Intuitive Eating: How I Found Freedom from Food & Transformed My Body

I’ll never forget it.

I woke up in the middle of the night with cold sweats — likely a sign of my body going crazy from trying to digest all the food from the binge I had before I went to sleep.

It was 3 a.m., and I couldn’t wait until the morning so I could wake up, go to the gym, do cardio and ‘burn off’ all the food I ate when I seemingly blacked out the night before.

“What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I stop doing this? Why can’t I just stick to my damn meal plan?” I would ask myself every day, and feel even MORE guilty every time it happened. I was getting more and more frustrated, because despite sticking to a super strict meal plan most days of the week (until I couldn’t sustain it any more and I would overeat on the weekends), I was actually GAINING weight.

“THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY,” I thought to myself. “I can’t keep sticking to this rigid meal plan of chicken and broccoli — it’s not even giving me the results I want!”

Ironically enough, I thought I was a walking billboard of the epitome of health: giving advice to my friends and family about the importance of eating veggies and protein, spending hours a day glued to my phone tracking every single calorie on My Fitness Pal, even throwing out an Oreo my boyfriend gave me because I was too scared to eat it (only to go home and secretly binge that night because I felt so restricted, of course).

Little did I know, my obsession with my ‘healthy’ diet was destroying my life:

My relationships with friends and family suffered — I had no social life because I was too scared to go out to eat for fear that I would eat ‘off my meal plan’. I became distracted from my job because I was ALWAYS thinking about food: what am I going to eat next? OMG my co-workers want to go to lunch — QUICK! GIVE ME MY PHONE! I HAVE TO TRY TO FIT THAT INTO MY MACROS!!!

And most importantly, my relationship with myself suffered. I completely lost trust in myself. I felt out of control around food. I hated what I saw when I looked in the mirror (even when I probably looked ‘normal’ to the outside world). I was constantly obsessing over food and my body, and spent every moment of my day: from the minute I woke up, to the minute I went to sleep, thinking some form of thought about food or exercise.

It’s taken me 5 years and TONS of trial and error, but I can confidently say I’m at a place where I have a healthy relationship to food now: one where I’m not controlled my counting calories, following a meal plan, or jumping around from diet to diet.

And that’s what I want to share with you today. <3

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Why Meal Plans Don’t Work

Before we get into all the practices I used to find true food freedom, can we just be real about something?

Following a strict meal plan is unsustainable.

You can only eat chicken and broccoli or spend hours every day glued to your phone tracking macros for so long before you want to raid the fridge, cover yourself in peanut butter and chocolate syrup, and dip pretzels into the gooey delicious goodness until you’re so full you physically can’t breathe.

No but seriously — not only is following a strict meal plan BORRRRING, it deprives us of many of the essential micronutrients our bodies need to function and thrive. I know personally when I was on a strict meal plan, it was pretty low in calories (especially healthy fats), and I actually stopped getting my period for a WHOLE YEAR.

Putting things into perspective, I didn’t want to risk never being able to have children for the sake of being a tiny bit smaller, so I knew it was time to change things up and not be so rigid with what I was feeding myself.

To find out if your current diet or way if eating is sustainable, check in with yourself:

Can you eat the way you’re eating now, 5 years from now?

If the answer is no, simply put: what you’re doing is unsustainable.

Does this sound like you?:

  • Maybe you’ve realized you don’t want to be stuck on a rigid meal plan or counting calories/macros for the next few years of your life, and you want to learn how to eat in a way that supports your goals and healthy lifestyle.

  • Maybe you’re currently stuck in the binge/deprive cycle and are scared that if you DO get off your strict meal plan during the week, it will make the binges that much worse and you’ll never be able to stop eating.

  • Maybe you don’t want to be tracking macros or religiously following a meal plan forever (ask yourself the sustainability question: Can I eat this way 5 years, 10 years down the road? If the answer is no, it’s unsustainable and it would serve you to explore ways of healthy eating that you can actually stick to enjoy with minimal effort).

If that sounds like you, I want you to know you’re not alone. I felt stuck in the binge/deprive, all-or-nothing, completely ON the bandwagon or face down in a bag of chips cycle for YEARS.

There IS a better way. With some time and patience, along with the tips I’m going to share with you today, you CAN live a genuinely healthy lifestyle and create a body and life you love — free from drama and stress surrounding food and your body.

Making Health a Lifestyle Instead of a Diet

SO, how can you create a truly sustainable healthy lifestyle? One where you can eat healthy, but also indulge and not feel guilty? One where you don’t have to obsess over calories or carbs or fats or protein? One where you’re not glued to a strict meal plan and go completely off the rails if you ever ‘cheat’ on your diet? And one where you can control your weight almost effortlessly by following some light, not overly intense structure?

