Q&A: The Ketogenic Diet

Since I've been getting so many questions about this lately, I figured I would save myself some time and write a blog about it instead of answer each person individually. 

I feel like I could attack this from 2 viewpoints: the purely information-based approach, or the personal approach. I followed a non-cyclical ketogenic (low carbs, no "cheat days" or variations in carb intake) diet a few years back so I do have that personal experience to speak from. Heck, I'll just hit it from both sides (naughty). 

 

What is it?

You can find plenty of detailed chemistry/scientific-y explanations and research papers on the subject if you feel so inclined but basically, a ketogenic diet is a way of fueling your body with fats as opposed to carbohydrates. It involves a high intake of saturated fats and proteins with little or no carbohydrate intake (depending on your program) usually not including fiber. I would NOT recommend anyone attempt this without the guidance of a professional. Just as with any shift in dietary lifestyle, it's easy to mess shit up fairly quickly. And then, you just give up or claim it wasn't right for you when you weren't doing it correctly from the get go. Be smart and ask for help if you're curious or want to try it. That's what I did. 

 

WHo's it for?

Anyone who is interested I guess unless you have special diet needs or a condition preventing you from processing high amounts of fats. The most important thing though, is what I say about ANY dietary change you implement: your intentions should be clear and your aim should be sustainable. If you think you want to do this from now until Dec 31 to get lean before the New Year, please reconsider. I mean, you can, by all means, and it would probably work great for you. But what about after Jan 1? The body adapts to change very quickly so once you start eating your "normal" diet again...you can kiss your results good-bye. 

 

What was your experience like?

Amazing. My diet was already naturally heading into the "low carb" direction but I just never put a name to it. I still prefer not to give my diet a name. I eat what my body asks me for now that I have embraced whole foods and can tell the difference between cravings and actual hunger. When I started my journey 7 years ago, I knew I had to get a grip on my sugar intake, for good. I was a slave to sugar. Truly and totally addicted. And for me, the concept of moderation, cheat meals, or any other kind of back-and-forth approach does not work. Your diet is a very personal thing, in case you haven't noticed. And part of having a healthy dietary lifestyle is finding what works for you and makes you feel good inside and out. If that's dairy free, more power to ya. If it's vegan, great! If you eat sea animals, but not land animals, awesome. If it means low carb, fantastic. 

 

ASKING Specific questions

One of the biggest problems I see is that people don't know how to ask the right questions about these diets and lifestyles. They get excited because they see before and after photos or read about someone else's experience. That's all fine and dandy but you are unlike anyone else. And your experience, no doubt, will always be different than anyone else's. What I think, or someone else thinks, is relatively unimportant. The facts are most relevant followed by your own personal needs. When you approach a coach, any coach, about a subject, try to ask very specific questions. Everyone who has asked me "What do you think about the ketogenic diet?" I have asked to be more specific about what it is they wish to learn from me. Here are some of the top responses:

