Finding a balance in my diet has always been something I’ve struggled with. I use to brag to my friends about how I could basically eat whatever I want and somehow still stay in shape. High metabolism I called it. I LOVE eating anything deep fried, barbecued, sweet, or just plain bad for you. I’ve never liked eating vegetables either – if I ever had any in my old diet, it would be in my chipotle burrito or on a double bacon cheeseburger (I put lettuce on it, so that counts right?).
I also hated working out or going to the gym, so once my college cheerleading career came to an end, it became harder and harder to keep up my physique. That “high metabolism” I loved and bragged about so much was probably a combination of intense cheerleading practices 3-4 days a week and cheering for hours in the hot sun (I was in Miami, so it was HOT). It’s weird because cheerleading never seemed like a workout, but more so a fun activity I got to do with my friends. Never knew how much it kept me in shape. Once it ended, life after cheer hit me like a ton of bricks; I wasn’t feeling as energized as I usually do. A turning point for me was when someone asked me the last time I worked out or ate a healthy meal, and I honestly could not give them a straight answer because it had been so long. I knew it was time to make a change.
My boyfriend suggested that I come to his off season workouts. I managed to finesse my way out of them last off season, but this off season, it had gotten to a point where my energy levels and productivity were at an all-time low – and Lord knows what all that BBQ, fried foods, and sweets on a consistent basis was doing to my insides.
Introducing Dynamic Sports Training (Houston, Tx). This place is a gift. I had tried another training facility beforehand – a crossfit gym, and I absolutely crashed and burned. I hadn’t consistently worked out in almost 2 years and they expected me to keep up everyone else and eat like everyone else. Problem is, I am not like everyone else. Those people were AMAZING at crossfit, I was definitely NOT. Dynamic sports found a workout and a trainer that worked for ME, at my speed.
Introducing my trainer Chelsea. Literally a master at what she does. Working out has always been something I never found enjoyable, but training with her became a fun 60 minutes that I actually looked forward to. Did I just say that – that I looked forward to going to the gym? Yes, I did, because Chelsea and Dynamic sports didn’t just treat my body like everyone else’s body, they found what worked for me, at my own pace.
Here’s what works for me to stay in shape:
I’m not a doctor or dietician, but this is what I’ve done and the behaviors I practiced to get back into shape.
Exercise: When I trained at Dynamic Sports Training, I worked out 3 days a week. Now that I’m on my own, one thing I like to do are exercises that don’t really seem like exercises – like walking my dogs, or random dancing around the house (seriously, by the time I’m done, I’m sweating lol). Random activities that get your body moving really do make a huge difference.
I also try do structured workouts 2-3 days a week – emphasis on TRY because honestly there will be days I honestly don’t feel like it, and that’s okay. No road to any goal isperfect. Day 1 is usually lower body; Day 2 is upper body; Day 3 is a 2 mile run through the neighborhood. There are a ton of at-home workouts you can look up online or on YouTube. Most of my at home workouts I learned were from my trainer, Chelsea.
Listen to your body: The biggest mistake I know some people make is that they dive in head first into a diet or workout that is completely different than what you’re used to. 2 examples of this in my life was when I tried to go vegetarian, and when I tried to join a crossfit gym that was moving too fast for my pace. I’ve been eating mainly meat for as long as I can remember, so when I suddenly switched to a diet my body was not use to, it was a shock for my body. I was feeling sick every day, and it was coming to a point where I could barely hold food down because my body was craving the meats that it used to get. Now I’ve found a balance to not overload my body with JUST meat, and to ADD more vegetables, fruits, and other forms of healthy protein that aren’t meat related. When I tried to an intense crossfit after not working out in some time, my body was literally starting to break down. I would leave the gym miserable every day. That’s not how working out should feel. Find a workout that makes you feel empowered! I’m not saying crossfit is bad, it just didn’t work for ME. Crossfit works amazing for others, for me, not so much.