I’m going to share with you the top tips that have helped me ditch the drama surrounding food, create a healthy relationship to food, fuel my body, go out to eat with my friends, eat well without being restrictive, and weigh what I want with minimal effort once I established healthy habits.

Here are the practices that helped me go from diet and body obsessed, to intuitive eating with light structure.

Boy oh boy does FOOD FREEDOM feel so good. Can’t wait for you to experience it.

Disclaimer About My “Style” Of Intuitive Eating

Just to be upfront, I don’t follow ‘intuitive eating’ 100% by the book. I believe each of us has a personal, unique relationship to food, and while some people may love the idea of being liberated to eat whatever they want, I’ve found that having some light structure works well for me to stay on track and have energy throughout the day.

Biologically, if we eat more sugar, we tend to crave more sugar — which is why I’m not a huge fan of ‘eating whatever you want, whenever you want,’ because that can lend to creating unhealthy habits on the opposite end of the spectrum and create a whole other host of health issues: heart disease, diabetes, insulin resistance, weight gain and high cholesterol to name a few.

That being said, if I want a donut occasionally, I eat it without guilt — I just don’t feel the need to eat a dozen donuts like I would’ve back in my all-or-nothing, binge and deprive days.

I don’t label or pigeon-hole myself into one category of eating. I’m not paleo, gluten free, an intuitive eating pro, yada yada… I just eat in a way that feels good for my body, and I deeply respect anyone who has to follow a certain style of eating for health reasons (i.e. gluten free because of Celiac).

I will never stand on a high horse and say “my way of eating is the ONLY way.” It’s not. This is simply me sharing my experience of ditching meal plans and diets, and learning to eat in a way that keeps me looking and feeling my best.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive in to the good stuff!

My Top Tips to Help You Eat Intuitively with Light Structure, Ditch the Food Drama and Weigh What You Want

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Some of these tips are more philosophical and will cause you to dig deep and really think about your life (grab yo journal and let’s dive deep, hunny!) Others are very simple and practical — little habits that you can start implementing into your life immediately.

I recommend reading through all of the tips and seeing what really hits home with you right now. We’re all unique individuals with different relationships to food, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to creating freedom from food. This is not intended to diagnose or cure anyone from an eating disorder — please seek professional help if you believe you have patterns of disordered eating. This is simply to help you ditch the drama surrounding food, and start creating true freedom and happiness in your life so that you don’t waste another minute obsessing over things that aren’t serving you.

BIG HUGS, friend. I’m here to guide you along this journey if you need me.

1. MINDFULNESS: Am I truly hungry?

A lot of times, we eat out of reasons other than true hunger: we’re bored, lonely, anxious, celebrating something special, or it’s a random Tuesday night and work was hard and you feel like you ‘deserve’ that ice cream even though you’re not actually hungry. Tuning in to your body’s signs of TRUE hunger takes practice and it takes time, so don’t expect to become a master of this over night. And everyone’s body is different: some people may feel a slight rumbling in their stomach when it’s time to eat, other people tend to experience a bit of lightheadedness or dizziness because their blood sugar gets a bit too low.


When I’m hungry, I can FEEL it. My stomach starts to growl (even after I’ve had a glass of water), I get a bit lightheaded, and despite my best efforts — I tend to get a bit “hangry.” When you’re wondering whether you’re actually hungry or just bored/tired/anxious/excited/stressed/eating out of any other emotion, take a second to take a deep belly breath and ask yourself, “What am I really hungry for right now?” Sometimes you’ll find it’s not food at all — maybe you’re bored, so go for a walk. Maybe you’re lonely: call a friend. Maybe you’re anxious: take a bubble bath and read, or do the task you’ve been putting off. If you’re truly physically hungry, EAT of course! But check in with yourself first to see if you’re physically hungry or emotionally hungry.

2. FINDING A PURPOSE: What fills me up, other than food?

This is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT thing that’s changed my relationship to food. Let’s be real: sometimes when we eat (maybe a lot of the time), it’s not food we’re really hungry for. We use food in place of connection, when we’re feeling anxious or lonely, when we’re bored, when we’re not happy with our job, as a temporary escape from all our struggles and stresses, and for many other reasons that don’t involve true hunger.

That’s why I love the concept of primary foods (you can listen to this podcast about primary foods v. secondary foods, and using things other than food — friends, hobbies, relationships, time with ourselves — to truly fill us up).

Essentially, primary foods aren’t actually ‘food’ at all, but rather the things that fill us up other than food. For example, have you ever worked on something you’re passionate for hours and forgotten to eat? Or you’re so deeply in love that you don’t even really think about food? THAT is the place we want to operate from the most — where we’re so deeply involved with what we’re doing that food is no longer the primary focus and thing we obsess about ALL day long.