  • Is it healthy?
    • Depends on your definition of "healthy." What I see a lot of times is a huge increase in meat intake for folks transitioning to a ketogenic diet. This is problematic in my opinion. I do not think consuming a lot of meat (especially processed meats like bacon, deli meat, jerky, sausage, hot dogs, etc) is beneficial to the body. Also, it's not all about meat in the first place. It's mostly about fat. But then people worry about too many carbs so they start eating less vegetables too. Again, problematic in my opinion. You can avoid both scenarios by asking a professional for help. (P.S. My email is EatSuite@gmail.com)   
  • Is it effective for weightloss?
    • Usually when I ask for clarification about this question, the person reveals that the number on the scale is not as important as the fit of their pants. Ok, now we're talking. If you're looking to DROP POUNDS, as in, decrease your body weight, this might not be the best way to do it. Depends on how much weight you want to lose and whether or not your body agrees with you. If your body thinks it's at a healthy weight, you'll find it harder to lose weight. If your body feels like it's in your best interest to shed some pounds, you'll likely find it easier to do so. This is one reason people hit plateaus and find it so difficult to lose those "last 10 pounds." If you want to BURN FAT, as in, achieve a leaner physique, you've come to the right place. Initially, most people "lose" weight when they first make the switch. Some of it will be water weight, no doubt. But yay! That's a sign of decreased inflammation so that's awesome. Normally, this tapers off and you either find that your weight will stabilize or gradually decrease. It may even increase. It depends on your body, your training routine, and your genetics of course. 
  • Is it like Paleo?
    • Similar yes, but not the same. The Paleo lifestyle is not really about ketosis as much as it's about reducing B.S. food products like refined sugar, hydrogenated oils, processed foods, etc. There's soooo many different "levels" of Paleo now...it's hard to keep up. But generally, with a Paleo diet you are not as restrictive of your carbohydrates. 
  • What are some of the noted benefits or what draws people to it?
    • It's a long list! Improved performance, increased endurance, mood stabilization, balanced energy throughout the day, reduced LDL cholesterol (the kind you want to keep lower), weight loss, building lean muscle mass, increased HDL cholesterol levels (the kind you want to keep higher), mental clarify, shaper focus, better sleep, reduced inflammation, reduced blood glucose, and slow/gentler aging of the body inside and out. 
  • I'm an endurance athlete, will it work for me?
    • You won't know until you try. The first time I did it, I was doing a lot of HIIT and running. I was eating a whole hell of a lot more, but I didn't feel a lack of energy or endurance. In the beginning, yes. But I decreased my training for the first week while my body adapted. Then, I felt unstoppable. You may have a different experience though. I've learned over the years that no matter what my lifestyle looks like, my body just doesn't do well with a lot of carbohydrates. And, contrary to popular belief, you do not have to pack on the carbs to be an energized endurance athlete. I certainly know more power lifters and cross trainers who adopt this lifestyle than I do endurance athletes though.
  • Is your current diet considered ketogenic?
    •  Maybe. I don't measure, track, or weigh my food but given that I don't really eat fruit, I rarely eat grains and legumes, and I enjoy starchy root veggies from time to time, I would guess my carb intake is substantially low, especially compared to previous years. The majority of my caloric intake comes from fats, without a doubt. I eat at least half a bar of dark (unsweetened) chocolate everyday, as well as whole avocados, and tons of coconut. I LOVE fat. My body thrives on fats. Again, I eat the way I eat because it makes me feel good. I enjoy feeling good! I don't restrict myself. If I want cookies, I eat cookies. 
  • Should I try it? 
    • If the list above sounds good to you and you don't have any condition which calls for special dietary restrictions, why not?

P.S. Email me first. ;)

How to: Love your Body

I don't claim to have all the answers to life's questions but I do have systems that work for me. Systems that help me manage everyday life in a positive way and keep smiling, laughing, and living. Perseverance. Mostly I accomplish this by living my life exactly the way I would like to. However I realize this is not reality for most people. Can it be? I believe so. But they have to believe it for themselves for it to be true. I get asked all the time..."How do you do that?" in reference to all kinds of things but often they are asking me about how I incorporate self-love into my life on a daily basis and how I carry myself with such confidence. Especially as a person who has lost a significant amount of weight and is still, by no means, considered "petite" in any sense of the word. Well, if anyone has ever told you that it's easy to be proud of your body, to love your body in it's entirety and embrace every inch of it...that person was lying big time. I could tell you that I love my body every day but that's not helpful to you or me because it's not true. Which brings me to my first body-lovin' rule:

 

Be honest with yourself.

There's a lot of pressure on us, coming from all directions, to throw the silk robe to the wind and reveal our perfectly imperfect bodies. It's a pretty popular marketing campaign right now and we see it all over the media. Those messages are great and all, but we still have a looooong way to go. Let me be the first to tell you that it's OK to be partial towards one part of your body, and not another. It's OK to think your feet are sexy. It's OK to think they're not. Whatever you think about yourself is OK because it's about you. What other people think about you is irrelevant. No matter how flawless or beautiful someone is said to be, there will always be people out there who think otherwise. Someone will think your sexy feet are atrocious. But it's up to you to decide if that's true or not. Because, what ever YOU believe, is what's true. Letting another opinion alter how you feel about yourself is dangerous. It's also kind of inevitable, especially if you are young. So, you have to be really honest with yourself. I mean that deep, raw, unrelenting honesty. What, if anything, do you not like about your body and why? The why is important. I think most people will find that their reasoning will resonate with socially constructed ideas of what bodies are "supposed" to be like. "I don't like my upper arms because they're flabby and shake when I wave." How many times have we seen those commercials or ads targeting and hunting down people who feel this way? We sell them workout programs, pills, and slimming clothing to hide that "embarrassing problem." Embarrassing? Problem? That's why so many people complain about their upper arms. Because we've learned that it's an embarrassing problem and should be treated or concealed in some way. You know what I think? Thank the universe that I HAVE an arm to wave. Some people do not. They are born without or they lose an arm (or both) one way or another. Think they give a damn about that shakey arm problem? Which leads me to my next point...

 

Put it into perspective.

