had a pre-bed snack of some Halo Top!
Food Log by the Numbers:
MEAL 1: 16p/23c/7f
MEAL 2: 25p/35c/13f
MEAL 3: 33p/59c/14f
MEAL 4: 21p/46c/9f
MEAL 5: 28p/18c/7f
SNACK 6: 12p/30c/6f
TOTALS: 135 Protein, 211 Carbs, 56 Fat (34g Fiber, 86g Sugar) 1888 Calories
WEDNESDAY – April 19th
I got to sleep in today, so I was able to catch up on some much needed recovery hours! I got up around 9:00 am which means I technically skipped Meal 1 and my day started with Meal 2 at around 10:00 am. It is totally fine when this happens as I end up just having larger meals throughout the day and usually means a bit bigger of a pre-bed snack (I am very okay with that!). My workout happened from about 11:00-1:00pm where I then headed home for Meal 3 at around 2:00 pm and some client emails until I had to head back to the gym to coach at 5:00 pm. On my way to coach, I had Meal 4 and then had dinner (Meal 5) when I got home. My pre-bed snack, Meal 6 was an amazing one (as promised) and included an Enlightened Ice Cream Bar and a serving of Reese’s Puffs cereal! I LOVE CEREAL!!!
Food Log by the Numbers:
MEAL 1: SLEEP!
MEAL 2: 27p/39c/18f
MEAL 3: 34p/65c/17f
MEAL 4: 32p/50c/6f
MEAL 5: 28p/13c/16f
SNACK 6: 11p/40c/7f
TOTALS: 132 Protein, 207 Carbs, 64 Fat (33g Fiber, 105g Sugar) 1932 Calories
THURSDAY – April 20th
Today started at 4:25 am where I headed in to coach 5:00 am, 6:00 am, 9:00 am, and Noon class. I didn’t make my protein latte this morning as I was out of coffee (incredibly tragic), so instead I stopped for coffee on the way to the gym and added two tubs of creamer to it. I did a 30 minute recovery workout after the 6:00 pm class but waited until normal feeding time to have Meal 2 as I wasn’t very hungry yet. I had Meal 2 after I coached at 10:00 am which consisted of a protein bar on the way to my weekly chiro appointment. After coaching noon class, I headed home for lunch (Meal 3) around 1:30-2:00 pm, and then worked on emails and nutrition programming for a few hours. After a few hours of solid work, I worked up an appetite and was counting down the minutes until my planned meal time of 4:30 where I had Meal 4. I worked on dinner for Brenton (a Beefy Mac & Cheese!) and I was pretty hungry in the process. I checked my food log and realized I had quite a bit of food left and really only one meal to go. So, I went had a snack around 6:30 pm. When he got home we had dinner – Meal 5 – around 8:00 pm. Pre-bed snack was my favorite popcorn while watching the LeBron be a man.
Food Log by the Numbers:
MEAL 1: 0p/3f/10c
MEAL 2: 21p/17c/9f
MEAL 3: 31p/53c/20f
MEAL 4: 42p/62c/7f/
MEAL 5: 32p/22c/5f
SNACK 6: 4p/23c/2f
TOTALS: 139 Protein, 212 Carbs, 55 Fat (30g Fiber, 54g Sugar) 1899 Calories
FRIDAY – April 21st
Friday is my favorite training day because it is HEAVY SINGLE FRIDAY! This training session is also one of my longer ones as I take my time. I planned on meeting my training partner at a nearby gym that has kilo plates at 9:00 am to start our session. So I got up around 7:30 am and had breakfast, or Meal 1 around 8:00 am. I planned on just bumping my normal meal times back an hour – however, my training session went longer than expected as we got started later, so I ended up not eating Meal 2 until about 12:30 pm (usually 10:00 am). Because of this, I technically skipped what is usually my first lunch. Not a big deal at all, my schedule was just different today! After eating at home, I worked on some client programs, ran some errands, and headed to the gym to coach the 3:30 class. While they were hitting their workout, I had Meal 4 – which was a quick snack of a protein bar and Fitaid at about 4:00pm. I then worked out with the 4:30 pm class, coached my lifters a bit, and headed home for dinner or Meal 5. Often, my boyfriend and I eat out on a Friday night, however we will likely be out to eat tomorrow for a meal or two as we have a full day planned, so I was fine with dinner at home tonight. Pre-bed snack was one of my favorites – Halo Top mixed with cottage cheese!