There have certainly been points in my life where ALL I’ve thought about is food: how much should I eat? When is my next meal? Is this the right food to eat? Not to mention the HOURS I’d spend on my phone every day trying to fit all my macros into one magical little puzzle piece. When your focus and energy is consumed by FOOD all the time, you have little time and space left for things in life that really matter: relationships, hobbies, your job, and other things that can fill you up. I also found that when I wasn’t truly happy in a certain area of my life (my job, for example), I tended to micromanage my food even more — because I thought if I could just control my food and the way my body looked, it would make everything in my life ‘better.’ Hint: it did not. I just made me even LESS happy.

If you find yourself obsessing over food, it’s usually because you’re trying to avoid a BIGGER problem you have going on in your life right now. It takes a lot of courage to confront what you need to change, but it will ultimately make you a happier, healthier person — and chances are, it will solve a huge chunk of the ‘food problems’ you have right now, that are acting as a mask to cover up what you’re avoiding.

3. Do a Social Media Audit

You may be thinking, “How does social media correlate to my body? I just need to eat better and I’ll lose weight.” But a lot of our perceptions are influenced by social media, our news feeds, what we see in magazines and TV shows, and anything else we consume on a daily basis.

When we fill our social feeds with ‘inspiration’ of our ‘dream body,’ sometimes it can actually work against us when we don’t already have a healthy relationship with food and our bodies.

Take an audit of your social media right now: how much time are you spending on your apps every day? Who are you following? How do you feel after you’ve been mindlessly consuming your social media feed for way longer than you’d like to?

The key is to unfollow anyone who makes you feel less than your best — even if it’s someone you look up to but subconsciously compare yourself to. Ask yourself, “Does this person make me feel better about myself?” and if the answer is NO — unfollow them. You can always follow them again in the future after you’ve established a healthier relationship with food and your body and no longer feel tempted to compare yourself to them (which is very hard to do… we’re all human).

I do social media cleanses on the regular, because just like you, I get sucked into the comparison trap. Whenever I find that I’m more anxious and less happy than usual, I delete my apps for a few days and I quickly realize that my happiness increases by 100% (because I’m focusing on my REAL life that’s right here in front of me and taking the time to appreciate what I have in my life right here, right now).

If you want to learn more about doing social media audits or my cleanses, I created a whole FREE e-book for you called Unplug: 7 Days to Declutter Your Inbox, Stop the Obsessive Scrolling, and Become Stress-Free, Relaxed & Happy. You can download it right here. It was also one of the first few episodes I did on my podcast — make sure you’re subscribed on iTunes or Spotify because I plan to do an updated one soon!

4. GPF: Creating light structure around food choices.

This is where the traditional “intuitive eaters” may not agree with my approach, but that’s OK. As I mentioned in the intuitive eating disclaimer in the beginning of this, I don’t follow ‘intuitive eating’ 100% by the book. I believe each of us has a personal, unique relationship to food, and while some people may love the idea of being liberated to eat whatever they want, I’ve found that having some light structure works well for me to stay on track and have energy throughout the day.

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Biologically, if we eat more sugar, we tend to crave more sugar — which is why I’m not a huge fan of ‘eating whatever you want, whenever you want,’ because that can lend to creating unhealthy habits on the opposite end of the spectrum and create a whole other host of health issues: heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and high cholesterol. That being said, if I want a donut occasionally, I eat it without guilt — I just don’t feel the need to eat a dozen donuts like I would’ve back in my all-or-nothing, binge and deprive days.

That’s why I created the GPF style of eating, which stands for Greens, Protein, and Fat. It’s how I create every single meal so that I’m getting all the nutrition I need, without eating too little or too much. It’s not meant to be restrictive — in fact, I eat a lot MORE with this way of eating than I ever did when I was measuring out every grain of rice I was consuming. Instead, you eat as many veggies as you want, add some protein and healthy fats to keep your hormones humming and happy, and add a serving of fiber/carbs if you’re active and you need it.

I also make sure that 90% of my nutritional choices come from real, whole foods: if it has 1 ingredient, it’s probably good for you. I eat an abundance of veggies, fruits, proteins, nuts, seeds, and some grains like oatmeal or rice. I mostly shop the perimeter of the grocery store, as that’s where you’ll find all the fresh produce and meats with minimal added/processed ingredients. No matter what, I always make sure my plate has a ton of colour on it. When in doubt, EAT THE RAINBOW :) The more colour, the better.

