So you say you want to change your ways…but you don’t know how?
You hear so many different “experts” spouting off completely opposite points of views when it comes to nutrition, fitness and habits. What is anyone to believe anymore?
Well, if you just go back to “basics”, you will reach all of your goals. Remember the acronym K.I.S.S.? KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID!! Not that I’m referring to anyone as “stupid” but if you keep doing what you’ve always done and keep getting the same results….then STOP IT!!
Common mishaps are skipped meals, over exercising or lack of movement, laziness, fast food habits, etc. So, in honor of getting ourselves on track, once and for all….here is a great plan devised by Steve Edwards (Beachbody fitness and nutrition blogger and fitness guru) that I think is the BOMB to getting back to basics. Read it and tell me what you think below!
**As a BONUS, I will be leading a PRIVATE group of individuals who want results and are willing to take on this very challenge. If this is YOU, please comment below with your email OR send ME and email to: http://firstname.lastname@example.org and title it: “8 Week Transition”. I will contact you and get you hooked up. Prizes awarded to the biggest achievers in this challenge…(hint, hint…you just have to follow the darn plan to get the results!)
The Easiest Way to Change Your Eating Habits
Inspired by Steve Edwards, Fitness Guru
99% of ―diet is cutting junk and eating real food.
Steve Edwards created ―The 8-Week Transition Diet is for those wanting to make a gradual transition. Healthy eating will become habit over time. So, let’s get started and make a gradual transition:
No junk. Eliminate junk food from your diet, for example, potato chips, candy, ice cream, cake, etc. You may be stricter if you’d like, but for Week 1, don’t be too hard on yourself. For many of you, this step alone will reap huge benefits.
Cheat Days: 2 (reward for a life well-lived)
Since no one’s perfect, you get 2 days to cheat. That’s right; 2 days where you can eat anything you want! Listen to your body. At first, it’ll probably tell you it wants whatever you’ve been denying it. However, over time, it’ll start to crave nutrients you’re deficient in. Learn to read your body’s subtleties. If you’re craving ice cream, you may be short on essential fatty acids. If you crave a hamburger, your diet may lack protein. This way, you can make better food substitutions. It’s a way of getting in tune with yourself that will benefit you for your entire lifetime.
*Weekly focus: Water. You should drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. Drinking a glass of water when you feel hunger pangs coming on will help stave off your hunger to some degree. Diet soda, juices and sugary sodas also fall into the junk category. Alcohol should be kept to a minimum. When you do drink, red wine is the alcohol of choice, with beer running second.
Each week’s rules are cumulative, so the “no junk” rule from Week 1 will apply until the end, as will each subsequent week’s rule. Remember that this is a learning process. It’s like you’re in school and the subject is your own body. Eat small, eat often. Eat four to six small meals a day. Try to keep each snack or meal balanced. Keep a 30 percent protein, 40 percent carbohydrate, and 30 percent fat scale in mind, though you don’t need to worry too much about it. Just realize that you need a bit from each macronutrient group. Eat based on what you’ll be doing for the next few hours (if you’re working out, eat a little more; sitting at a desk, eat a little less).
Cheat Days: 2
Weekly focus: Carbs are not the enemy. Your body needs them, just like it needs proteins and fats. The trick is to choose the right carbs. As a society, we eat too much refined sugar. Complex carbs, like whole-grain breads, whole-grain rice, sweet potatoes, and legumes are outstanding foods. Even fruits, which have simple carbohydrates wrapped in fiber, are very good for you. Try to avoid white rice and flours.
Eat some colorful, nutrient-dense food at every meal. Veggies are the most obvious example. You can eat a salad bowl overflowing with lettuce and veggies and you most likely won’t exceed 100 calories. By consuming veggies and fruits, you’ll keep your portions under control naturally. When it comes to live foods, the richer the colors, the fresher the products tend to be. Try to eat a
variety of colors in your diet. This simple and somewhat random act will help ensure that you’re covering your bases, nutrient-wise.
Cheat Days: 1
Weekly focus: Protein at every meal. Try to get some protein—meat, dairy products, nuts, seeds, or legumes—each time you eat (meals and snacks), especially when you’re working out hard, because you need to repair broken-down muscle tissue.
Cook at home. One of the best ways to control your eating is to prepare all your meals yourself. Eliminate all fast food (which should have been gone in Week 1) and most other restaurant food. You may still eat food from certain restaurants where you can be sure of the ingredients. But avoid all fast food chains, even ones that claim to be “healthy.” For example, next time you see one of those nutrition charts, check the sodium levels; most fast foods use ridiculously high amounts of salt. Avoiding fast food alone will often bring your body closer to homeostasis (its desired state of balance).
