Eating Outside the Box
We’ve been conditioned to eat particular foods at certain times of the day. Cereal, pop tarts, donuts, muffins and sugary pastries for breakfast. Luckily with a more keen eye on nutrition, yogurt, granola, and eggs have hit mainstream now too. These are great! But I’m about to blow your mind – think, chicken and quinoa for breakfast! Eggs with veggies like broccoli and carrots. Beets! Chickpeas, lentils, sweet potatoes, cottage cheese, salmon. Nuts! I know, I’ve gone nuts!
I’m currently committed to a 28-day challenge with Team TOA. I’ve challenged them to ditch sugars, processed foods, fast food, white breads, and such.
My goal is to raise more awareness to what we are putting in our body. It’s easy as an athlete to be like, “I can eat whatever I want.” Sure you can, but in reality, it plays a major role in performance. Simply, you eat like shit, you perform like shit.
The secondary goal is to provide better, healthier ideas of WHAT to eat. I had an athlete once tell me she “ate great today”. I cheered and responded, tell me about it! Baked chicken nuggets, 1/2c of homemade macaroni and cheese, and a slice of whole wheat garlic bread. WHOA WHOA WHOA! I finally understood. It’s not that she didn’t WANT it, it’s that she didn’t know HOW to get it! (p.s. if you’re confused as to why this is not a “great” meal, please message me privately, you need a Coach!).
With so many diets, tips, nutrition and fitness gurus going viral, it’s hard to know what works or what is the “right” way. Eat 5 meals a day, no eat 3 meals a day, no, fast… Eat the same foods everyday, eat a variety of foods everyday, drink shakes… Whole 30, no paleo, no vegan, no keto… Pills, patches, teas, soaps, bracelets!
There is no ONE WAY FOR ALL. I know, that’s heartbreaking. But those are gimmicks, scams, fads. They are made to make money. I’m sorry! Sure they work for those who are committed and enjoy that particular lifestyle. But I promise you, it does not guarantee success for you!
We want simple solutions. We want someone to tell us straight up, EAT LIKE THIS… But it just doesn’t work like that.
The “simple solution” is healthy living – diet and exercise (diet as in putting healthy food in your body, not starving yourself, eliminating a valuable food group, or deprivation). You have to figure out what meal plan and what foods work for your body, mindset, personality type, or lifestyle and at what time they work.
BUT, with that, there’s still one premise: BALANCE. Okay two, PROPORTIONS. Maybe three, sugar is the key to failure… Okay, there are lots of other “premises”. Let’s just call them factors. Maybe the premise is if you eat like shit, you’re going to feel like shit.
Okay, a nutrition course was not my intent with this post… my intent is to get you eating outside of the box (the box being what and when you’ve been conditioned to eat). 8am, 12pm, 6pm… whatever it is, breakfast, lunch, dinner…etc etc.
Listen to your BODY not the clock. Self-regulation. Your body tells you when it’s hungry. If you’re not hungry at 6am or 8am, don’t force yourself to eat. There are exceptions to this BTW…like you’re getting ready to train or compete an endurance event. Then you gotta stuff it in. You need the calories! So don’t quote me on that! But my point is, listen to your body, not the clock. Sometimes I wake up starving at 6am and I nourish my body. Other days, I don’t need anything until after 10 or 11am. If I force myself to eat, I end up hungrier and eating more before lunch. In fact, I graze all day! On the other hand, don’t wait until you fall over fainting. We’re not talking about starvation, we’re talking about regulation. Get to know your body!
Next, Check NUTRITION not commercial. What I mean by this, just because TV tells us to eat Frosted Flakes for breakfast doesn’t mean you have to or that it's good for you. A lot of breakfast’y foods are crazy high in sugar and set you up for bad choices all day. Or leave you starving within 2 hours. They are quick hunger fixes. Simple carbs – SUGAR! What you want is PROTEIN. I said that in my big boy, weight lifting voice. PROTEIN!! (I’m flexing too).
“People who got 35 grams of protein at breakfast were less hungry throughout the day and saw favorable changes in the hormones and brain signals that control appetite.”
^ legit stats for ya!!
Protein is a building block of cells throughout the body. It is necessary for healthy skin, nails, muscles, cartilage, and blood. Protein helps to build and repair bodily tissues, and it is used to produce hormones and enzymes. When you eat protein for breakfast, you will feel more energized and ready to take on your day. You are also more likely to feel full longer, which can lead to healthier eating habits and possibly even weight loss! Bam!!
So now HOW… here are my tips to get self-regulated and check nutrition:
1 – Take 1-3 full days and eat only when you’re hungry. This is like a little test. Don’t eat at a certain time just because you’re conditioned to, eat when you’re hungry. Keep a little journal (and talk to me about it, I’d love to hear!) tracking your actual hunger. This will (hopefully) open your eyes to what your body actually needs. Side note, it takes time to fully figure yourself out so be patient.
2 – Eat outside the box!! While certain foods have become staples of our meals, there's no reason that you can't branch out. The key is to start your day by eating something from as many different food groups as possible, even if you don't choose traditional "breakfast" items. Ideally, that means choosing a combo of protein, carbohydrates, vegetables/fruit, and healthy fat so you'll feel satisfied until lunchtime. Like pictured above!!
This is another one of my favorites: Mexican egg salad made with chopped hard-boiled eggs, pico de gallo, mashed avocado, and black beans. Nom nom nom!! Add half a banana on the side!
Use Google or Pinterest to find easy recipes or ideas. And, experiment! It’s like practicing. And what do we always say? PRACTICE MAKES BETTER.
I'm no nutrition guru nor am I saying that this ^ is your path to success. I only know what works for me (and what I've seen work for my athletes).
I want to fall for the fads and gimmicks too but I always return to this:
HEALTHY DIET and EXERCISE. If you eat like shit, you're going to feel like shit. And thus, perform like shit.