Balanced. Maintainable. Healthy. Lack of Deprivation.
I am not super restrictive. I allow myself indulgences of my favorite foods and biggest cravings. I use healthier ingredients to make these indulgences better for my body. I don’t feel guilty or bad about eating these foods, and my performance as an athlete never suffered.
My eating habits have evolved over the years into what they are today due to two main things:
Knowledge gained from my own research and the sports science experts that I worked with when I was a professional athlete.
Paying attention to my body and what it was telling me about the food I was eating.
My 6 Eating Rules:
#1: Eat Vegetables
I have to work my ass off everyday to eat as many vegetables as I can because I just don’t like them as much as fruit or potato chips. So a lot of the time I’ll sneak them into food. Smoothies, pizzas, stir fries and egg scrambles are great places to incorporate extra veg. I try to eat some during every meal, but it usually doesn’t happen at breakfast. I was thinking about signing up to diet to go which sends you pre-prepared meals, as it would take away the element of choice and therefore make sure i’m eating healthily, but I’ll see if I have the willpower first.
#2: Reduce the Sugar
Sugar is the biggest problem in our diets today because the food industry puts it in everything so that we’ll get addicted and buy more. For this reason, I don’t eat pre-made or processed grocery store foods like cookies, cakes, sauces, dressings, rice and noodle mixes, puddings, the list goes on and on. If I want these things, I make my own versions using natural forms of sugar. See the sugars that are staples in my pantry
#3: Full-Fat Everything
I’m going to be blunt here, the low-fat craze pisses me off. It’s not real food. It’s food that’s had the fat, which contains a lot of the nutrients, taken out. Now to make it not taste like total shit, the manufacturers add sugar, which just makes you fat anyways. I can guarantee that if I’ve gained weight it’s not from eating full-fat Greek yogurt instead of low-fat yogurt. It’s probably because I’ve been to ‘Burger & a Brew’ and Prince Puckler’s Ice Cream Shop one too many weeks in a row.
#4: No Refined Carbs
I only buy unprocessed, natural grains because they contain more protein, vitamins, healthy oils, fats and fiber to keep me full for longer, plus I know how they were made. I don’t know, however, where the bleach for the all-purpose flour came from or what that does in my body. See the grains that are staples in my pantry.
#5: Protein is King
Protein is such an important part of my diet because I’m an active person and want to repair and build healthy, lean muscles. It also helps keep me more full throughout the day because it digests slower than most carbohydrates. Some of my favorite protein sources are: animal meats and eggs, beans, quinoa, lentils, nuts, seeds and Greek yogurt.
#6: Limit Liquid Calories
This is easy for me as I’d give up drinking a Starbucks Frappuccino for a piece of cake any day. I drink black brewed coffee or americanos, fizzy water with lemon or lime instead of soda when I’m craving fizz, and I try to limit my love for red wine to 2 glasses a week.
I DO NOT maintain this diet all the time, I just like to think I do. I do the 90/10 thing; 90% of the time I follow my rules, usually when I’m at home and able to cook my own food. The other 10% I cut myself some slack, usually when we’re traveling or out with friends, and have a glass of wine (or two or three…) and something from the dessert menu.
I truly believe that everyone is different and what works for me might not work for someone else. The key is to find the ideal diet for you based on your needs and current health situation.
Yes, this way of eating is more expensive however, I view the food I put in my body as an investment in mine and my family’s health and future. I hope you do too.