I mean really. Can we all take a moment to express gratitude for our bodies? Our hard-working, miraculous, multi-talented, incredible bodies! What fascinating natural machines we are. Created by who knows what and who knows how, we are simply amazing. Every part of us, from our large bones to the cells within, have a specific purpose and function (except maybe the gallbladder). We are each a walking, talking, thinking, individual, conscious, BEING. Insanity! I for one, am grateful to be alive and have a body that functions well. I thank the universe everyday for this gift. 

 

Start with you.

Being loved and in love is incredible. No doubt about that. And yes I have an amazing partner who literally tells me everyday how much she loves everything about me, including my body. Umm...folks, yes I do realize how lucky I am. But, would her opinion or words mean anything to me if I didn't already believe that I am an amazing, beautiful, smart, strong woman? Hell no. This is something I see my friends, family, and clients deal with ALL the time. They say that they're partner doesn't make them feel sexy, that they're friends mentioned something about their thighs, that they're grandmother told them that they would be much more attractive if they lost weight. Trust me, I can relate to all of that in my own way. But, if you rely on other people to make you feel good about yourself, I assure you you will be thoroughly disappointed. Over and over again. This is a solo job. Make yourself feel sexy. Throw on your favorite outfit just for the hell of it and take yourself out on a date. Treat yourself to a spa day. Write a letter to yourself about how wonderful you are, and ALWAYS...

 

Actively Practice Self-Love.

What are you doing right now in your life to show yourself love and appreciation? It's OK, I'll wait while you think about it...

...got something? Hopefully you have a list. Would you like to hear mine? Of course you would! Here's the shortened version:

  • Reading. How is this self-love you ask? Well, simply by allowing myself free time to sit with my morning tea and start my day slowly, my way, I am practicing a very powerful form of self-love. Time is a precious gift and I give it to myself daily.
  • Exercise. Hiking, walking, stretching, lifting, running...these are a few of my favorite things (did you sing that?) Taking care of your physical body is the ultimate form or self-care. How much stronger of a statement can you make then I love me so much, I'm going to strengthen my muscles, maintain my joints, care for my heart and lungs, and sweat because it makes me feel good and it's good for me and my future. Good health is one hell of a gift to give yourself. 
  • Food. I make quality food and home cooked meals an absolute priority and requirement of my budget and time. This is of the utmost importance to me because it allows me to make a statement about my lack of support for factory farms, and unsustainable and inhumane food production. And I feel so much better when I eat my own food. Better about myself as a person and better physically and mentally. 
  • Sex. Ok folks, we're adults, so we can talk about this. What greater celebration of your body than sex? When was the last time you explored your own body? Again...I'll wait while you think about it.

Do it. Alone. 

  • Nudity. I freaking LOVE being naked! I'm naked at some point during the day, EVERY day. And I'm not just talking about getting in and out of the shower. I walk around my house naked, I examine my body in front of the mirror naked, I flex my muscles and trace their form...I check myself out! I also frequent clothing optional spas and hot springs. May I recommend Esalen in Big Sur and Orr Hot Springs in Ukiah? You should visit, especially if you've never been to a clothing optional resort. There is NOTHING like being naked in nature. To be free and raw. Does this make you uncomfortable? Good, that's even more reason to do it because on your journey towards ultimate body loving you MUST... 

 

Get Uncomfortable.

Remember that 30-Day Get Uncomfortable Challenge I did via YouTube? That was a life changing challenge for me. By forcing yourself out of your comfort zone, you gotta dig deep and uncover the real good stuff about yourself. I learned a lot about myself in those 30 days. I learned that I had performance anxiety. I learned that I put too much pressure on myself. I learned that I still hide behind my fears. You should really watch the videos or at least watch Day 1 compared to Day 30 and you'll see exactly what I mean...and hear about all the other cool stuff I learned about myself. But most importantly, I learned how to DEAL with those things, because I had to. When you're uncomfortable, and allow yourself to be present in that moment, you grow as a person. You change. You develop new skills. You become stronger. You do better. And doing better is a huge part of maturing and becoming a self-loving machine. When you do better, you feel better. And when you feel better, you do better. Did you catch that? The same can be said about your body. Put yourself in an uncomfortable position and live through the experience. You'll emerge on the other side as an enlightened, empowered being. I promise. Don't like your tummy? Wear a crop top or a fitted button down and work that shit.  Think your thighs are too big or too small? Rock some short shorts. Think you have to purchase clothes one or two sizes up or down because you're ashamed of the real number. Fuck that! OWN YOUR BODY. 

 

Say it loud and proud.

