by Emma Hammond 0 comments
One of the reasons I became so interested in health, nutrition & fitness is because it is very individualized. There truly isn't a one size fits all approach & many different methods work for varying people. For me, that means getting to know a client's lifestyle, preferences & truly personal goals for which I can put them on the right road to achieve success. Yet for most people, it means a frustrating puzzle when all you want is simple "how to" reach the finish line.
That desire for the no thinking necessary - quick fix results is what leads us to jump from point A to Z, with none of the in between. In fitness you don't go from a couch dweller to marathon runner overnight. Nor do you throw a barbell on your back before you can squat with just your body weight. It's the same with nutrition! Unfortunately one of the most common issues I find when a client comes to me in search of fat loss or even just cleaning up their diet is wanting to skip the basics.
or whatever they've read online. I am no different & absolutely guilty of trying the good ole 30 challenge or trendy cut out X macronutrient method. Which is why I can say from personal experience, it never led to long term results or sustainable habits. Instead I usually felt confused & ultimately like a failure when I yet again couldn't comply.
This is why I now often sound like a broken record by asking are you doing X, Y & Z first...No? Then how are you going to stick to a more complicated & often restrictive dietary plan when you aren't applying the simple habits needed to set yourself up to succeed. I have been AMAZED to see results that have come from people sticking to the basics, creating habits they can follow & making small adjustments over time where needed.
If you are ready to lose that extra fat that has been bothering you, feel better daily & make it a sustainable lifestyle then this is for you. Before you jump on the next 30 day challenge, as yourself if you have these basics down:
Top 5 Basic Nutrition Must Haves:
1. DRINK WATER! I always feel silly saying this & clients give me the same "yes I know" response. But are you actually doing it daily? The amount needed can vary depending on activity levels but at the bare minimum, 64-72oz per day to start.
2. Eat LOTS of Vegetables: I also don't mean just corn, beans, potatoes & other starchy foods. Your meals should be comprised of lots of colorful vegetables, especially the leafy green variety. The vitamins & nutrients in vegetables fuel your body, not to mention fiber which helps keep you full. Make 1/2 your plate veggie filled & you will start to feel & SEE the difference.
3. Solid Protein with EVERY meal: This is one I see most frequently with women. Yes ladies I am looking at you! Cereal & fruit for breakfast, plain salads for lunch, more fruit, nuts, veggies, hummus, pasta & such throughout the day. That is not going to help you get the "lean" look I hear about. Include a substantial source of protein (ideally 20-30g) at all 3 meals plus some in a snack. That will keep you full, maintain muscle mass, bone density & much more.
4. Limit Processed Foods: I know this phrase is thrown around a ton so what do I mean? Frankly anything with ingredients on it. Your diet should be composed of proteins (meats, fish & eggs), vegetables (including starchy potatoes & winter squash), healthy fats (think avocado, nuts, seeds, olives, coconut & real butter) & fruit. No ingredient labels needed on these whole foods. Then include foods like dairy, legumes, beans & less processed grains as long as you tolerate them well. Simply limiting bagged cereals, breads, pastas, granola bars, candy, ice cream, fried foods, fast food & such will go a long way with your physique goals.
5. Skip the Liquid Calories: While alcohol is definitely on this list, other beverages such as coffee drinks, fruit juices & even smoothies can really do some caloric damage when working towards a deficit. I know orange juice is a fruit, but most are sugar filled. Eat the orange instead & actually enjoy the nutrients. Skip the mocha drink in favor of a coffee w/ steamed milk & a shake of cinnamon. Save the glass of wine until the weekends instead of it being a nightly habit. Again I am not saying cut out everything forever, but liquid calories should be a very small part of your daily intake if working towards fat loss.
Of course there are endless amount of do this not that tips I could throw your way. I have found this leads to feeling overwhelmed & discouraged to even know where to begin. Instead don't stress! Work on these, set small goals specific weekly goals & enjoy the process. Being healthy doesn't need to be an overly complicated numbers formula for most of us to achieve the base level of health we are all entitled to. Start here & see where it can take you!
Are you following most of these basic nutrition tips?
