Nutrition is 100% the hardest part of this whole journey. I can be on my exercise GAME. But I will not, and have not, seen progress when I am not on a consistent healthy meal plan.
So what’s a consistent healthy meal plan, how to I create one, and how in the SAM HECK do I stick to it?!
A consistent healthy meal plan is a daily menu that you have created according to your current workout program and your fitness goals. This plan takes into account your caloric target, daily expenditure, and target MACROs.
How do I create one?!
This is why nutrition is the hardest part. You could sit down with a pen and paper and write out a meal plan with the healthiest foods in the world. But, if you don’t know how much food you should be eating, when you should eat, and the number of servings within your MACRO’s that you should consume… then eating all the healthiest foods in the world may not be advantageous to your goals at all.
I recommend reaching out to a nutritionist or purchasing a program with a meal guide that is customized to you and the workout you’re doing.
My current workout program has a calorie equation where I plug in my weight and weight goals (loss or maintenance) and it takes into account the estimated number of calories burned during my workout to give me a number I should target for my daily caloric intake! I am then given the number of servings I should be eating of fruits, vegetables, carbs, proteins, healthy fats, seeds/dressings and provided with a container for each to make sure I’m eating exact servings sizes.
This plan simplifies EVERYTHING & I can then take all this information and type it out into a daily menu that you will LOVE.
How in the SAM HECK do I stick to it?
Consistency, support and reminders. It took me a while to get through programs without falling off my nutrition plan. It wasn’t until I was SUPER STRICT and MINDFUL of my goals and plan that it started to get easier. The longer you stick to a routine the easier it becomes – HABIT. Clean eating became a habit for me. I know exactly what I’ll be eating at what times.
There are no other options in the house because I walk the same path at the grocery store each week and don’t pick up anything extra. This goes along with the second part, SUPPORT. You can’t expect to rely solely on your strong will and goal oriented mindset to help you stick to your plan. If the rest of your family is ordering pizza and offering you some, it’s more than likely you will give in. Seek their support, share your goals, and if possible get them to start this healthy journey with you!
Also, if you have to make an entirely separate dinner for your kids, it’s likely that will become a pain rather than a habit.
*Side note: Why would you buy something for your kids that you wouldn’t eat for your healthy self? Be a role model for your kids and show them how to be healthy. Skip the frozen chicken nuggets and snacky cheese it-z cracker type foods. They aren’t going to help you get healthy, they won’t help your kids.
Reminders: My meal plan is on my fridge, printed, in pretty colorful font.
I get busy throughout the day so I set reminders in my phone when I should be eating so I don’t forget!
Nutrition is the KEY to weight loss -- consistent weight loss does not happen with exercise alone-- it is a proven scientific fat. After about the 8th week of an exercise program, studies have shown, individuals will plateau if they are not on a nutrition plan.
Get on one TODAY. Start your journey TODAY.
Pla-teau: a state of little or no change following a period of activity or progress.
1. Workout 3+ times per week. During a typical week I workout 5-6 days for about 30 minutes per day! If I feel like I need a recovery day I take it.
2. Increase weight (Overload principal)
3. Cross train. Don't do the same exercise modality each day. Try doing a combination of high intensity cardio, endurance and resistance training each week. If you like machines switch on an off between the treadmill, stair stepper, bike and elliptical. Don't just spin for days. You may even need to mix things up and try a Boot Camp at your local gym or switch programs for a week or two.
4. Going along with number three, up your intensity 2-3 days per week (high intensity cardio). And increase the amount of time you workout the days in between (endurance or resistance).
5. Stretch and foam roll frequently. Your body may become fatigued and may cause you to slow down. Make sure you take time to tend to your sore muscles. If you don't allow them to recover properly with stretching and foam rolling your gains won't increase and you likely injure yourself (speaking from experience, ooops!)
6. Switch up your diet. I can't tell you how many times I've tweeked my diet. I've finally figured out how to coordinate my diet with my workouts each day to provide the most beneficial energy source and outcomes. Diet is crucial so if you're feeling like you've reach a plateau re-evaluate your meal plan!
7. Start working out with someone stronger than you. If you've been on your individual fitness program for 6 weeks and your feeling a plateau coming on, find someone stronger than you to be your workout buddy. They'll push you to the limits you couldn't do by yourself. Not only that, they'll be able to spot you on heavy lifts too!
8. Start counting your calories again. When we get into the groove of our fitness programs we don't need to count calories all the time because it just becomes habit. However, if you haven't counted in a while it may be time to check how many you're consuming each day. It's very likely you're not consuming enough for the energy you're expending.
9. Are you drinking enough water? Up your water consumption if you're feeling that sluggish plateau. Water makes up around 80% of our cells providing for the proteins and glycogen. If you're not drinking enough your body may not be functioning properly to recover.
10. Sleep. This may seem like an obvious one, but so many of us don't get enough of it! This is the time for your body to recover. If you're not getting 6-7 hours of adequate sleep then of course you're going to feel the plateau.