Cheat Days: 1
Weekly focus: Fat is essential. Fat is a vital part of your diet. What is not vital is a lot of saturated or Trans fats. Trans fats are mainly those that are artificial, and hopefully they’ve been eliminated from your diet by this point, since they’re generally only found in junk. Saturated fats are found in dairy products and meats, and you don’t need too much (2 servings of milk/5 – 7 ounces of protein per day). For cooking, try to use olive oil when possible. Also, the addition of either flaxseed or hempseed can have a pronounced effect on your health. These seeds are loaded with essential fatty acids (omegas 3 and 6). Be careful about that amount of fat. It is dense and has 9 calories per gram, as opposed to 4 for both carbs and protein. A tablespoon goes a long way!
Reduce starchy carbohydrates. Reduce your intake of rice, bread, potatoes, corn, and pasta. Starches are great energy food, but if you eat too many, they turn the tables and make you sluggish!
Cheat Days: 1
Weekly focus: Sugar is only beneficial after a hard workout. Your body doesn’t need processed sugar. But if you really enjoy it and can’t avoid letting some sneak into your daily diet, the 1-hour period after you exercise is the best time to indulge. During this window, your blood sugar is low, because you’ve used it up to finish your workout (assuming you pushed yourself), and sugar during this time will help you recover faster because it speeds into your system and initiates the recovery process. Adding a little protein, but not too much, will enhance your recovery even further. You should avoid fats during this immediate post-workout period, because of slow absorption—a good thing most of the time, just not during and immediately after working out.
If man makes it, don’t eat it. This is likely to be the hardest week of your diet. You want to eat only whole foods and eliminate all processed foods. This includes salad dressings, cereal, luncheon meats, cheese, dried fruits, anything with preservatives, and alcoholic beverages. What you can eat are whole foods such as fruit, raw or steamed vegetables, meat (sans any type of sauce), natural whole-grain rice, eggs, etc. Since your eating habits have been slowly changing, this shouldn’t be that big a shock to your system, but keeping in mind that you only have to do this for 7 days will make it easier. (Although each week’s rules are cumulative in the plan, Week 6 is more of a “cleanse” or “reset” week where you avoid all processed food; after Week 6, you can go back to the occasional processed food, but chances are you’ll take what you learned this week and tend to make healthier, smarter choices.)
Cheat Days: 1
The “cheat day” mentality isn’t a bad one. Rewards like decadent desserts, a night at the buffet, or drinking with friends are good for you as long as you keep them in perspective. These are rewards for a life well lived and you should be able to feel good about doing them. Plus, there’s some method to this madness as well, in that you still tend to crave nutrients you lack. So if you’re cutting down on the calories to lose weight, allowing yourself a cheat day will give your body a chance to take in what it needs.
Weekly focus: Nuts make great snacks. A handful of raw almonds or pistachios is a quick and easy snack that goes a long way (one handful only). Don’t be put off by the high fat count of nuts, because this means it takes fewer of them to satiate you. Nuts are loaded with important phytonutrients, as well as good fats, protein, and fiber.
Be yourself. No rules—just try and eat as healthy as you can and do it by feel. Trusting yourself might seem like a lot of responsibility, but by now you’ll be up to it. Learning to eat by feeling what your body needs is an important step in your transformation. Consider the way you’ve been eating over the last 6 weeks, but don’t worry about what you should and shouldn’t do. Just fuel yourself. The point is to take a mental break. Relax and allow yourself to eat in a way that feels normal. You may be surprised to find yourself craving something healthy instead of a candy bar or soda. You’ll be better at listening to your body because it will tell you what it needs to eat, as opposed to what you’re used to eating. Your body should feel somewhat transformed. Does it?
“Reward for a Life Well Lived” Days: 1
Weekly focus: If you’re so hungry at night that you can’t sleep, try a protein shake before bed. When it’s real, and not habitual, hunger means you lack nutrients your body needs to repair itself as you sleep. But protein at night, especially whey, will help the body repair damaged tissue and enhance the natural growth-hormone spike that you get while you sleep.
Eat a perfect diet. Now it’s time for a real challenge—are you ready? The perfect diet is strictly individual, as there’s no one diet that suits everybody. So who better to choose the perfect diet for you than you? Our bodies are all different, and the key to your own perfect diet is learning about how your body reacts to different foods under different circumstances. Your journey over the last 7 weeks should have brought you to a new understanding of how food affects your body, both for good and for bad. Now it’s up to you to put it to the test. See how well you can eat for a week. In fact, see how well you can eat for the rest of your life. Live and enjoy.
Reward Days: 1, of course!
Weekly Focus: Don’t bonk. Bonking is a state where your body runs out of stored blood sugar for energy. If you feel like your workouts are going backward instead of forward, this is a likely culprit. Use your energy level as your gauge. As soon as it starts to drop, start adding carbs back into your diet until you feel energized all day long. When you feel energized during your
workouts and not sluggish throughout the rest of the day, you’ll know you’ve found the right balance between carbs and other nutrients. Also, remember that as your body puts on more muscle, you will need to eat more. Muscle weighs much more than fat so as you gain muscle and lose fat, you will shrink at the same weight. You will also require more calories in order to maintain your muscle. So when you’re working out hard, don’t be afraid to eat more carbs than you do otherwise.
So, there you have it! Doesn’t it sound ridiculously simple, yet beneficial? I challenge you to join the change!