Food Log by the Numbers:
MEAL 1: 25p/31c/16f
MEAL 2: 35p/57c/14f
MEAL 3: N/A
MEAL 4: 22p/34c/7f
MEAL 5: 28p/38c/15f
SNACK 6: 19p/48c/9f
TOTALS: 132 Protein, 210 Carbs, 60 Fat (37g Fiber, 68g Sugar) 1908 Calories
SATURDAY – April 22nd
Today I was up early (for a weekend) as I was headed to train and hangout in Joplin, MO – about an our away from home – at Midwestern Built’s new gym. They are one of my awesome sponsors, and the brand that supplies my Honor Your Gifts apparel line. My boyfriend and I were shooting to be there for 11:00 am, so I got up and made breakfast – Meal 2 – by 10:00 am. Almost always, Meal 1 is skipped on weekends as I sleep right though it! By about 1:00 pm, I was mid squat sets with about an hour of exercise ahead and no lunch in sight. I grabbed an RX Bar and got back to squatting – it served as Meal 3 and was good enough to hold me over until lunch! I was hanging out with a handful of athletes training for Crossfit Regionals, so naturally I got tempted into some high intensity workouts with them. I hit two different conditioning pieces, something I haven’t done since putting weightlifting first this season. I felt great, but knew it was more volume than I was use to and I was going to be HUNGRRRYYY later (and sore tomorrow!). Lunch, or Meal 4, happened between 3:30 and 4:00 pm as soon as we were done training. It was Chipotle and an ice cold TravelAID, provided by the awesome MWB staff. I easily tracked it using the Chipotle Nutrition Calculator. We headed to the hotel to shower and rest a bit until the big cookout we had planned. We stopped at the grocery store and picked up some snacks to hold us over until then. I grabbed 6oz of blackberries and a non-fat yogurt as a small snack. We headed to the cookout around 6:00 pm and sat down for an AMAZING dinner around 7:30. I used this meal as my untracked meal of the week. I try and do this once per week both for mental sanity and to keep metabolism strong. It works well for me, and I find it helps to keep me on track the rest of the week. I didn’t go overboard (okay, maybe a little when the desserts came out), but I surely ate more than the macros I had left for the day. I stopped when I was full (or VERY full, oops) and felt just fine. The homemade desserts were SO worth it after the long day of training.
Food Log by the Numbers:
MEAL 1: SLEEP!
MEAL 2: 26p/37c/13f
MEAL 3: 12p/23c/8f
MEAL 4: 36p/47c/11f
MEAL 5: UNTRACKED MEAL
TOTALS: UNKNOWN, probably around 2800-3000 Calories
SUNDAY – April 23rd
Sunday mornings are slow and calm, and I love that. I don’t usually get my day started until I start getting ready for church which usually happens at 10:45 am. When I got up and started getting ready, I had my bulletproof latte. I didn’t have my first real meal – Meal 3 – until I got home around 12:30 pm. I went food shopping for the week (where I had a snack when I got in!), finished up new client programs, did some errands around the house and then had Meal 4 at around 4:00 pm. I then headed out with my boyfriend as we did his food shopping for the week, and went to a few other stores. When we got back to his house, I helped him cook meals for the week and then we both sat down to dinner – Meal 5 – at around 8:00 pm. Pre-bed snack was pretty much immediately after that, as I tasted my homemade Peanut Butter Energy Balls that I made for the first time tonight as per Brenton’s request. THEY DID NOT DISAPPOINT!
Food Log by the Numbers:
MEAL 1: SLEEP!
MEAL 2: 5p/5c/6f
MEAL 3: 25p/64c/17f
MEAL 4: 37p/37c/13f
MEAL 5: 32p/23c/9f
TOTALS: 119 Protein, 185 Carbs, 60 Fat (35g Fiber, 65g Sugar) 1756 Calories *my carbs (and overall intake) were a bit lower today which I don’t totally mind as it was a complete rest day, and the day following my high intake (untracked meal).