Diet: When coming up with a diet, I knew I didn’t want to necessarily cut out the foods I loved. My diet doesn’t focus on what I can eat, but more so when I can eat them and how much. I haven’t removed any food or method of cooking from diet. If I want French fries or chicken fried in oil, I can, and I WILL. Eating should be enjoyed, not just a bland process you need to do to stay healthy. So what I did was I “added more” to my diet and portioned appropriately. My diet before was probably 95% meat and poultry, 5% nonsense. Now, I eat a little of everything IN MODERATION. Divide the days of the week into 2 categories: Breakfast heavy and Dinner heavy. The term “heavy” refers to my heaviest calorie intake. Lunch is always a raw fruit or veggie lunch. Down below is a sample menu for each day
|Breakfast Heavy||Dinner Heavy|
|Breakfast||2 egg omelet- Spinach, sausage onions, peppers, tomatoes, goat cheese,
Breakfast potatoes (air fried/ oven – I deep fry them if I know I’ll take my 3 workout days seriously)
Bacon (Turkey or regular)
|Yogurt bowls (non-fat greek yogurt, favorite fruit, granola)|
|Lunch||Fruit Salad||Chopped vegetable salad with favorite fat free dressing or vinaigrette|
|Snack||Apple Cinnamon Granola||Nutrigrain bar|
|Dinner||Steamed or sautéed (with ghee butter) Salmon, cauliflower rice or zucchini spirals||BBQ Ribs, Caesar salad, whole grain dinner roll|
Another important aspect to my diet is what I drink. Soda every day is a big NO. A simple can of sprite has 33 grams of sugar in it. 4.2 grams = 1 teaspoon of sugar, so you do the math (about 7.9 teaspoons of sugar in ONE can – YIKES!) I only drink soda “socially” as in, it’s never on my grocery list or in my house, but if I go out to eat with friends or I’m at a party, I may have one if I feel like it. Limiting my alcohol intake also did wonders for my body as well. There will be times when you just need a glass of wine after a long day, or a mixed drink while you’re out for dinner, and that’s OKAY. What isn’t okay is making it a daily thing and over doing it.
- Drink LOTS of water.
- Fat free is good, but make sure you’re also checking your sugar intake. Juice can be fat free but have 35 g of sugar in it (or added sugar)
- Cook more. Eat out less.
- When you cook, you know exactly what’s going into your body. Eating out… not so much.
- Make sure your calorie intake matches your activity levels.
- If you’re super active, the more energy and calories your body needs; if you’re less active, try to limit unhealthy foods during your calorie intake.
- Listen to YOUR body.
- If a gym, a certain workout, or a certain diet isn’t making you feel 100%, then try a different avenue! Don’t try and force something that isn’t good for your body.
- Your body may be different than everyone else’s; what works for them may not work for you!
- Try not to focus on your weight
- I say this because being in shape and healthy is more than just what numbers say on a scale. Also, muscle is heavier than fat, so numbers can be tricky when looking for a goal weight. Instead, I focus on just an overall feeling and look of my body. That works for me, but if you want to be more weight goal oriented, then feel free!
- Work out with a friend
- Not only does it give you a great accountability buddy, but it also makes the workout more fun!
- Don’t expect a clear easy road to your goal
- There may be set backs, and that’s OKAY. As long as you never give up and persevere!
- Substitutions in your diet
- Instead of deep frying, try oven baked, or air fried. Instead of butter, try ghee butter. Instead of rice, try cauliflower rice from time to time
- Never starve yourself.
- If you’re hungry, GO EAT! Have a healthy snack in between meals to curb hunger. Starving yourself does WAY more harm than good.
- Meal Prep
- Planning out meals gives you a clear map of how to eat during the week. Sometimes when I head into the week without prepping, I tend to eat unhealthier (or eat fast food more) because I have nothing planned.
- It’s never too late or no action is too little to start with.
- Even little actions like choosing to use the stairs instead of an elevator, or maybe adding an apple to your breakfast are perfect starting points! Every great journey begins with the first step!
Hope this helps!
Best of Luck,
*this is not a sponsored post*