It is the start of competition season in the weight-lifting world for those that plan to attend the American Open. I thought I would change gears and write an informational piece on how to eat clean as opposed to the normal tooth talk ;).
I want to preface this blog by saying that I am not a dietician, I am not a nutritionist, just a girl that lived in a house with a bodybuilder for a father that put her on Atkins when she gained the freshman fifteen (it was like ten, DAD!) and made sure that I ate enough protein by forcing me to eat two servings of breakfasts, lunches and dinner! Over the years, what worked for him did not work for me. Through trial and error I figured out what worked for me most. The kinds of foods, the amount of foods. It is not the diet(s) my husband has tried, it was not a cleanse. Simply, it was eating clean, real food, and not overeating! Food, in the right amount, that makes you feel good, fuels your body and doesn’t make you feel lethargic. How else can I do all I want to do?!?!
To me, clean eating is eating protein, fat and carbohydrate from real sources, at every meal, 5-6 times a day (even more some days). These are not packaged foods. They are not refined. Yes, I take vitamins daily but with a well balanced diet I know that there isn’t much need for the supplementation as you can very well be reaching your full spectrum of nutrients and vitamins. My protein comes mainly from animal sources and that includes whey protein. I love eggs and around weight cut time bring on all of the egg whites. My fats come from avocados, nuts and nut butters (in moderation because they taste too damn good), olives and oils. I don’t really enjoy butter or coconut oil but they are good sources as well. When I am cutting weight to reach a required weight for competition purposes I start to weed out a lot of my fats and manipulate the timing of those that do remain in my diet (zilch after a workout). I do really notice that my skin dries out, my hair and scalp. It’s not pretty, but a girl has to do what she has to do to make competition weight on game day. My carbohydrate source is what works for me best and that is almost exclusively vegetables. I LOVE vegetables. I would eat a head of cauliflower a day if I could. Lately I have been eating a ton of broccoli, zucchini, squash, peppers, cauliflower, spinach, kale, asparagus, mushrooms. I add a little fruit to my diet, mostly apples, oranges, bananas, berries, but usually a couple bites and that's it. Fructose isn't the most satiating for me. I eat sweet potato. When cooked well it gets real sweet and I can easily loose self control so again, I have to make sure to limit the yams. Every now and again I like a good whole grain bread product, I enjoy their flavor but I am so much more satiated after eating a lot of vegetables and the right kinds. I usually avoid white potato as I have heard that after a potato is digested it can be equal to a lot more sugar than I care to have. I’m not the biggest fan of sugar. I avoid added sugar as much as I can and even avoid those prepackaged bars that are of nuts and fruits because of the sheer amount of sugar, even if it is from a natural source.
I am human and have my cravings. Usually it is for sweets and that signifies to me that I need more carbohydrate in my diet because sweets are a dense source of carbohydrate. I’ll give in when I feel my diet needs more carbohydrate or because I hit a wall where the thought of even MORE asparagus and broccoli disgusts me but I find that my cravings are pretty minimal if I am eating my veggies.
Water consumption: Drink water. All day, every day. I typically drink 1 gallon of water a day, and on a weight cut 1.5-2 gallons. With the constant water consumption my body retains a lot less water and the constant water intake keeps my body burning calories a lot longer. Plus, we feel much better, alert and supple when well hydrated.
I don’t typically count calories or macros often. I only do so once every couple weeks or maybe months to make sure I am eating a well balanced diet. It is easy to fall into a routine and weeks can go by and you have been depriving your body of essential fats or macros or becoming accustomed to eating way more than you need. We are creatures of habit and habits can be hard to break but that is why a challenge of a diet can be so rewarding! 48kg body weight, I'll see you again very soon!