I’ve spoken in depth about GPF on my podcast and in this blog if you’d like to dig in, as I could go on and on and rave about this style of eating for 928347 years — that’s how transformative this style of eating has been for my life!

5. Eat Bigger Meals Instead of Snacks

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As I mentioned in my last point, the GPF style of eating is created to help you eat a variety of foods and stay full for a longer period of time: I’m talking 4-5 hours. The GPF smoothie I make in the morning literally keeps me full for a few hours until lunch, which is INSANE for a girl who loves to eat and used to eat little mini portions every 1-2 hours.

Here’s the truth: you’re probably consuming way more calories with your “snack” than if you were to just have a smaller portion of a meal. Here’s what I mean: let’s say you reach for almonds as a snack. I don’t know about you, but I can literally eat 10 handfuls of almonds and STILL feel hungry. Almonds are a great source of healthy fats, but that doesn’t mean they’re a free-for-all if you’re trying to maintain or lose weight. They’re very easy to overeat, and it’s easy to eat 500+ calories in just a few handfuls. For that amount of calories, you could be WAY more full and satisfied with a meal consisting of 6 oz. chicken, 1 avocado, 1/2 cup of rice, and an abundance of veggies.

At first it seems counterintuitive to have a meal instead of a snack, because we think, “Oh, this will take too much time.” or “I just ate, I shouldn’t have a meal again.” But it really doesn’t take much more time and like I said, it’s probably less calories than you’re consuming as a snack.

Instead of snacking, start to think of it as a ‘mini meal.’ Incorporate protein, veggies, healthy fats and maybe a carb source into every snack you have. And when you make your GPF meals appropriately, you won’t usually feel hungry for a snack — you can just stick to 3 bigger meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner. But if you ARE physically hungry (see tip #1!), here are a few ‘mini meal’ ideas you can use in place of snacks:

  • 2 hardboiled eggs + sliced veggies and 2 tbsp. hummus

  • 4 oz. chicken, turkey or any kind of meat + 1/2 avocado + any veggies you want

  • a salad full of veggies + chicken + olive oil and balsamic vinegar

  • 1 apple or banana with 1-2 true tablespoons of peanut or almond butter

It may take some time and preparation to have these healthier alternatives on hand, but it’s well worth the effort when you have something healthy and nutritious ready to eat.

Always remember to check in with yourself and ask, “What am I really hungry for?” before reaching for a snack. Often times we snack because we’re bored or trying to procrastinate instead of eating for true, physical hunger. Try drinking a full glass of water, waiting 20 minutes, and THEN eating if you still feel physically hungry.

6. Stay Accountable to Portion Sizes

As I mentioned, just because something is healthy or a whole food, doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want of it with no consequences. Although foods like avocados, nuts, and nut butters are great sources of healthy fats — eating them (or any food) in excess can cause you to gain weight.

If your goal is to maintain or lose weight, it’s important to stay accountable to your portion sizes. Having a food scale is a good way to do this, but if you don’t want to feel like you’re micromanaging your food, being obsessive about it, or you’re simply traveling and don’t want to bring a food scale, using your hand is an amazing way to keep yourself accountable to accurate portion sizes.

This is an infographic I love from Precision Nutrition (source: Precision Nutrition Calorie Control Guide):

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7. Adopt an Abundance Mindset Surrounding Food

Something I tell myself whenever I eat is: There’s more where that came from. (Side note: I also use this mantra whenever I spend money to reinforce that whenever I spend, it will come back to me. This mantra has helped me develop a healthier relationship to food AND money, which are actually more closely related than you may think.)

Adopting an abundance has helped me ditch the all-or-nothing mindset surrounding food more than anything else, because it reinforces the fact that I don’t need to eat it all RIGHT NOW — I can always eat it tomorrow.

I always like to use this analogy with my clients: Imagine you dropped your phone on the ground and it cracked. Would you pick it up and continue throwing it on the ground — smashing it into a million pieces? Or would you accept that the damage is done, and that you don’t need to do any more damage?

It’s the same with our diet — just because you ate a donut, spaghetti, pizza, whatever the heck you wanted at the time — does NOT mean you need to eat everything else in your kitchen because this is the last time you will ever see those foods. The donut, spaghetti, pizza, popcorn, ice cream will ALL exist tomorrow. You can ALWAYS eat the second cookie tomorrow. You do not need to eat it all right now.

If I could get all the hours back after someone says, “f* it, I’ll just start again tomorrow/on Monday”, I could’ve saved the person MONTHS of frustration of trying to reach their goals without getting anywhere.

Don’t start again on Monday or tomorrow. Start at your very next meal. Chug a glass of water. Walk away. Remove yourself from the situation. And MOVE. ON.