Whether you love spending hours in the kitchen or are more the take out type, after a long work day it's easy to fall prey to unhealthy habits when short on time & high on hunger. Even on my most motivated days, by 8pm I don't have the patience or focus to care about the nutritional quality of my meals when I can't think over a rumbling belly. That's why I have learned through many mishaps, that I can save myself the stress & regret by having quick fix staple meals on hand. By keeping a few quick fix items on hand I can easily have a healthy & delicious meal on the table in 20 minutes or less. Here are just a few of my go to foods that helps to keep my actions in line with my goals:Salmon, Broccoli & Sweet Potatoes: This is a super simple combo that is my go to when I need a dinner that is hands off cooking. I love being able to take it straight from the freezer to the oven so it cooks while I shower. By the time I have cleaned up it's ready for me to sit down & enjoy. This is also just the general idea of throwing together any protein + starch + vegetable together to make a well rounded meal. Make sure you have some source of healthy fat, whether it's the protein (beef/salmon), olive oil or other added quality ingredient.My quick fix cheats:- Frozen Salmon Filets: These need no defrosting & cook in around 20 minutes. We buy these from Whole Foods to make sure they are from a sustainable source.- Par-cooked Sweet Potatoes: I wash & put these in the microwave for 3-4 minutes before tossing in oven to cut the cook time but still get the roasted taste & texture.- Frozen Broccoli: Even if I run out of fresh produce, I always keep frozen on hand to round out a meal.My methods:1. Flip the stove on 450 degrees & grab a sheet tray plus aluminum foil for easy clean up.2. Wash sweet potato, stab with fork & wrap in wet paper towel to microwave while assembling the rest.3. Spray sheet tray with aluminum foil & place salmon & frozen broccoli on. Season as desired!4. Add sweet potato to tray & toss in the oven.5. Set the time & I am off to shower within 5 minutes of walking through the door. Breakfast for Dinner: As long as eggs are on hand I can never say "we have nothing to eat". Eggs are an egg-cellent healthy balanced option to avoid the drive through & enjoy a hot meal in minutes.A few egg ideas:Omelets: toss in veggies, herbs, cheese, leftover meat or whatever is on hand! I love a spinach, tomato & feta combination personally but anything will work. And yes, please keep the yolk!!Scramble: This = hi my name is Emma & I am hungry/lazy. Same general principal as an omelet but scrambled for a quicker preparation.Top it with an Egg: Throw an egg on any mix of vegetables & you have a delicious meal with a built in sauce. I love taking kale, leftover roasted sweet potato, goat cheese & topping it with an egg.Sides: I like have a multiple component meal so I often pair my omelet or scramble w/ fruit, bacon, toast or any other on hand items that sounds appealing. PS I keep frozen GF bread in the freezer to easily pull out one piece, toast & enjoy. No worries of it going bad or not having on hand for the occasional enjoyment. Rotisserie Chicken Dinner: This is just as easy to grab on the way home as take out! Not to mention cheaper, healthier & fits your goals. Win-win! This is another easy to pair combo with anything you have on hand.Here are a few different ways to use:Throw in the breakfast for dinner concept is an easy one.Meat + Veggies + Carbs = Heat up your frozen broccoli & steam in a bag brown rice for a super clean dinner made in 3 minutes. Other easy items: green beans, asparagus & sweet potatoes can all be quickly cooked up & pair well with a basic rotisserie chicken. I will add a clean ingredient bbq sauce or mustard for added flavor.Salad Topper - Have veggies in the fridge that need to be used up? I follow my standard not another boring salad formula which is:
- Base - favorite greens depending on texture preferences. Herbs are also a great addition here.
- Veggies - I like a mix of textures & temperatures such as crunchy carrots + sauteed squash
- Protein - chicken in this case but can be anything you enjoy. I love adding hard boiled eggs!
- Healthy Fats (or flavor add ins) - I usually stick to a serving or split that serving among a few different ingredients. Examples include: cheese, nuts, seeds & avocado.
- Starch - For a lunch salad I usually skip the added carbohydrates but do enjoy the addition for dinner. Try any bean, fruit or grain you enjoy & your body can digest well. I enjoy added apple or chickpeas or even hummus to my salads.
- Dressing - I stick to mostly vinaigrette's & love making them my own by keeping staple items in the pantry. Make it fun by using ingredients such as mustard, apple cider vinegar, garlic & more to the basic olive oil/vinegar mix. This takes 1 minute to whisk together but yes I do keep a few healthy pre-made dressings on hand.
- Add lemon juice, dijon mustard, jarred olives, salt & pepper for a flavorful bite.
- Another combo for the creamy fans can be using plain greek mustard or a tbsp of REAL mayo to the mix. Add in any crunchy veggies such as carrots, celery, onion or heck pickles. Whatever floats your boat!