You have heard me rant about my ongoing affair with fast food. You know that I am certainly not a nutritionist, but rather, a lover of all things salty and/or covered in chocolate (preferably and). We have talked about the problem, now its time to hammer out the solution.

Healthy lifestyle changes are not only desirable because they come with the hopeful expectation of a summer beach bod, but also because they leave you feeling energetic, accomplished, and you know…healthy. I have never finished off one of my binge eating sessions and thought: “wow I feel rejuvenated and could really go for a run right about now.” I have never concluded eating an entire pizza and followed up with, “I don’t even want to nap until the sun goes down” (because I do, I very much do). On the contrary, the days I have successfully eaten well, been to the gym, and avoided all my nagging temptations, I have felt a refreshing kind of accomplishment knowing that I treated my body with respect and love. Its time to see how much we can respect our body’s needs and how our body will go about thanking us for such a courteous decision.

Beginnings and New Beginnings

I have been meeting periodically with a personal trainer for about 5 months now. It all started in January, when I decided I needed to step up my gym game and commit to a more organized and calculated program. But I guess this certainly isn’t where it all started. Throughout University I made good use of my gym membership and made an effort to make it there. I started off in first year as a timid gym-goer who would shyly approach the elliptical and sweat it out listening to my customized workout playlist for an hour at a time. As I gained confidence in the gym environment (and noticed a lack of results materializing out of my stationary cardio) I gradually began exploring the grounds and hitting up the machines. My routines were scattered at best, I wouldn’t track my sets, reps, or weights and would refrain from venturing into the particularly busy areas of the gym. In short, my workout revolved more heavily around my social anxieties than my own success. Eventually I worked my way up to having a program that I would bring to the gym. I would track my sets, reps, and weights, I would focus on a certain muscle group during each session, and I would make my way into the weight room without fear of the potential meat-heads that awaited me.

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Left: March 2012                                         Right: February 2016

 

So here I was. It was January 2016, and I was standing in the office of my current coach Jon, preparing to be weighed, measured, photographed and sent on my way. And things were going great. Better than great. I stuck to my workouts without missing a day, I saw my body fat percentage drop with every assessment, and I noticed myself getting stronger. But each and every assessment I would come in and Jon would ask how I was doing and I would give him the same feedback: “workouts are going great, just have to crack down on my eating habits…”. Then came my most recent assessment, this June 0f 2016, I stepped on the scale and saw that I had gained just over 9 lb of muscle but my body fat % had plateaued. I came to the realization that I would get out of this what I put into it, and if I was putting in 50% I would receive the same results. I knew it was time to turn my eating habits around and see what putting in 100% really looked like.

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From left to right: March 2012, February 2014, February 2016

 

The Grocery Shop

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Stage one to a successful and refreshed eating plan is completed by surrounding yourself with both delicious and healthy foods, and by restocking a once bare fridge with a colourful array of possibility.

What’s In My Shopping Cart

Vegetables:
-Kale
-Spinach
-Sweet potatoes
-Broccoli
-Asparagus
-Corn
-A potted plant (jk this is an accessory not an edible)

Fruits:
-Bananas
-Strawberries
-Pineapple
-Green apples
-Raspberries

Protein:
-Eggs
-Cartons of egg whites
-Chicken breasts
-Tuna steaks
-Salmon
-Canned tuna
-Quinoa

Dairy:
-Cottage cheese
-1% milk
-Greek yogurt

Snacks:
-Unsalted almonds
-Granola
-Nut/fruit/seed mix
-Cliff bars (apparently not actually very healthy but still delicious)

Beverages:
-Almond milk
-Coconut water

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Stock your fridge! As you can see, on the top shelf of this glorious fridge are tupperware containers full of prepped food.

TIP: Cutting up your veggies and organizing your food into specific portions proves to be very helpful when you are always rushing to work like I am. Instead of saying f**k it and stopping off at a drive thru to prevent myself from being late, I can now grab one of my carefully prepped containers and be all set.

13382181_10154045846780255_354527192_nHere you see a meal I prepped for work.

  • Spinach and mixed green salad with mushrooms, carrots, cherry tomatoes
  • Beats garnished with horseradish
  • Marinated chicken breast
  • Corn

I always thought I was a hater of any meat that wasn’t processed or in a hot dog bun. I would take a bite out of a chicken breast and cringe at the dry taste. This was because I was sizzling my meats in nothing more than some oil, salt, and pepper and hoping for the best. Finally I decided to marinate these chicken breasts for a night and the result was moist (I know we all hate this word), juicy, flavourful, and delicious.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Cup Canola Oil
  • 3 Cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Oregeno
  • 2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Large pkg of chicken breasts

Instructions: Stir all the ingredients together and coat the chicken breasts. Place chicken breasts in ziplock bags and refrigerate for immediate use or freeze for later use.

Simple Eating Rules to Live By

Protein. Vegetables. Water.

These are the three words I keep coming back to when it comes to my lifestyle change. The first attempt I had at eating healthy required a food scale, tracking my macros, and keeping tabs on each and every piece of food that entered my mouth. This only led to me feeling overwhelmed and sure that I could not sustain this kind of discipline for long…and of course, went back to the drive thru and chip aisle in defeat. Keeping it simple is one of the most refreshing realizations I have had. Repeat after me: protein, vegetables, water. I have reintroduced simplicity and made every meal with these three words in mind.

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TIP: This cup is my new best friend. Grab yourself a reusable water bottle that you can bring with you around the house, out to work, on car rides, and to the gym and you will find yourself constantly hydrating. I may be running to the bathroom a few hundred times a day but being dehydrated causes some nasty symptoms like: dry skin, headaches, lightheadedness, tiredness, and even a moody demeanor. If you need to, be that guy at the gym who hauls in a jug that wouldn’t be out of place on a water cooler.

Keep It Simple

This week lets try to keep it simple and do the following to our best ability:

  • Prep meals ahead of time
  • Make sure meals mostly consist of lean protein & vegetables
  • Drink at least 2 liters of water a day
  • Avoid heavy carbs and foods high in sugar
  • When you are hit with a temptation, lets practice some discipline
  • No Mcds (I mean it)