Your thoughts, beliefs, and words are your REALITY. Never forget that. If you believe you're hideous, you will act, think, and BE hideous. Do you get that? Are you really hearing me?? Speak of yourself using only positive adjectives. Praise yourself. But wait! What if I don't have any positive things to say about myself? I don't care, do it anyways. Have you ever heard the phrase "Fake it 'til you make it"? Apply it here. Tell yourself you are amazing, beautiful, sexy, strong, capable, and perfect. Do this everyday, before your coffee, and see how it changes your entire day. Magic? No. You create your own self-image, so paint yourself a pretty picture. Every day that you are blessed to wake and rise, you get to decide who you are. Why not be the most fabulous, thriving, awe-inspiring, immaculate version of yourself? The only person stopping you..is you! 

 Several years ago, I threw away any and all printed photos of myself from prior to 2008 or so. I hated my body before then. But as I started my self-loving journey I realized that I had to love and accept myself from the day I was born in order to truly love all that is me.  So, I dug up some photos from friends and family and began collecting them and sharing them.  My past is an important part of my present. 

Several years ago, I threw away any and all printed photos of myself from prior to 2008 or so. I hated my body before then. But as I started my self-loving journey I realized that I had to love and accept myself from the day I was born in order to truly love all that is me. So, I dug up some photos from friends and family and began collecting them and sharing them. My past is an important part of my present. 

 Allowing myself to celebrate my achievements and recognize the work I have done has also been an important part of my journey. And being honest about how I feel about the loose skin I have from a 140lb weightloss has been a slow, but rewarding experience. 

Allowing myself to celebrate my achievements and recognize the work I have done has also been an important part of my journey. And being honest about how I feel about the loose skin I have from a 140lb weightloss has been a slow, but rewarding experience. 

 And finally, celebrating myself as I am now, while recognizing where I've come from and how far I have traveled, has allowed me to really appreciate ME. I love my body. I love my muscles. I love my strength. And I love that I am capable of transforming my weaknesses into my strengths. 

And finally, celebrating myself as I am now, while recognizing where I've come from and how far I have traveled, has allowed me to really appreciate ME. I love my body. I love my muscles. I love my strength. And I love that I am capable of transforming my weaknesses into my strengths. 

Enter your email address to subscribe to my blog:

Hello, my name is anxiety...

...and I love to make you freak out about everything

When I was young I used to suffer from panic attacks in the night. I would hide under my covers and hyperventilate until I had almost no oxygen left and I was drenched in sweat. Then, I would expose JUST my mouth to the side edge of the comforter so my face was still covered and try to breath normally until I fell asleep. On nights like these, which were frequent, I would wake up hours later in a pool of my own urine, shivering, and exhausted. Words can't describe how horrible that was. And it happened well into my adolescent years. 

I never told anyone that, until fairly recently. Probably because I had forgotten the details. The bed wetting was widely known, but not the anxiety or panic attacks. But after 3 months of life coaching, having a heart-to-heart conversation with one family member, and writing a 10-page letter to another...it all came back to me. And that's when I realized that I have been dealing with anxiety my whole life.

It's nice to put a name to a face. I see her around often but didn't know who she was. 

There have been stages in my life when she follows me every where I go, and other times she just kinda hangs out...waiting. About 5 years ago I started working at a gym in Oakland and I was super duper excited about the job and the doors it would open for me. I ignored several red flags from the start and dove in head first giving it all I had. Soon I realized I was in deep shit. I loved my role, I loved the people I was meeting, training, and helping, but I was very unhappy with the inner workings of the gym, and the person running it. The situation got worse and worse over time and my anxiety levels were through the roof because I didn't know how to quit. I wanted to. Badly. For a long time. But I stayed. Probably out of fear of being without a job and losing that "security" but also largely because I absolutely loved my clients. I lost sleep and I became irritable and easily agitated. Everyone noticed; including my partner. It affected our relationship. I was mean. I was snappy. I was unhappy. 

The emotions and stress built up inside of me until the universe decided that if I wasn't going to take action, it would do it for me. One day, after a long double shift at work I came home and started rummaging through my things cleaning out my closet and other pointless tasks (which was therapeutic at the time). That's when I had my first seizure. You should know that I have ZERO history of seizures, blackouts, or head trauma. Nothing in my family history either. All of my gazillion tests came back normal. My doctor and my neurologist agreed that I was healthy as could be and there was no explanation for it.

But I knew that wasn't true. I felt it. And sure enough, 3 days later I had another one. And guess what I was doing when I had that 2nd one? Getting ready to go to work. 

I immediately switched doctors and found an Ayurvedic practitioner. He read my chart and asked me about my life and lifestyle. I told him everything. We did more blood tests just in case it was diet related. During our next visit he asked me about stress and anxiety. I told him about the stresses in my life and how I am up all night and sometimes jolt awake all sweaty, heart racing, and gasping for air. He looked concerned. "That sounds like anxiety," he said.

