I love wholesome food. No surprise. There's something about food that is made from natural ingredients that I love so much. I love veggies and fruit and eat them all day long but I know that I can never fully nourish my body without having other sources of vitamins and minerals such as healthy fats, quality protein and complex carbs such as whole grains and beans. I love it when food has a simple ingredient list and I love it even more when I don't have to read an ingredient list. I create habits in my life that help me from overeating at meals as well as after training such as not going into meals starving and having a pre meal and/or post-training snack. I don't see my life as sticking to a diet but rather finding ways to make my eating simple and enjoyable so that I can enjoy other parts of my life. I eat every few hours and I never skimp on protein or fat. I don't give myself excuses to eat x-food just because I trained but at the same time, if I want something that I typically don't emphasize in my diet, I don't feel guilty or count calories when I am enjoying it. I don't give myself guidelines as to what I can and can not eat but rather what makes me feel the best, both in life and during training. I always find it helpful to look back on previous meals and snacks in order to identify why I may be hungrier than normal at the upcoming meal (especially throughout heavy training) and I make realistic changes in order to help me feel more satisfied for the next time. I continuously work on my diet but in a fun and non-obsessive way. I see every eating opportunity as a way to provide my body with fuel and I don't fear the foods that I put into my body. I know what works best for me and my training/health goals and I remove outside thoughts/influences because the only person who knows me the best, is myself.
Because I have NO rules in my diet, I never feel as if I am making "bad" choices with my food. Just like with my training, I know that it's all about consistency. One "off" day means nothing in the big picture. I would never tell myself that I am going to get out of shape by taking a day or two off from training (in one week) just like I won't gain weight with an occasional treat or two. I also know that eating foods with carbs or calories will not make me gain weight. I see carbs as fuel so I see no reason to avoid them. Fat will not make me gain weight and protein does not always equate to an increase in muscle mass. The body is a complex thing but very smart. It knows what it likes and will tell you what it needs. The question is...are you listening to your body?
For individuals who struggle with certain foods in the diet, the easy solution is often to remove the food completely. But rather than eliminating the food, we must portion control or replace and then find ways to consume those healthy, overly-consumed foods, in a controlled manner. For we should never remove food from the diet that is proved to be beneficial for training and for health.
As for the 4th of July, I ate no differently than I would on any other day. Even though I woke up without an alarm and didn't train, I couldn't think of a practical reason to worry about calories, carbs or fat. I enjoyed my food as I would on any other day and loved every bit of it! And, had a fabulous workout on Tues as I was properly well-fueled. :)
Thank you Marilyn for the best 4th of July meal. My vegetarian belly was super happy.
On the menu:
Homemade black bean burgers w/ jalapeno cheese (grass-fed burgers for everyone else)
Homemade purple potato salad