My Food Journey
So this may be the most anticipated and long-overdue blog post I have EVER written. Nutrition is probably the #1 topic I am asked to share more about, and I am sorry I’ve kept you guys in the dark for so long! To be completely honest, I don’t post/share too much about my food routine because most of the time it is prettttttty boring. However, my relationship with food hasn’t always been positive and I have some tips and tricks I also want to share… so enjoy the read :)
Starting with where I am currently, my relationship with the foods I consume has never been more laissez-faire. Yes of course I try to eat healthy as much as I can, but I also don’t stress out when I do indulge - and lately its been more than I probably should but that is totally okay. I have found over the years of going through different phases of eating habits that when I am lax with eating that extra sweet or bowl or pasta I actually do not really see major effects in relation to my body. I know what you’re probably thinking - I work out so much that eating ‘bad’ here and there won’t do anything at all - but to be honest for most of my life I have been very active and that hasn’t always been the case.
Starting in university, I of course like most students gained weight in my first year due to excessive alcohol and shit food consumption. IT HAPPENS! Being the natural athletic/fit individual that I am, I worked hard the following years to shed the weight off but it definitely wasn’t easy. Being in an environment where everyone around you is making unhealthy choices majority of the time, you are going to be influenced by that. I spent a lot of my time working hard at the gym but fueling my body with a pretty crappy diet. When I ate bad, I would stress out. I would overeat to the point where I would sometimes make myself sick just to get rid of the feeling, which is a road I never want to go back down.
It was a horrible feeling, and on top of that it wasn’t until my 5th year of university I finally decided to stop eating dairy as I am lactose intolerant which ultimately was a HUGE game changer for me. I started feeling way less bloated all the time and was actually able to enjoy (dairy-free) meals without having severe stomach aches to follow. But this new health change prompted a whole new diet outlook that lasted for a few years. I started to see positive changes in my body and kind of became obsessive in terms of the food I was consuming. For the amount I was working out, I was definitely undereating. Not only that but I literally WOULD NOT eat ANYTHING ‘unhealthy’ unless it was my designated cheat day. If I happened to slip, I would beat myself up about it. At one point I was probably the leanist I have ever been, but it wasn’t maintainable for a long-term diet.
Fast forward a couple years, now living in Toronto I had a similar outlook on food/diet the first couple years until I really got into health and fitness. As I became more educated and took on the responsibility of educating others, I began to discover a more sustainable diet that worked for me and my lifestyle.
I don’t stress about what I eat, I don’t track macros or count calories and I don’t wait until Sunday to have a ‘cheat day.’ My diet is a lot more balanced, I eat cookies when I want to but the majority of the time I am making healthy choices in terms of the food I am consuming. I focus on eating whole foods, eating my veggies, making sure my protein intake is high and as I mentioned before I’ve completely eliminated dairy. When it comes to diet, there is no right or wrong answer - it’s about doing what works for you and your body type. Everyone metabolizes food differently, so find what makes you feel your best.
What a normal day looks like for me:
Breakfast: Avocado toast - Ezekiel bread, ½ avocado and 2 eggs
Snack: Apple & almond butter or some type of healthy bar
Lunch: Usually a protein smoothie after my workout
Snack: Hummus and veggies
Dinner: Protein with veggies and a carb (quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato etc.)
**disclosure: unhealthy foods often do slip in in between meals lol***
I have outlined a few general tips below to keep in mind when it comes to diet!
1.) Minimize the Amount of Processed Foods you are Consuming
This is a HUGE one for me! I do not track my caloric intake because I’d rather eat foods based on the ingredient list. My general rule of thumb is that I want to be able to read and understand all the ingredients in whatever I am eating. If I can’t pronounce it, it’s not going in my shopping cart. This of course doesn’t necessarily apply when I am eating not so healthy foods, but definitely all of the food I bring home from the grocery store is 100% clean!
2.) EAT BREAKFAST… Along with another 3-4 meals PER DAY!
Not eating breakfast in the morning is way more common than I thought and didn’t actually realize this until I started working with people on a regular basis. People skip breakfast for different reasons, but when you hear breakfast is the most important meal of the day … IT REALLY IS! It kick starts your metabolism for the day and provides essential nutrients to keep your energy levels up. You don’t need to eat immediately after waking up, start with a glass of water and try to eat something within 30-60 minutes. Figure out what foods you can stomach at that time, and start with that. Eventually you can progress to having a larger well balanced meal.
It is also great for your metabolism to have smaller meals throughout the course of the day. You never want to leave your body ‘starving’ or HANGRY between meals! I aim to have breakfast, lunch and dinner along with a few snacks in between. I workout more than the average human so I am burning calories at a faster rate which leads me to be hungry when not eating for 2-3 hours. Again, everyone is different but you want to try to stay away from only having 1-2 larger meals a day. It is a lot harder for your digestive system and for your body to metabolize.
3.) Stop Stressing Over Food
This is VERY important and again I don’t believe that awareness is there in terms of the negative effects that are related to this topic. Food is meant for fuel but at the same time it is also there for us to enjoy - in moderation of course! It is inevitable to refrain from eating pizza or maybe a dozen cookies (if you are me!) and you need to know that that is totally okay. Again, you need to find a healthy balance between eating nutritious food and allowing yourself to enjoy whatever your guilty pleasure may be … STRESS FREE! When we get anxious or stress about the foods we are eating or even calorie counting, we are releasing a stress hormone in our bodies that will actually slow down the bodies ability to metabolize food. If you are you going to ‘cheat’ then enjoy it! Don’t look back - move forward and use that food to power your workout and ensure your meals to follow are back insync with your regular eating habits.
There is no one-diet-fits-all eating regime! Every BODY is different, everyone digests and metabolizes food differently and everyone has a differently outlook on what properly fuels their body. Never judge, always stay in your lane. What works for you may not work for everyone else. Most importantly, don’t let food consumption rule your life. Eat a cupcake when you feel the urge and ensure your also getting your dose of veggies that day. Find balance. Ultimately, food makes us happy at the end of the day that should be your priority!