What?

ME?

Anxiety?

No way.

Yes.

Totally anxiety. 

So ever since then I have been on a mission to try to find healthy ways to cope with it. I thought it was a new thing for me until, like I mentioned before, I started seeing my life coach and put the pieces of my life together like a puzzle. I know I will never be completely rid of anxiety. She purchased real estate in my mind long ago so my only option is to work on our relationship. 

One thing that's VERY helpful to me is to not let things fester. I used to keep my feelings to myself, which is very unhealthy. Now, if I have something to say to someone, I tell them as soon as possible. If I have a looming task, I complete it first. Procrastination and anxiety are ultimate BFFs. They have an unbreakable bond. The longer you let something go on, the worse your anxiety will be over it.  Another helpful tool is accountability. I am fortunate to have a solid handful of close friends who know and understand me well enough to help me when I need to combat my anxiety with greater force. Communicating feelings and talking through your thoughts with a person whom you trust and can actually listen is highly effective.

Let me give you a recent example...

While I was traveling around Europe last month, I started to feel a little anxiety brewing the closer it got to my departure date. I was anxious to come home. Normal stuff, right? I mean, I had been away for 4 weeks! I didn't think much of it. But, then I realized that the anxiety was mainly centered around my training and getting back into it. Although I exercised almost everyday while I was on vacation (because I enjoy it, and it's an important and normal part of my lifestyle, not because I forced myself to) I was not training like I normally do, 5x per week. I guess I was anxious about not being as strong or as fast as I was before my trip. I tried not to let it bother me, but it did. It bothered me a lot. That's when I realized that maybe I was too obsessive about my training. Don't get me wrong...I absolutely love CrossFit. I love my gym, I love my coach(es), I love my fellow athletes, and I love the way it makes me look and feel. But perhaps I put too much pressure on myself to fulfill a certain status or perform a certain way. I don't care to be a competing athlete, to win titles or awards, or to be ranked in any way. I just want to feel strong, able-bodied, and healthy. CrossFit does that for me. But I don't need it to run my life. My vacation showed me that I was scheduling my life according to my training program, instead of scheduling my training program around my life. I don't know how it got to be that way, but that wasn't my intention. I don't live to train. Yet I was dedicating my time and energy to it like I do. I decided that when I got home, that was going to change.

So when I arrived back in the states, I did not obsess about when I was going to get back into the gym. In fact, I allowed a full 10 days to go by before I decided to return. Was this easy? Hell no. I had some major anxiety about it. But that was part of the challenge for me. Not to give in and force myself to do something that I didn't want to just because I felt the pressure. I still took care of myself, physically. I will never give that up. But I'd like to OK myself to explore other ways of moving my body, and make those equally important. I met my good friend, Mel, for lunch and told her everything. She didn't judge me, or tell me I should go to the gym, or add to the pressure or anxiety at all. She just listened. When I got home later that day I decided I would hit the gym the next day, no matter what. The next morning, I texted Mel to let her know I was on my way...(WARNING: graphic language not suitable for children or sensitive folks follows

And here are the photos I sent her, and a photo of the workout which did indeed nearly kill me. 

 BEFORE

BEFORE

 AFTER

AFTER

This was a proud moment for me for many reasons:

  1. I was vulnerable and I was OK with it. 
  2. I admitted to someone else that I was vulnerable.
  3. I did not allow external forces to pressure me into making decisions. 
  4. I was successful in initiating this very difficult, new change in my lifestyle.
  5. I started with a smile, a positive attitude, and the outcome was perfect. 

And I'm sharing this experience and personal details of my past to let you know that I KNOW. And to remind you that I'm a human being just like you. A lot of people look at leaders and role models as superhuman or exempt from the trials and tribulations of life. That couldn't be more inaccurate. I know what makes me a good role model is that I practice what I preach. My coaching is centered on my personal experiences. That makes me relatable. It also makes me trustworthy and honest. I don't just say things because I think they sound good. I say what I mean, as cliche as that sounds. And I say it with conviction because I know it to be true. If you've been going back and forth about some decision to be made, or action to be taken, or words to be spoken...DO NOT WAIT any longer. Decide now. Act now. Say it NOW! 

P.S. I did end up quitting my job at the gym. I would have been crazy to ignore the signs. And now I'm happily 100% self-employed, growing my own business. 

P.P.S. This is my friend Mel. I thought I should include some photos of her so you can see just how special she really is....

