What’s up? How ya feelin’? I usually just jump straight into these nutrition posts, BUT for today, it is worth mentioning that I now am the proud owner of an Apple watch. I take back everything I said about them being dumb. Honestly, I haven’t used it for any sort of communication purposes yet…you know, like texting and apparently you can answer phone calls. I just want to know what my heart rate is and how many steps I’m getting in on the reg. I also love that it talks to me and tells me how great I am doing throughout the day. And it’s a plus that my name is “Honey Badger” in my phone (long story, Daniel’s fault, that I’ll save for another day). But just this morning, it said “Good job Honey Badger! You are up and moving well today!” 

And when your watch gives you affirmation AND calls you “Honey Badger,” you just can’t go wrong. 

Ok, let’s talk about FOOD!

But before we get into it, here is a disclaimer (very similar to the past weeks):  I want to be clear. I am not a nutritionist. And more than that, I haven’t put in the grueling hours or practice to become a “dietitian” either. BUT I want to help people (and in the process, help myself) with nutrition! I am always learning. I’m at the gym coaching, training others, working out, or maybe even hanging out every morning and every evening. It’s fun. But I also have a couple of hours in the middle of the day, most days to read and try and learn a thing or two. This of course comes after I make sure I’ve had food, and the kitchen is clean, and laundry is folded and done. It’s a tough life, but I guess someone has to do it! 

Last week, we talked about WHAT to eat.  This week, let’s talk about HOW MUCH. 

We could make this really complicated. And truthfully, it can be. We are all pretty different and complicated if you get down to it. But let’s talk basics.

Last week, we talked about the first two sentences in the “Fitness in 100 Words” from Greg Glassman: “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.”

For some people, this is pretty basic. But for others, they may be like “WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? Support exercise, but not body fat???”

First of all, we need to take into consideration that we are all different – different lifestyles, goals, exercise routines, and body makeups. This means that if we want to perfect this, we’re all going to be eating different amounts. 

In a nutshell, the food you should be eating should be looked at as FUEL. It’s there to help your body to GO! Ya know, do cool things in and out of the gym. If you don’t eat the right foods, or enough, you’re not properly fueling your body in the best way. 

So What is Considered Enough?:

  • Think about eating a balanced plate for every meal. So, we’re talking about 1/4 of your plate, or the size of your palm, being made up of a lean protein(about 3-5 oz depending on how big you are). Another quarter of your plate, or about a palm size) should be made up of a starchy veggie (like rice, oatmeal, or potatoes) or maybe even a little fruit. Feel free to throw some good fat on there too, usually about a thumb size. This could look like nuts, seeds, or avocado. The rest of your plate – maybe even roughly half of it 🙂 should be made up of veggies. The more vegetables, the better (more nutrients, harder to overeat them, and less calories per volume). 
  • For the average person, do the above ^^ three to four times a day.
  • Weighing and measuring is key! HOWEVER, I’m not saying everyone has to go out and buy a scale and start tracking (although this is beneficial in numerous ways). This doesn’t have to be complicated. Weighing and measuring for you may look like “eyeballing” to get your plate looking like the example I gave above. 
    • Something like the Zone Diet is a great way to figure out portion sizes. It requires weighing and measuring. 
    • Don’t overcomplicate macronutrients (your carbs, proteins, and fat). It shouldn’t be a crazy math game. I’m a firm believer in breaking down what I’m eating and getting in a certain percentage of my total calories from these macronutrients daily. BUT, we need to make sure we are staying balanced, proportioning our calories throughout the day, and eating real, whole foods, instead of eating “whatever fits our macros.”
    • When it comes to weighing and measuring, the more time you put into it, and the more detailed you are (even if it’s just for a short amount of time to establish some habits and get an eye for what you’re eating), the better your results are going to be. Think accuracy and precision. 

Here are Some Tips to Keep us Eating Enough: 

  • Pay attention to what you are eating, while you are eating it. Slow down. (Have you ever been in the car, talking on your phone, and eating a bag of popcorn? Oh, ok, cool, me neither 🙂 JK. When I overeat, it’s usually because I am not focused 100% on what I’m doing. Think about what you’re eating, be grateful for it, and give it the time it deserves).
  • Don’t go back for seconds. (When you fill your plate with food, go ahead and fill that plate with the right amount. You shouldn’t have to go back for seconds if you do this right.
  • Have snacks planned out during the day based around your meals. (Don’t give in to unplanned snack time. Usually this happens because we are bored, or we are letting our emotions get the best of us). 
  • Stay hydrated. (Don’t get hunger and thirst confused. Both are signs of your body wanting nourishment. If you recently ate, yet you still want more, try drinking some water. Dehydration can trick us into thinking we are hungry).
  • Keep healthy foods in your house, instead of junk food. (when we eat crap foods, filled with sugar and ingredients we cannot pronounce, a hormone response goes off, and suddenly we want even more! Have you ever been there? Keeping healthy snacks in the house – think lots of veggies, other low glycemic carbs, lean protein, and a little bit of fruit- will help you stay on track and moe satisfied than oreos, cheetos, etc.will. When we eat crap, our body is like WUTTTTT? Give me more!
  • Make a plan to write down everything you’re eating. Or track it in an app like My Fitness Pal. Look at what you’re eating and how much, and then think about how you are feeling. This will give you a guide to adjust off of. 

Overall, the more time you take to LEARN your body by feeding it good quality, whole foods, with as few ingredients as possible, the better you will get at listening to your body and eating the perfect amount for you. Just like any relationship, the more time you put into it, the more you’re going to get out of it. The better you treat it, the more it will talk to you and let you know what you can do to make it better. And the good news is, you have your whole life ahead of you to experiment and try new things. If you try to add more good foods to your diet for a couple of weeks and you just feel like you are overeating, then cool. Maybe you can adjust something in there. Or maybe you just can’t consistently hang in your workouts like you used to when you were eating more food. Maybe you need to add a little bit of good, low glycemic carbohydrates into the middle of your day. Experiment with it. Find what helps you feel good and full of energy, but not wanting more and more. 

If you still have questions, don’t be scared to ask a coach, or someone else knowledgeable – someone who KNOWS YOU, your activity level, lifestyle, and some other factors, to help figure out how much you should be taking in. 

As always, let me know if you have questions or want to keep this conversation going!