By: Rhianna Sweet
Now that we have you here.. those words should never be placed together to form a sentence. See how social media has us trained to click on posts with before and after pictures and claims that sound too good to be true? Your journey to health should be an adjustment, with slow and steady changes. Never fast, never restrictive. And no.. I’m sorry it won’t be easy!
Small changes add up! Little by little becomes A LOT.
Why fad and crash diets DON’T work:
- Many fad diets eliminate a whole macronutrient group. Just like a car needs gasoline to run, the body needs protein, carbs, fats, as well as vitamins and minerals to run properly. So any diet that eliminates any single one of these key nutrients will have you putting yourself at risk to become ill or to even greater health issues down the road.
- Many are too restrictive, which isn’t realistic to follow for more than a short amount of time.
- Some even go as far as limiting you to only one food (grapefruit, cabbage, juice, bone broth). This is super hard to follow and isn’t good for you at all.
- Some diets require eating only certain foods together at special times of day.. which has no benefit at all.
- Quick and fast weight loss is not healthy for the body, statistics show most people who crash diet regain the weight plus some once the diet is over.
- Most of the weight lost on a fad diet isn’t fat at all, it’s mostly just water weight.
- Many of them are simply trying to get your money by selling you their books, requiring memberships, and having to take their special supplements or buying their expensive pre-made meals.
Health, consistency, and overall wellness always TRUMPS a fad diet.
So ditch the fads and crash diets, they are proven to be unhealthy, lack a variety of nutrients, and are detrimental to your health. Which is what we are trying to gain, correct? A healthy functioning body.
So where do you begin? What first steps do you need to take on your journey to health?
Start by evaluating your diet:
Take a week to journal your food or download the app MyFitnessPal and easily log in meals. This way you can get a visual of what you are putting into your body and if it is being fueled properly. Maybe your are eating too much or too little? If eating too much is an issue address it kindly. I would suggest portion control. If you are eating too little do the same except increase your portion size.
Take a look at the quality of your food. Is it coming from lean meats, wholesome carbs, fruit, vegetables, and healthy fats? Or is it mostly processed packaged snacks laden with sugar and preservatives, or a quick run through a fast food joint?
You want your body to thrive! Fuel it with whole foods that have been minimally processed. Every meal should have a source of protein, carbs, and fats.
Protein- The size of your palm
Carbs- The size of your fist
Fats- About the tip of your thumb
Vegetables- About 1-2 fists
Meals can be broken up into 3 meals a day with 2 snacks, 4 small meals and 2 snacks, 6 even smaller meals a day, or even 2-3 big meals if you do intermittent fasting. Play with your meal planning and find what type of routine works for you and your body. Some may find the 3 larger sized meals works for them, or 2 larger and 3 snacks through out the day. The biggest thing is making sure you are getting a good well rounded diet. Remember this will not be a quick diet this is a lifestyle change. Slowly cut back on foods that may not be beneficial to your health and goals, and begin swapping them out for a healthier option and avidly implementing something new into your diet weekly.
If you want to find specific macros for your bodies needs www.avatarnutrition.com is a fantastic site that tailors to your bodies needs and according to your goal (Fat loss, maintenance, muscle building, as well as how aggressive you’d like your diet to be). It is $10 monthly fee but can be cancelled easily online at anytime.
Take a look at your water intake:
Are you staying properly hydrated? Or are you chugging sugary coffees weighed down with cream first thing in the morning, drinking one or two sugary energy drinks throughout the day, or even soda?
Our bodies are made up of 55% water for women and 60% for men! Staying properly hydrated is a major key to our health. Water flushes out toxins, improves digestion, regulates body temperature, promotes weight loss, improves mood, boosts your immune system, prevents kidney stones, relives fatigue and much more. The benefits of drinking water are endless so be sure and get the proper amount of hydration!!
Don’t get too restrictive:
This doesn’t mean I’m encouraging you to eat junk food by any means, but we are encouraging a healthy balanced approach. Instead of saying “I can’t eat that” think of all the thing you can eat. You could eat a small dollar menu fry for 230 calories or you could have an entire apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter, fresh vegetables dipped in hummus, chicken breast with a small sweet potato and vegetables. Weigh your options. What will be more fulfilling and satisfying? And also nourishing and beneficial to my bodies wellness and goals?
Enjoy the process. You are doing this for you! This is a big step, and it can be scary. Finding an accountability partner preferably with likeminded goals to share struggles, and successes with can be helpful, encouraging, and calming. I find that journaling is also a useful tool, I love being able to look back on my struggles and seeing how far I have come and changed. A healthy lifestyle is much more then food, it’s mentally changing as well.
Some additional tips to help you on your journey:
- Take a moment to meditate daily (I recommend the calm app)
- Enjoy the little things
- Eat Whole Foods as often as possible
- Stay consistent
- Stay committed
- Check out the nutrition guide Luke and I put together.
- Do not judge or compare yourself to others! Don’t focus on someone’s chapter 75 when your on chapter 1 you will get there on your own path. Every story is different.
- Share your healthy living tips with friends and family along the way. You never know who you may inspire.
- Enjoy food! Moderation is key. Don’t fear food.
- All your hard work, and effort will pay off in the end.
- Create healthy habits not restrictions.
- Get more sleep
- Move your body
- Explore more, read more, relax more!
- Put down your phone when around family, and friends. Value their presence.
- Stay hydrated
- Don’t grocery shop on a empty stomach
- Don’t snack or pick at food if you aren’t hungry
- Use YouTube for free workout videos
- Listen to your body
- Do mental health checks
- Read labels on everything from food to makeup. Learn what you are putting in your body and on your skin.
- Nutrition labels are your friend
- Prioritize stress management!
- Learn constructive criticism
- Never let google diagnose you! See a Doctor.
- Cut down of caffeine intake
- Smile more
- If you slip up, learn from the mistake, and move on
- Speak kindly to yourself
- Most off all surround yourself with people who love you. Who support your goals, and vision for yourself.
Thanks for the read!
And P.S. The before and after picture I used as my featured image for this article compared my off season physique versus my contest prep physique. This is me currently showing my off season bulk.