8. Keep a Food Journal/Habit Tracker to Stay Consistent

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One of my favorite ways to stay consistent in my training and nutrition is through journaling. I track all my workouts in a notebook so that I can see my progress over time, and the same applies to my nutrition when I want to dial things in and really get back on track.

You can use a physical journal or an app like MyFitnessPal, but to be honest, if we’re trying to get over the obsessive tendencies surrounding food and you’re triggered by numbers (i.e. how many protein, fats, carbs you’re consuming), it’s probably best to use a physical food journal where you don’t keep track of calories.

Keeping the food journal/habit tracker helps in ways beyond sticking to ‘healthy eating.’ It helps me identify different food patterns — for example, if I have a lot of carbs like oatmeal for breakfast, even though it’s good for me, I tend to crave carbs for the rest of the day. It’s also a good way to note your reaction to your meals. How do you feel after you eat? Does your skin break out? Do you feel bloated? Do you feel like you need a nap? All of these can be signals that you have sensitivities to certain foods, which may play a part in keeping you from reaching your goals.

Here’s an example of my food journal/habit tracking practice:

  • Breakfast (10 am): GPF smoothie with 1 scoop protein powder, 2 handfuls of spinach, 2 tbsp. chia seeds, cinnamon, cocoa powder, 1 tbsp. almond butter

    • feeling energized and full, but not overly stuffed.

    • stayed full for 4 hours until lunch

  • Lunch (2 pm): big a** salad with a bunch of romaine, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, 1 can of salmon, 1 small avocado, balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp. hummus

You get the point… and on a not-so-ideal day, it may look like this:

  • 3 pm: donut from the break room at work. didn’t get much sleep last night so started crashing and craving sugar. I feel bloated and lethargic after eating it — it made me feel better for a few minutes but now I’m crashing again. (and the next day I may notice my skin is breaking out or the bags under my eyes are bigger, for example)

Then, at the bottom of my food journal/habit tracker for the day, I keep track of these other variables:

  • Number of steps on my Fitbit

  • How my skin looks

  • How much water I drank

  • The workout I did

  • My mood throughout the day (this can be greatly affected by how well I eat!)

  • Overall thoughts, feelings or things I need to note, i.e. cravings because of my period

I go through phases where I track all of these variables religiously if I’m trying to figure out something specific — like why I’m getting headaches every day, why I’m so tired, why my skin is breaking out, etc. And then there are other times where I just live my life and don’t track anything at all — mostly when I’m in maintenance mode and trying to just enjoy my life.

If you’re trying to get to the bottom of a medical condition (skin problems, hair falling out, low energy, bloating, weight gain), it’s worth a try to keep one of these food journals/habit trackers so you can show your doctor or nutrition coach. I find that this way of tracking doesn’t make me obsessive, but I think of myself as a detective that’s trying to get to the bottom of something — my health! It’s something fun and enjoyable to me because I genuinely love journaling and tracking things, but if I ever find it gets too be too much or I’m too dependent on it, I stop doing it. Simple as that. :)

9. Be Discerning: Grandma’s Homemade Pie > Stale Chocolate Chip Cookies

Is it really worth it to eat the stale grocery-store baked cookies that have been in the break room at work for 5 days now? Probably not. Being discerning means actively choosing what you’re going to indulge in, versus just eating something you don’t even really want just because it’s there.

Being discerning allows you to indulge without guilt because it’s going to be an amazing sensory experience and totally worth it — think: grandma’s fresh apple pie that you only get to eat once per year at Thanksgiving. Or making homemade pizzas at home with your partner as a date night.

Being discerning can also be translated to DON’T SETTLE FOR MEDIOCRITY. Ain’t nobody got time for stale relationships, a stale career, a stale sex life — so why settle for stale food that you don’t even really want? Delay the instant gratification of what you want NOW for what you want MOST. Indulge when it feels good to you, make it something special, and have the confidence to say no to something you know won’t make you feel good in the long run.

10. SLEEP, Relax and Reduce Stress

I know, I know — this is likely the point in the article where you start to roll your eyes. “I don’t have time to sleep.” “Sleep isn’t really that important, is it?”

As much as I wish we could stay up into the wee hours of the night and wake up super early and still see results in our bodies, such is not the case. Not only does a lack of sleep increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance and heart disease (among many others), just look at your own personal experience when you’re lacking sleep. Chances are, you’re craving sugar or high-carb foods, and you reach for a donut or a third cup of coffee at 3 pm because you’re crashing and burning hard. And maybe the most painful fact of all — you feel like you’re doing everything ‘right’ in terms of your workouts and nutrition, but you’re still not seeing the results you’re looking for.

