My name is Toni and I’m addicted to carbs.
I’ve never had a sweet tooth. When I was a child everyone in my family would sit next to me when it was time for dessert because they knew I would take two bites and give it away. I would take pasta or bread over a brownie any day.
When I decided it was time to make changes in my life, my trainer suggested I consider how and what I ate. I was slightly offended because I’v always felt like I had a healthy diet. I made most foods from scratch, ground my own wheat, drank smoothies, and did all sorts of other healthy stuff.
My trainer recommended The Feed Zone Cookbook: Fast and Flavorful Food for Athletes, and I ordered it figuring I had nothing but fat to lose by making changes to my diet. When I got the book I was a little disappointed. It’s for athletes! People who train several hours a day. I was going to the gym for an hour a day, I was far from an elite athlete!
I put it aside for a few days, but then picked it up and started looking at the recipes. I realized it wasn’t just what I was eating it was how I was eating. Before I decided to change my life I would load up on the carbs, mostly breads and pastas from lunch until I went to bed. I realized that all my carb eating in the afternoon was contributing to my comatose state after 3pm. Not only that, but with the combination of the soda I was having difficultly falling asleep in the evening.
I decided to experiment with my diet for one month. If it didn’t work I would go back to the way I ate before (minus the soda and french fries), if it did I would make some permanent changes.
Here was my basic diet.
- 6:30am Breakfast – Small bowl of cereal with fruit or one whole grain pancake or waffle
- 9am Gym
- 10:30am One scrambled egg with vegetables with turkey bacon or turkey sausage
- 1pm tuna or chicken sandwich with lettuce and onions on round flatbread or beans and rice.
- Snack: Fresh fruit, veggies, trail mix or smoothie.
- 6pm Whatever I made for dinner, except I wouldn’t eat any bread and had more fruit or vegetables than anything else.
Within a few days of eating like this I started to feel great. I had more energy and never got tired in the afternoon. Not only did I feel great, I dropped from a size 8 to a size 2 in less than three months. While I did lose weight, my shaped changed more than anything else.
I’m not a doctor or dietician but this eating plan did work for me and works for many others who have gone through the same changes. You can work out every day, but if you don’t change your diet it will be harder to achieve results when it comes to toning up and losing weight. You also don’t have to eat exactly what I did to get your energy level up. I followed these “rules” in developing my eating plan.
Drink lots of water.
It’s good for you and it helps you stay hydrated. If you are working out every day this is even more important.
When you feel hungry snack on fruits or vegetables.
It is much easier to grab a handful of crackers or chips than to cut up an orange, but you’ll have more energy if you avoid snacking on carbs. As moms we tend to “snack” on our kids leftovers and this can lead to overeating or just eating the wrong types of foods to stay full.
Limit carbs after lunch.
I think this was the biggest factor in getting my energy back. As someone who owns a mill and makes a lot of breads, muffins, and other whole grain products, a carb was my go to snack. Now instead of having peanut butter on toast, I eat it on an apple or celery. I considered giving up gluten altogether, but the changes I made worked so I still enjoy a piece of bread or pasta, just not for dinner.
At dinner eat more vegetables and fruit than anything else.
Before I would put a little of everything on my plate for dinner. When I changed my eating habits I would put fruits and vegetables on my plate and eat those first. If I was still hungry (which I usually was) I would eat the main dish. I avoided any breads or chips or pasta. The nights we would have pasta I would eat a large salad with shredded chicken.
Stop eating out.
I love having someone else cook my food and wash my dishes, but if you look at the nutrition facts on most restaurant food it is horrifying. The amount of calories, salt, and fat in most food is insane! Before you go out look up the nutrition facts online and find a few healthy choices on the menu. You can also use a smart phone to look it up while you are at the restaurant. When you do go out try to order off the “light,” “fit” or even the gluten free menu.
When I first started eating better I was at a church conference and went out to eat with a group of friends. Since I’m a burger and fries gal I was tempted to order a hamburger, but after pulling up the nutritional information on my phone I found that the burger had 1100 calories compared with the balsamic salad with chicken which had 500. While the salad was still high in sodium it was a healthier choice.
Read the labels.
Similar to checking nutrition facts at restaurants, read the labels when you are shopping. I try to shop the perimeter of the store and eat a mostly whole foods diet, but I still eat cereal in the morning and buy a few convenience foods for those crazy days.
Once I started purposefully reading the whole nutrition label (not just the calories) I couldn’t believe how much sugar, salt, and fat was in “health” foods. I quickly realized that carrots or an apples were a much better choice for a quick snack.
Learn portion control.
I’ve never been a big eater. Even as a kid I rarely cleaned my plate during mealtime. But once I started paying attention to serving sizes I realized that I did overeat the foods I really liked. I actually started measuring things to see how much I was using and then cut back. I barely noticed a difference and ended up eating less.
Eat whole foods.
This probably doesn’t need an explanation.
Experiment with foods.
Because my eating plan worked for me doesn’t mean it will work for you. I think the basic principles I’ve shared work for everyone, but exactly how you put them into practice might be different.
For example my friend Andrea is working out every day and making some drastic changes to her diet. After a few weeks she noticed she wasn’t making any physical changes or feeling better. She realized that the almonds she had been snacking on where causing her to feel bloated, so she cut them out of her diet.
For me it was decreasing dairy and carbs. For you it might be something different.
The bottom line is that if you feel cruddy every day you probably need to make some changes to your diet.