No exaggeration, I could listen to loops of health and nutrition podcasts,YouTube clips, and audio books all day long. The research and education that’s happening in this space right now is so inspiring and makes me want to learn and implement all the things! All of this listening, note taking, and research-consuming has lead me to implementing specific lifestyle choices into my routine that I feel are best for me and could help many others as well. I am extremely passionate about health and nutrition because it is not only an essential and viable, daily aspect of all human life, but it also has tremendous power to either heal and get us closer to optimal health or make us slowly slip into an early breakdown of cells. Pursuing and becoming a yoga instructor, certified health coach, weight loss coach, and personal trainer was all because I wanted to scream from a mountain to whoever would listen that nutrition and health doesn’t have to be difficult and that I could help. So what kick-started this obsession with health and nutrition? It all began and grew from the day that the person looking at me in the mirror at 18 years old said, “You’re fat” and this stung more than any possible negativity from anyone else.
In hindsight and through the lens of life experience, and my increased knowledge of psychology and many other aspects of mental and emotional health I am able to label what I was feeling as: I am not enough. Many people have variations of this feeling stemming from all types of experiences in life and I was no different. I looked in the mirror and my gut told me to start with physiology first and the mental and emotional would follow suit; tackle nutrition and fitness and the chemical changes will help boost toward holistic healing, and it turned out that this worked great for me.
I don’t know if it’s just the stubbornness in my bones or something else but I cannot bring myself to subscribe to only one school of thought when it comes to nutrition; I hand select one idea from here and a new theory there, and through trial and error see what works best for me. From this process I’ve discovered that I feel best doing intermittent fasting and following a Keto(ish) type lifestyle. My version of this is as follows:
1. 6/7am: Wake up-drink water and black coffee (sometimes with Stevia)
2. Workout, do yoga, jog/walk. Drink water.
3. Drink more water
4. 12/1pm: Have first meal! (this varies widely and depends on what I have and whether or not I’m traveling)
-Naturally low carb, high healthy fat, micro-nutrient smoothie (recipes to come)
-Eggs, chicken, grass fed beef, salmon, tuna
-Avocados, cucumber, lettuce wraps, dark greens, celery
-Minimal full fat cheeses, whipping cream
-Natural nut butters, nuts, coconut oil
5. Drink more water
6. 2/3pm: Sometimes have a treat=Keto Coffee. My version is coffee, coconut oil, ghee, stevia, splash of almond milk. Blend in Vitamix. Yum!
7. 6/7pm: Dinner! Same variation as lunch (making sure to finish all food by 8pm)
8. 10/11pm: Sleep 💤
My modifications with Keto are that I am light on dairy because I’ve always been a little lactose sensitive; I just tune into my body and feel better with less. I try not to make any “fat bomb” or “treat” type recipes which can contain a lot of ingredients or sugar alternatives; I try to eat almost exclusively whole foods in their natural state with the exception of processing in a blender. I also probably eat more fruits and vegetables than the average “Keto-er” because I see huge value in fiber and micro-nutrients but I am still at or below 20g of net carbs.
Now for intermittent fasting: the nutritionists, dietitians, doctors, researchers, and fitness professionals who I follow and respect the most, all agree that the benefits of IF are too good to be ignored. For me, if a food or method helps in healing and cellular repair then I am all for it, and if one of the positive side effects are things like better sleep and improved metabolism/fat burn then sign me up like, yesterday. Here is an info graphic showing some benefits, and the link below to a website of a comprehensive list and in-depth explanations.
My final point and I would say the most important is: TRACK YOUR FOOD. I know, I know, I know this is extremely annoying, tedious, and time consuming but I can promise you that the benefits it provides far outweighs any animosity you may feel toward it. As a DNA-based weight loss coach and as a personal trainer I implemented this with ALL of my clients and the ones who listened and stayed consistent saw results much quicker, this is not an opinion, this is an observable and documentable fact that I watched and recorded for years. I recommend using the app MyFitnessPal or an equivalent tracker and start recording every single thing you consume as best you can with type of food/drink and exactly how much. I would say the obvious benefit of keeping track of what you consume is important but what can be even more important is the control, accountability, and the ability to re-build a positive relationship with food; a relationship where you begin to make the connection between what you eat and exactly how it makes you feel and then from that you decide when, what, and how much to eat without overwhelming cravings controlling you. You make the tactile connection of eating something and addressing it face-to-face in your tracker; I know it may sound silly to some, but the emotional healing, regained control, and positive health results I saw with myself and client after client with this simple, consistent implementation was pretty amazing.
If you’re looking to feel better or lose some extra pounds, I truly hope that the above advice helps you. And like I used to tell all of my clients, some version of : “Okay, we have a plan and you know exactly what you need to do this week, but I cannot be in your house every day slapping bad foods out of your hand and reminding you to track your food, so YOU’RE in control and YOU need to stay consistent and do this because you love you.” Corny but hey, I will do whatever it takes to keep clients and myself lighthearted and continuing to get results. Now go call truce and make friends with the person in the mirror.