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Along with sleep, stress management plays a HUGE role in your overall health. If you find yourself constantly stressed or anxious, look at your sleeping patterns — they are likely correlated (you lack sleep, so you feel more stressed and anxious, and vice versa, fueling the vicious cycle).

Just as you hopefully have a morning routine by now, it will serve you to also have a nighttime routine. For me, this looks like no screen time (TV, phone or computer) an hour before bed, washing my face with my fave non-toxic skincare products, reading a book, writing in my journal, and sleeping like a baby.


11. Increase Your Activity Outside the Gym

Spending time in the gym is important if you’re trying to change your body composition. But let’s say you spend an hour in the gym a few days per week — what about the other 23 hours in the day? You’re likely sitting in your car driving to/from work, sitting on your computer at work, coming home and sitting and watching TV.

There’s a magical thing called non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), which is the amount of calories we burn doing things throughout the day. This means that by increasing your NEAT, you increase the overall amount of calories you burn throughout the day — which is great news and a pretty easy habit to get on board with if your goal is weight loss.

There are so many ways to increase NEAT, even if you have a full-time desk job. For example: park in the farthest parking spot wherever you go, take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk or bike to work, go for a walk on your lunch break, do some squats in the bathroom stall at work, create a stand-up desk at your computer, do laundry, clean your house, garden, take up an active hobby like an intramural league, take dance classes, do yoga, stretch… the possibilities are endless, and it doesn’t have to be super tough physical activity that’s going to leave you exhausted.

Moral of the story: move your body more and it will thank you!

Side note: you don’t HAVE to go to the gym if you don’t like it. Weight training is super trendy right now, but if it’s not your jam, don’t try to fit yourself into that mold and end up doing nothing at all! Dance, do yoga, go for long walks or hikes — whatever floats your boat, makes you happy, and you can be consistent with for the long haul, DO MORE OF THAT, SISTA.

12. Check In: What’s the Best Choice I Can Make Right Now?

Along with my other favorite mantra, “What am I really hungry for right now?” I also like to check in with myself to see what my body really needs at this moment by asking, “What’s the best choice I can make right now?”

This comes in handy if you’re traveling or out of your usual environment, and maybe you’re not really sure what you should order at a restaurant. Ask yourself, “What’s the best choice I can make in this moment?” — maybe that’s a bunless burger with a side of sweet potato fries. Maybe that’s your grandma’s homemade pie because that’s what your soul is craving. Maybe it’s a grilled chicken salad with avocado because you didn’t sleep well last night and you’re trying to beat those dreaded sleep-deprived sugar cravings.

100% of your best is going to be different every day — do not let that stop you from making progress. What’s ONE small step you can take today in the direction of your goals? And to break it down even farther: what’s the best choice you can make for yourself at each meal?

Sometimes all it takes to make positive changes in your life is awareness of your current habits, and a willingness to change and correct course when what you’ve been doing hasn’t been working for you. Asking yourself, “What’s the best choice I can make right now?” is a simple way to start doing that.

13. Develop a Healthier Mindset About Food

This one could really be at the top of the list, because it’s one of the most important things that dictate your relationship to food.

After spending time around Mark’s family, I realized something remarkable about food. His mom takes love and care to prepare the food — sometimes taking all day to create various parts of a meal. This is something I was never exposed to as a child; I was raised by a single mom and a lot of the time we would just grab whatever was easiest and most convenient, and sit down at the TV to eat dinner.

I’m not blaming my mom — she’s an incredible human who absolutely gave me the best childhood she possibly could have. But after seeing a family sit around a dinner table and bond over a delicious meal that they’ve spent time preparing, I quickly realized that it’s not about the food at all. It’s about the connections you make, the laughs you share, and the topics you bond over while eating the food.

Think about some of the food rules that you hold as truth right now. Maybe it’s “bread is bad for you” or “carbs make you fat” or “fat makes you fat.” Then take a look at cultures around the world, like Italians who eat pasta and olive oil every day. Or Asian cultures whose main staple of a meal is rice. And ironically enough, Americans are the ones with the highest rate of obesity and heart disease, despite the fact that other cultures are eating what some of us may consider “bad” foods every single day.

So, expand your horizon. Travel to expose yourself to new cultures if you can. Watch Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat on Netflix. Buy a cookbook or check one out at the library so you can experience what it’s like to put a little labor of love into a meal.

Food is a part of our lives that will never go away — we HAVE to eat every day. So why not ENJOY it and use food as a way to bond, connect and celebrate, instead of something we demonize as bad, and spend our time obsessing over? *food for thought, no pun intended :)


Before we go, I want to manage expectations for you:

THIS. TAKES. PRACTICE. It won’t be a walk in the park. In fact, it will feel difficult at times — and you’ll feel pulled to revert back to a meal plan because that’s what feels ‘easier.’ Avoid that temptation, because that’s what got you to this point in the first place.