Enter your email address to subscribe to my blog:

The life of a hater

I used to be a hater. I'm serious, I really was. I couldn't be happy for anyone, I had the hardest time dishing out compliments, and I was constantly talking badly about people for no good reason. Good people. People doing great things in their lives for themselves and for others. People who were happy. People who were in love. People who loved their life. I hated on them all. I found any annoying little habit, nuance, physical imperfection, or deviation from the norm about any awesome person and amplified it in my mind times a gazillion to make them appear a lot less cool. 

Why?

Because I was envious. Because my life lacked self-love and both the understanding and appreciation of the entire concept of self-love.  

And that my friends, is the simple truth behind why anyone ever hates on good people. Let me break it down for you. When your life is not going the way you want it to, it is very difficult to celebrate happiness and joy in other people's lives. So what do you do instead? You talk shit about them. Total meaningless garbage just to make yourself feel better. And it works, temporarily. You start to convince yourself that they really are not as intelligent, beautiful, capable, inspiring, or lovable as they seem. You do it until you mentally bring them down to your level because if you can't be happy, then no one else can be either. At least, that's what it feels like. Some people don't go this route. A lot of people start to retreat within themselves. They are shy, lack energy, and usually don't have anything positive to talk about. I went through that phase too...after living as a hater for many years. Because, life as a hater is extremely exhausting.  

It is also very lonely. And it's sad. It's a sad, sad life. When you've reached the point of giving up on yourself, the full hater in you shines because you start hating on yourself. You become full of negative, self-sabotaging thoughts and they begin to eat you alive from the inside out. The only relief comes from allowing them to feed on others. So you internalize your own self-hatred and it becomes a part of your character in a sense. People used to tell me I was a bitch...in a "funny way." What? I was a funny bitch? Believe it or not I actually liked the title of bitch. It was empowering. It felt like a role I could live up to. It's probably a good idea to note that when you get to the point of enjoying your life as a bitch, you are likely on complete emotional shutdown mode.

And I was. I had no sense of what I wanted in life anymore because I felt undeserving. My relationships were toxic, my behavior was toxic, my attitude was toxic, and my habits were toxic. I was letting the unhappiness poison my life. And instead of surrounding myself with people who could lift me up, inspire me, and help me...I found comfort in other poisoned souls. I was completely codependent and it sucked me down a deep, dark hole that seemed literally impossible to escape. I chose the easy route. Instead of facing my fears, my insecurities, and my demons I let them console me in my darkness. Instead of living my own life and fighting for the things I wanted for myself, I gave all of my energy to others. I did it because it kept me feeling like I was doing something good, like I was trying, but in reality I wasn't doing any good for anyone...especially for me.

It wasn't until I made a life-changing, selfish decision to leave everything and everyone behind and move across the globe to Australia for an entire year that I discovered how brave, capable, intelligent, deserving, strong, beautiful, and loving I really was. I wasn't a bitch. That was just a facade. And I didn't actually enjoy being a bitch, that was part of the role I took on to mask the underlying truth. I was a hater because it was easier to pretend like I didn't want change in my life. I was a hater because it was easier to settle and be complacent. I was a hater because I was so scared of being judged for the deterioration and damage I felt I had allowed into my life.  I was a hater because I was afraid to ask for help. I was a hater because I didn't believe in myself or my future and I didn't know how to. I was a hater because that's what it felt like I was supposed to do.

Incredible things happen when you finally admit to yourself that you want change in your life. And even more amazing things happen when you admit that to others and take action towards that change. No one deserves to be unhappy. No one wants to be unhappy. No one actually wants to be a hater. The best thing you can do for a hater is empower them. Don't play the game with them. Kill them with kindness. Nurture their soul until they're drowning in positivity. For every negative thing they have to say, come at them with two positive things. Respond to them with things that actually matter. But don't give too much of yourself. End it there. And let them know you don't stand behind talking badly about or judging others. Period. Be firm. Don't laugh when they joke around about people in a hateful way. This just reinforces the behavior. Haters look for acceptance and if you provide it, it adds fuel to the fire. They don't want to be singled out or called out. There's nothing worse to a hater than a reality check from a trusted outside source. Especially when that type of feedback is consistently being delivered. It's absolutely crushing. But it's exactly what they need to hear. 

Enter your email address to subscribe to my blog:

What does a healthy diet look like?

What do you eat? How often do you eat? How much do you eat? How many grams of carbs do you eat? How much more do you eat on training days? What about protein? How much fat is too much fat? 

