One thing that I'm commonly asked about is how to be more mindful of nutrition and what goes into your body. With busy lives and work schedules, it's not always easy to be perfect with your diet. That doesn't mean that you immediately fail. As with running or nutrition, the day-to-day fluctuations matter much less than the entire scope of the week, or even the month. Taking time to do one thing each day that can make a difference will only help you in the long run.
Here's a quick and easy list of tips that can help you become more mindful:
This seems counter-intuitive to most people, but this is almost always the cause of weight gain or plateauing. Everything is going great - you're dieting, you're working out, and then suddenly the numbers on the scale stop going down. Most people get caught in a cycle of vicious under-eating in hopes that eating less means weighing less. The common knowledge has always been "calories in, calories out" and that IS true...to an extent. If you drop too low below your daily caloric needs, your body goes into a period of survival. This means that no matter how much you workout, your body will refuse to drop any excess weight. You absolutely need to meet these requirements if you have any hope of losing weight or gaining lean muscle. If you feel like you've been stuck at a plateau, even though your workouts have increased, it is very likely you are under-eating!
Drink more water.
Again, this seems like common knowledge! But most people do not drink enough water daily and, in fact, confuse dehydration for hunger. I recommend for my runners (and athletes alike) to drink at least half their body weight in ounces per day. If you workout in the heat or sweat heavily, I increase the daily requirements to an additional 1 ounce per minute of exercise. Keep in mind your electrolytes as well - I prefer to drink Nuun in my water, alternating one bottle of Nuun for every two bottles of water I drink each day. Nuun is great because it has no calories, drops into a water bottle easily, and gives the water a light taste without any added sugar.
Choose lean protein.
At 4 calories per gram, protein is one of the best choices you can make. Choosing a lean protein, such as chicken or turkey, will allow you to make a healthy meal choice that will leave you feeling full and prevent sugary cravings. Protein is also especially important post-workout, when our bodies are working overtime to rebuild muscle and protein absorption rate is at its peak. Choosing a high-quality protein, such as Paleo Protein (one of my absolute favorites!), within 30 minutes of your workout will provide the best recovery possible.
Vegetables are your friends.
You will never hear me say that you should turn down a vegetable. Vegetables are full of many important vitamins and minerals and, most importantly, full of satisfying fiber. For those of you that are quantity eaters like myself (because I like to eat and I like to eat a LOT!), vegetables give you the biggest bang for your buck! Hungry? I dare you to eat 200 calories of broccoli before your jaw gets tired. It's a great way to get your greens in and feel satisfied at the same time. Aim for at least two cups of vegetables at each meal. But truly, the more the merrier!
Set yourself up for success.
Don't give yourself the excuse of not having time or not having food in your fridge. Take a couple hours a week to prepare some food in your fridge. Many foods can be easily and quickly prepped ahead of time so that reaching into your fridge doesn't have to become a hassle. If you don't usually have time in the mornings, consider preparing some overnight oats for a quick grab-and-go morning meal. Bonus: add a scoop of protein powder to make a satisfying protein-packed balance breakfast. I try to always have one protein (usually chicken), one carbohydrate (sliced and baked sweet potato), and one vegetable (I love roasted cauliflower and broccoli! Yum!) ready to go in my fridge at all times! This allows me to mix and match my lunches by adding avocado or lemon juice so that I'm never bored!
If you have any more questions, please feel free to comment below! I'm happy to address any questions or concerns you might have in the nutrition realm!