This is my quick yet purposeful edition of “Mythbusters”. I felt this was important to address this flexible style of eating often comes with a lot of criticism and negative connotation. As of recent, there are so many athletes, coaches, and everyday people following this idea of “IIFYM” or “Flexible Dieting”. If you are one of my clients or athletes, you know that as a company, Honor Your Nutrition NEVER refers to our coaching style as “IIFYM” (if it fits your macros) nor do we use the word “dieting”. In my personal opinion, IIFYM refers to the idea that it is okay to eat junk food, little to no greens and vegetables, as well as processed food in copious amounts as long as it “fits your numbers”. This is something I strongly disagree with as a coach of nutrition and proper fueling practices. I also try and avoid the word dieting at all costs. The word “diet” often carries a negative connotation. It is something that many people view as a restrictive idea, a struggle, and a sacrifice. I want my clients and athletes to be comfortable with their system of nutrition and fueling and I want them to be able to make educated, responsible choices while still achieving balance in their lives and not feeling incredibly restricted.
My intentions in this short piece are to address the 5 most common myths that I often hear about Flexible Nutrition. To ensure you that true coaching of Flexible Nutrition does not include an “IIFYM” approach, and to hopefully encourage someone who has shied away from this method of nutrition to give it a try!
1. Flexible Nutrition is so innovative and brand new!
Although we all like to think that when we discover something was when it came to fruition, that is often not true. Flexible Nutrition is a system of monitoring amounts of macronutrient (protein, carbohydrates, & fats) intake for an individual – specific to their lifestyle, age, activity level, and goals. THIS IS NOTHING NEW! It has been around for years in the bodybuilding world (and the world in general – Weight Watchers is a very successful plan that follows FN ideology!), and then slowly made its way over to performance sports like powerlifting and weightlifting. In the past year, the buzz word “macros” in reference to Flexible Nutrition, has nearly taken over the CrossFit/functional fitness world. However, the Zone diet was actually designed along the lines of a similar concept and was meant to be executed in a similar fashion. I find it amusing when I hear individuals talk about Flexible Nutrition or “counting macros” like it is this incredible new discovery. Yes, it has gained a good deal of momentum and popularity in our fitness circle recently – and I am really happy about that because I think it is a system that can be properly utilized by everyone. However, it is important to understand that this concept is nothing new! It has been around since the beginning of nutrition education and is the very basis on which most successful nutrition plans work.
2. It is too time-consuming for me to weigh and measure food.
Often, I hear from people that they want to learn more about Flexible Nutrition but don’t want to worry about weighing and measuring food because it is too time-consuming and too much of an intricate. I get it. The concept of having to track, count, weigh, and measure may seem like it takes up extra time and energy if you are not familiar with it. However, if you 1) already prep your meals, 2) carry around your phone, and 3) are serious about your nutrition as a means to properly fuel your body and help you reach your goals – then it really is not that time-consuming. The things in life that you prioritize and make time for will be the things you will be successful at. It is a matter of deciding if this is important enough to you. It takes little extra energy to place a plate on a scale before loading it up, or to read a nutrition label on those “protein bars” you eat every day! Not every single gram of everything needs to be weighed and measured. But, with this system of tracking intake comes an awareness that is invaluable. You don’t have to be perfect, but the general education that comes from starting to understand how much of each macronutrient goes into your body daily can allow you to make some serious changes in your nutrition and your training. Like the old saying goes – if it is important to you, you will find a way, if not you will find an excuse!