These are all questions I get from folks on a DAILY basis. And my answers is always the same: blank stare. Actually I usually ask the person why they need to have this information, or what benefit it will serve them. Maybe it's pure curiosity. Either way, I figured I could help myself out by creating this blog to refer folks to. What you do with the information and details contained within it are up to you. I no longer have a need to be obscure about my dietary lifestyle because the coach in me likes to lead by example. If anything, what I'd like for you to get out of this is that I have a system in place which I allow to evolve over time. My diet is not stagnant. It is not based on a book, a magazine article, a fad, a program, or a recommendation. I eat whatever I want, whenever I want it. Of course, it hasn't always been this way. But maybe you'll also discover through reading this how I managed to get where I am today...overcoming food addiction, self-hate, and a completely negative body image. Food is no longer my drug, it is my medicine and I never miss a dose. 

Language

Before I just spill the beans, I thought I'd start with language. Yup, because the way you talk about food is just as important as the food itself. I never use words like "allow, restrict, cleanse, detox, 30 days, or good/bad" to describe my food or my food choices. Never. Why not you ask? Well why would I? Those kinds of words and beliefs about food set the stage for failure. Emotional failure above all else: guilt, shame, unhappiness, depression, self-hate, and embarrassment just to name a few. And who enjoys emotional failure? No one. If I told myself a certain food is not allowed in my diet, what happens when I have it? FAILURE. If I restrict a certain food in my diet, what happens when I have it more often than I intended? FAILURE. Cleansing and detoxing = FAILURE. You're basically saying that you are full of poison and need to purge yourself. Yikes. No thanks. 30 days...what happens after 30 days?  FAILURE. Good food vs. bad food = ultimate FAILURE because as soon as you have one bad thing you've opened the door to a flood of bad choices and heavy guilt. 

Instead, I like to use words such as nourish, whole, real, delish, beautiful, colorful, vibrant, energy, satisfaction, excitement, happy, yummy, and fun to describe my food. Now doesn't that sound much more appealing? Thought so. 


Systems

How does having a system differ from goal setting or limiting food choices? A lot, actually. My system is not rigid nor is it permanently defined. I used to feel like shit all the time. Tired, irritable, lethargic, angry...miserable. I figured my inactivity and diet had a lot to do with it but I was too overwhelmed to change either. When I stopped making it my "goal" to live healthier and made it my priority, everything changed. I do not want to feel like shit all the time. It's no fun. Therefore I do things that make me feel amazing instead. Simple, really. Exercise plays a huge role in this and so do my food choices. I let this thinking lead the way. Because I want my food to give me energy AND make me happy (aka feel good), my food choices reflect that. Sometimes that means that my food choices feed into my social wellbeing or happiness; I enjoy dining out with my friends and loved ones and discovering new restaurants. Sometimes it means that my food choices feed into my financial wellbeing or happiness; I love bargain shopping and I find it fulfilling to support local farmers and eat seasonally. Sometimes it means that my food choices feed into my community wellbeing or happiness; I'm a leader by nature. I realize that people look up to me and rely on me for support, guidance, and information. I love to set a strong example for others. Basically, I eat for happiness. 


What does my diet look like? 

Ok, we've finally arrived at the meat and potatoes of the blog. Get it? Meat and potatoes? I'm funny, huh? Hopefully you've picked up some valuable insight along the way. You have? That's great! So here's some key things you should know about me and my lifestyle before we proceed:

  • I do not count calories
  • I do not measure or weigh my food
  • I do not follow any percentage breakdown for macro nutrients (i.e. 40% carbs, 30% protein, 30% fat) 
  • I do not tell myself that I can't have a certain food
  • I am a very active person and I prefer my weights HEAVY
  • I am 5'9", just under 170lb, and around 20% body fat
  • None of the above things were true several years ago

Alrighty, ready? Of course you are.  And by the way, this list does not include everything I eat or don't eat, just the things that came to mind and foods that most people ask about. And as I said before, my food choices are not based on any program or opinion. My food system is very simple: I eat foods that contribute to my happiness in some way and not foods that don't. 


Things I eat everyday

  • A boatload of vegetables. Like seriously a huge amount of veggies (especially leafy greens). Kale, spinach, arugula, romaine lettuce, green and red cabbage, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, carrots, squash (basically whatever is in season)
  • Fresh herbs: cilantro, basil, thyme, rosemary, etc. 
  • Seeds...chia, flax, hemp, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, etc. They're in my water, my salads, my roasted veggies, my shakes, etc. Or, they're just in my hand.
  • COCONUT!! A staple in my diet. For no other reason than I freaking love it (technically not true; coconut is an extremely nutrient dense food). I like coconut shredded, raw, milk (pure from the can, not the carton), butter, oil, dried and roasted, etc. 
  • Chocolate. No, I'm not kidding. But, I'm not talking about Hershey's...I mean the real deal. No emulsifiers, no soy, no added flavors, minimal or no sugar. REAL chocolate with at least 85% cocoa content. Not because I want to restrict sugars, but because I genuinely, absolutely love real chocolate. Cocoa beans are another super nutrient-dense food! 