THIS WAY OF EATING TAKES TRIAL AND ERROR in the beginning. The first few months/years of eating this way does require a decent amount of mindfulness and effort, like the first year of going to the gym. Maybe you don’t want to wake up and lace up your shoes at 5 a.m., but do it for long enough and it becomes second nature and something you actually look forward to. The same is true with ditching food rules — it is HARD at first. You’re attached to tracking or counting or your way of doing things, even if you know it’s not working in your favor. Understand that you won’t be perfect at first. You WILL f*ck things up. And that’s ok… because the sooner you get back on track (and not feel guilty about it), the closer you are to living a life free from drama or stress surrounding food and your body.

And in the grander scheme of your whole life, taking a year to figure out a way to eat that will last the next 20, 30, 60 years of your life is worth it, wouldn’t you agree? :)

I want to hear from you!

Did you find these tips helpful? What does your relationship with food currently look like?

If you want someone to walk by your side for the year that you’re changing your relationship to food, I would be honoured to help. Apply for coaching here to schedule a free consultation with me and I’ll be in touch very soon!

Sending you so much love and positive vibes on this journey.

We’re all just here trying to be happy, healthy and free from the drama surrounding things that shouldn’t steal our energy. I hope you can take some tips away from this article to make your life even just 10% better, starting today.

All my love,

xo

Julie

>> All photos in this blog post were taken by the lovely Ellie. <<

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The 5 Biggest Myths About Health & Fitness | STOP THE NONSENSE PEOPLE!

If you'd rather listen to this blog post on my podcast, check it out here!

There are a lot of things in the health and fitness industry that make my eyes roll back into my head.

As a kid, my mom always told me that if I rolled my eyes, they'd get stuck there. GOOD THING THAT AIN'T THE CASE because I've probably rolled my eyes about 59,239,321 times since becoming a fitness professional. 

From the myth that women shouldn't lift weights because it makes them 'bulky,' to the concept of eating less and moving more = results.... laaaaawd. If I had a dollar for every B.S. claim I heard, I'd be lying on beach on my private island in Bimini right now with a butler handing me kombucha on tap.

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Realistically though, as an average Jane, it's hard to decipher what's actually true and what's lie.

I've mentioned this a bunch before, but the fitness industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that is built off of marketing. That means that industry professionals will dig deep to find out what you're insecure about, use that against you by making you think you're not good enough, and try to sell you their products.

Just to shed light on an example: If you've ever been told, "BUY THIS CELLULITE CREAM AND GET RID OF IT IN 5 DAYS!!!" This literally translates to: you have cellulite. therefore, there is something wrong with you. therefore, you are unworthy or unlovable. therefore, buy my cellulite cream so that you can get rid of that 'problem' and become 'hotter' because hot=worth, cellulite=not hot=not worthy. Obviously it sounds ridiculous when you spell it out like that, but this is essentially what they're getting at with their marketing. IT MAKES ME WANT TO PUKE. 

And while I could rant and rave about the problems in the fitness and health industries, and the lies that we've ALL been sold on (that I fell victim to as well for YEARS before I knew better)... I'm not down to be part of the problem.

I'm here to be part of the solution, which is why I want to share these fitness and health myths with you today!

The 5 Biggest Myths About Health & Fitness You Should STOP Believing ASAP

1. Lifting weights will make you bulky.

Lawd Jesus someone get me a soapbox for this one. 

For the first 3 years that I started working out, I would ONLY do cardio. This meant that for an hour every day, I'd spend my time be-boppin around on the elliptical. 

At the time, my main goal was weight loss (I had just gained the freshman 15 - which I explain in my fitness journey podcast), so I figured more cardio = weigh less. And while yes, I did lose weight going on the elliptical, I pretty much looked the same. Just 10 pounds lighter. 

And while that's all fine and dandy, I still didn't 'look' how I intended to look when I set out to reach my fitness goals: lean and toned. Because I was ONLY doing cardio, I had no muscle definition. And frankly, I got really bored, really fast (you can only spend so many hours on the same elliptical machine, am I right?)

So I knew I needed to do something different. Enter: strength training.

Not only did lifting weights give me that 'toned' and defined look I was looking for, I actually felt myself getting STRONGER. I talk in this video about how strength training saved my life, and gave me confidence in ways I didn't even know existed. It helped me heal from sexual abuse, my parent's divorce, and so much more — things I didn't even know I was holding resentment towards.