3. Flexible Nutrition only works for high-level athletes or “genetically gifted” individuals.
This myth is often one that I hear whenever I post a picture consuming something that is a “treat”, or a “20% food”. (At HYN, we refer to 20% food as treats that we incorporate into our nutrition plan 20% of the time, ensuring that the other 80% are micronutrient dense foods.) I can’t even count the number of times I have heard “you can only eat *insert 20% food here* because you are an athlete/young/have good genetics”. This could not be further from the truth. As has been stated, the pictures most people see (of my ice cream bowls or amazing pizza-for-one nights) are 20% of what my daily diet looks like (#5 will elaborate even more on that). But, like I always explain, #ChickenPicturesAreBoring – no one gets amused by seeing nightly pictures of my incredibly exciting chicken breasts and asparagus, so those plates get posted less often. On that note, this system really does work for everyone. That is the essence of this style of nutrition – it is FLEXIBLE. It can be tweaked and molded for anyone, of any age, with any history, and any training schedule or future goals. I have had successful clients in all different demographics, and success looks and feels different to everyone. No, I do not make “treats” off limits to anyone, nor do I ever give a list of “restricted foods”. Instead, I teach my clients and athletes the correct amounts of each macronutrient they should be consuming and why – according to their personal situation. I view it as my responsibility as a coach to educate them on how to occasionally fit fun foods or special cravings into their life without feeling guilty about it or derailing their goals. We should all learn to enjoy life and food while not losing sight of our ultimate goals and aspirations… that is being flexible!
4. All “macro counters” eat the same way.
To group “macro counters” in one huge category is like using the word “human” to describe someone. Following a Flexible Nutrition plan simply means that you are tracking intake and trying to meet a specific number of protein, carbohydrates, and fats per day. It does not, in any way, describe what your diet is actually consisting of. Some of my clients are paleo, some are vegetarians, some vegans. I have clients that eat like an 8-year-old on an unsupervised grocery trip (yes, I work hard on helping them change that), and I have clients that consume less than 40g of sugar daily. I have a handful of clients with dietary limitations for health reasons and others for limitations due to personal reasons. I have diabetics, pregnant women, and celiac clients among many others. Flexible Nutrition is not a cookie-cutter system. You cannot simply tell someone “I follow Flexible Nutrition” and have them understand what your daily nutrition is made up of. That is the underlying beauty of this system. It can truly be molded to work for anyone and can be embraced by people who all have different beliefs and needs when it comes to what they put in their bodies! No-one should be ostracized for what or how they eat and I love coaching this system that is all-inclusive and gives people a common platform to jump off from!
5. Flexible Nutrition encourages a diet filled with low-quality foods.
I know this was the myth you were all waiting for. Save the best for last right?! I know, I know, I confused the WHOLE world when I wrote an article entitled “How Donuts Gave Me Abs…” and everyone is up in arms that Krissy Cagney is running a nutrition based company called “Doughnuts & Deadlifts” – because that promotes a poor message when it comes to nutrition, right?! Well… not really. If anyone has spent more than a minute paying attention to look past the blog titles or company names – and actually spoke to me, or her, about the topic – it would be understood. Flexible Nutrition is not a system based on “how many donuts, Oreos, and cake can I eat in a day”. It is a system that very clearly outlines the appropriate intake needed by a person. It then allows them to eat responsibly and fill that intake however they would like. No food is off limits, but quality food is the priority. That statement cannot be argued. It is the same 80/20 rule that so many of us are already familiar with. I do not encourage that an individual fills their daily intake with low-quality food, but I also know it is not always necessary to completely remove it from your intake. By putting a “bad” label on foods, or using the term “cheat” when referring to nutrition, we are implying that a person is doing something wrong by consuming a certain food. That is referred to as “food shaming” which is a very real and serious issue that can lead to guilt, unhappiness, and poor relationships with food. Some individuals have struggled with this their entire lives, and others develop it later on in their life after trying to be restrictive for a certain period of time. Being able to live life and enjoy it’s great pleasures responsibly – like doughnuts, pizza, Oreos, and ice cream – is a lovely ability to have. We are able to keep our goals in line, while also being human and feeling a sense of “flexibility” in our nutrition habits.
If you are interested in reading more on the topic of Flexible Nutrition, are looking for a set of personalized macronutrient numbers, or some in-depth nutrition coaching, you can head over to my website at HONOR YOUR NUTRITION. For recipe ideas and tips follow @honoryournutrition and @ncapurso22 on Instagram.