Things I eat several times per week

  • Eggs or egg whites
  • Steel cut oats cooked in (you guessed it) full fat coconut milk 
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fresh fruit (only in the summer months though) 
  • Avocado
  • Tomatoes

Things I eat about once per week

  • Fermented foods (kraut, pickles, miso, etc.)
  • Homemade bone broth or stock 
  • Pork
  • Plant-based protein shakes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Rice
  • Nuts
  • Sprouted beans
  • White fish or salmon
  • Tuna or sardines
  • Crab, lobster, or shrimp
  • Sausage, bacon, deli meat, salami, jerky (processed meat) 

Things I eat about once or twice per month

  • Restaurant food. It's almost always sushi (seaweed salad, hella pickled ginger, a big plate of sashimi, and a roll to share) or Thai (curry of some sort). 
  • Ice cream or cookies (or both, together)
  • Lamb & beef
  • Homemade popcorn (I pop it in coconut oil) 
  • Energy or protein bars

Things I eat a few times per year

  • Chips
  • Sandwiches
  • Burgers
  • Cereal
  • Bread
  • Cheese
  • Tortillas
  • Alcohol
  • Cupcakes/cake

Things I don't eat

Not because I restrict these things in my diet, but because I do not have a taste for them anymore. I simply don't want them and can't remember the last time I did. They don't even really exist in my food world.

  • Soda
  • Pasta
  • Pizza
  • Fried food
  • Fast food
  • Donuts
  • Juice
  • Candy bars (Twix, Snickers, etc.) 

So there you have it. My system works for me because it gives me the energy I need for my active lifestyle and it keeps me feeling good. I don't ever feel like I'm missing out on certain foods by politely declining when they are offered to me. If I don't want it, I won't eat it. And if I do want it, I will have it and enjoy it. Period. Also, I don't intentionally keep track of my intake. I've kept an active food journal for over 3 years now and I photograph all of my food so that's how I was able to compile this list. My system is not based on daily, weekly, or monthly "allowances" at all, I just happened to be able to compile the list in this way by referring to my journal. 

Moving on...

How much & how often? 

I don't track my intake like this, at all, so my answers will be estimations at best. I could go input my food over the past week or so into some kind of online tracker and measure out my meals for the rest of the day but that would be a waste of my time. What do I need that information for? How does it serve me? It doesn't. In fact, it would probably do more harm than good. I used to track and measure EVERYTHING. It drove me crazy. It feed into my food addiction and obsession. It made me very unhappy. I will never do it again. 

So, if I had to guess. I would say I probably consume about 2,500-3,000 calories per day divided out into 3-5 meals. I don't eat differently on different days. I eat based on my hunger levels and energy needs. If I'm not hungry, I don't eat. If I'm not hungry and I know I need to eat because I've been training, I'm about to train, or I've lost track of time since my last meal, then I try to eat SOMETHING. A piece of fruit with some coconut flakes. A hard boiled egg and avocado. Hummus and carrots. Something like that. 

And if I had to guess how much fat compared to protein compared to carbs I ate it might look something like: 40% fat, 25% carbohydrates, 35% protein. I eat a lot of fat. My body enjoys it and uses it efficiently. I need fat. I crave it. Same with protein. I don't feel satisfied unless I have protein in my meals. And no, it doesn't have to be meat. Plant based proteins are good for me too. I don't eat meat everyday. With carbs it's a different story. I crave them more and more when I have too much of them. How do I know I've had too much? I get bloated, my energy spikes and then crashes, I feel like I haven't slept in days, I feel intoxicated. I get that hazy mental fog. And it doesn't take much for this to happen to me. I prefer stable energy levels over spikes and crashes. I don't do caffeine and I don't know what it feels like to need it. I prefer food for fuel. 

I know my diet is right for me because my definition of a healthy diet is as follows:

  • gaining satisfaction, happiness, overall wellness and empowerment from food choices
  • gaining energy and nutrients applicable to your lifestyle from food choices

Basically, eating foods that make you feel and look the way you want to inside and out. (No, we can't see what we look like on the inside but our doctors can give us a pretty good idea). Given that definition, a healthy diet will always look different from person to person. Develop your own food system and allow it to change and grow with you. Don't restrict foods from your diet, redefine what it means to enjoy them. Change your attitude about carbs and fat. Keep an open mind and discover what works for you by trying something new. Do things differently. Those are all important elements to developing and maintaining a healthy diet. It's about so much more than just food choices. 

Enter your email address to subscribe to my blog:


?2015 Eat Suite | all rights reserved