Let's Taco Bout Nutrition
Two times out of the year where nutrition generally seems to be a hot topic: New Year's and Summer. Since we're full steam ahead towards the latter, let's taco bout it!
I do have to make a few things very clear before I start. I do not have an official credential in nutrition, but I do understand what works for one person may not work for everyone. Also, I understand that everyone has different goals and lifestyles; athletes cater their diet to perform, some people have food allergies, some people eat what they can afford, etc... So, before you roll your eyes or troll my page, my intention is to share what I've gathered from my own experiences, which includes my personal relationship with food and encounters I've collected from clients. Maybe there are commonalities that can spark a change to a healthier you.
I'd like to begin by (half-jokingly) blaming my parents. My no-filter Asian parents who never vocally held back on whether I looked too fat or too skinny. Mind you, the same Asian parents who made sure the cupboard was filled with addictive American snack foods; like Funyons, Gushers, and Neopalitan Ice Cream Sandwiches! I understand now that it is quite the cultural phenomenon for Asian parents to pass this judgmental body complex on to their children creating a whirlwind of insecurities that stay with them until adulthood.
My love for food never reconciled with my need to be skinny. From my teenage years to my mid-twenties, I tried all the fad diets from South Beach to Atkins to counting calories. I took fat burners and laxatives on a daily basis knowing that it was horrible for my insides, but it was, what I thought my fast track to losing weight. Thinking back at it now, I was clearly on the path to having an eating disorder and who knows where I would be at this moment if it wasn't for CrossFit showing me a whole other side of the spectrum. Specifically, showing me that being strong; physically, mentally, emotionally is WAY better than just looking skinny.
In the past 8 years, I've established a much healthier relationship with food without cutting anything out. Am I still the girl that stands by the chip bowls at parties? Absolutely! But I have a much greater understanding of my body, my goals, and how to balance nutrition to essentially have my cake and eat it, too.
There are no quick-fixes, but there are some habits you can abide by that make all the difference! My goal with nutrition is to eat to have the energy for work and fitness, but at the same time enjoy life's pleasures like having dinner with friends or celebrating with family. If you're looking for tips that will help you get a 6-pack for the summer, then you can stop reading here. These are the daily habits that work for me and may work for you! Or may not, but I guess there's only one way to find out...
Before you reach for that sugary midnight snack, take a second and ask yourself why are you hungry? Is it stress, is it because you didn't eat enough during the day, is it that special time of the month? Acknowledge how you feel, then ask yourself, is this Pop Tart going to be worth it? Be honest... If you're lingering around "I don't know", then the answer is "no", so put it away and move on. If the answer is a definitive yes, then go for it! Enjoy it and savor it until the very last bite and don't feel guilty about it later. You're human, you're not perfect, and that's okay. BUT if the "yes" is an everyday occurrence, then there might be a deeper problem. Slowing down and answering the reason behind these sudden urges will help you identify the true issue.
Have a Plan
We cannot avoid the parties, the lunch meetings, and the donuts in the break room. But we can have a game plan for when these things suddenly come up! Focus here on what you can control when this happens. Can you have a salad for lunch? Maybe you can have a healthy green juice before the party? If you have that donut now, then you have to make sure to have a nice well-balanced meal for lunch and dinner. These are examples, but focusing on what you can control will help prevent sabotaging your whole day.
Eat Whole Foods
I don't mean the actual grocery store, although it is my favorite! I mean eat fresh natural foods, which are made for your body to enjoy and absorb countless nutrients! A general rule is if it came from the Earth or out of a womb, it will definitely be better for you than anything made or packaged in a lab. Will this be 100% all of the time? It could be, but it doesn't have to start off that way. Maybe add one day out of the week where you only eat whole foods, then increase to two, then three, etc...If you're used to eating things out of a box or can, then you'll definitely feel the difference when you add fresh vegetables to your diet.
One Special Day
If you're a food lover like me it's hard to pass up on fun snacks and delicious drinks. Allow yourself one day out of the week or maybe out of the month where you don't have to worry about where your food is coming from. Allowing yourself one day of freedom will make you realize that you don't always need these extra calories to be happy.
Don't Eat for Aesthetics
This is a hard one because we're all obsessed with how we look. But like the saying goes, "feel good, look good!" (or something like that). Aging is inevitable, so how you look is going to change, unless you're an alien like Jennifer Lopez! But taking care of your body so that you feel good on the inside will set you up for success forever.
These are my general habits when it comes to everyday nutrition. Again, I know rules change if you're competing in sports, have religious obligations, or personal preferences - nutrition is like politics, everyone has their own viewpoints and it should never be talked about on the first date! But creating these habits for me has given me a much happier mindset when it comes to eating.
What are some of the rules you always abide by?
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Let's Hang Out!
+ If you want more specific nutrition advice and help, contact me and I will lead you to the right people I trust.
+ Come workout with at CrossFit Kindred! My FUNctional Training class is for all levels, so join in the FUN!