It gave me a tangible goal to work towards that wasn't related to my weight. I was super excited to go to the gym every day to try to improve upon what I did the day before. It gave me confidence in the way I looked. But most importantly: it allowed me to carry that confidence and strength I found by lifting weights into every area of my life — my relationships, my career, my self worth. 

I felt confident standing up for myself and what I wanted. I no longer settled for 'average' when it came to dating guys. I asked for a raise at work because I finally understood my worth.

ALL of this because I started lifting weights. (and it also led me down this career path so #winwin)

So no, you will not get bulky if you lift weights. What you WILL gain is confidence, courage, strength and acceptance of your body for what it does for you rather than how it looks.

 Left: only doing cardio every day; right: doing a mix of lifting weights + high intensity cardio a few times per week

Left: only doing cardio every day; right: doing a mix of lifting weights + high intensity cardio a few times per week

And, scientifically speaking, the more muscle mass you have on your body, the more calories you burn at rest. This means your metabolism speeds up when you have more muscle (more food, woo!) AND, if you do a high intensity weightlifting session like the ones laid out in my EMPOWER Challenge starting June 4, you'll keep burning calories for 24-48 hours, versus just doing cardio, where you STOP burning calories the minute you step off the treadmill or elliptical.

2. You can outwork a bad diet, as long as you train hard enough.

This one breaks my heart a little bit, but it's true: you can't outwork a bad diet.

And not even necessarily a 'bad' diet, but if you're consuming more calories than your body needs, you will gain weight — even if those calories are coming from avocados and oatmeal. 

Now, this doesn't mean you need to be glued to your phone and tracking every morsel of food in order to reach your goals. In fact, I've done that before and my results were NO better than when I was intuitive eating with light structure (my #GPF formula).

Unless you're an olympic level athlete who trains for 8+ hours per day, you probably WILL need to be mindful of the types of food you eat and your portion sizes. Most of us sit at a desk for work all day, and don't need nearly as many calories as we think we do. We eat for ALL types of reasons other than hunger throughout the day: boredom, tiredness, anxiety, depression. And even if you're in the gym 1-2 hours per day, you won't be able to 'burn off' all the extra calories or poor food choices. 

It's true that in order to get down to certain levels of leanness or if you're an athlete, you may need to start tracking your intake to get results (I talk about this in this blog post), but for the average person, you can focus on the following:

Most of your calories should come from whole food sources. When you do indulge, watch your portion sizes and be discerning about what you choose to indulge in (i.e. opting for Grandma's pie that you only eat once per year vs. mindlessly picking at stale chocolate chip cookies in the break room that show up every other day). Eat when you're genuinely hungry, stop when you're about 80% full. Drink a lot of water.

Most people tend to overcomplicate things when it comes to nutrition, but if you truly follow those principles, you could easily reach your goals with little to no stress or drama surrounding food.

3. You NEED supplements to get results. 

As I mentioned in the intro, the fitness industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. A lot of that money comes from supplements — meaning companies will try to make you believe that you need their products in order to get results. 

If you're eating as I explained in point #2, you will not need supplements to get results.

Supplements are just that — they SUPPLEMENT an already good diet and training routine. 

If you're eating cheetos and french fries at every meal and expect to take a fat burner to lose weight... ain't happenin sista. For the record: I don't recommend fat burners in any situation, actually.

So, what WILL get you results if it's not supplements? Proper nutrition. Hard work in the gym. Plenty of sleep. 

Now: I will say, there is nothing wrong with some supplements if you're truly deficient in something and it's recommended by a doctor. For example, I take a multi-vitamin in order to cover what my diet doesn't, I take probiotics for my gut health, and I take magnesium to aid in muscle repair and better sleep quality. I also use protein powder for my delish #GPF smoothie, but not because I NEED it, just because I like the way it tastes + it adds protein to my smoothies!

If you have any questions about specific supplements, feel free to ask me. 

4. You HAVE to do a certain type of workout to get the best results.

The best type of workout is the one you're going to stick with: period. end of story.

Sure, there are more efficient ways to work out based on your desired result. For example, you won't look like a Crossfitter if all you do is run. And you won't necessarily get more flexible if all you're doing is weightlifting and avoiding any type of stretching/yoga.

Everyone has their opinion on what the 'best workout' is... but truly: it's the one you're going to stick with, day in and day out, over a long period of time.

That doesn't mean you won't ebb and flow into different styles of training during different seasons of your life. But overall, the more consistent you are with one style of training, the better your results will be.

In order to figure out what the best type of workout for you is, I encourage you to try new things! Some people love Crossfit, some love yoga, some love Orange Theory, some love weightlifting. I personally love a combo of lifting weights, mobility/stretching/yoga, and cardio (running, HIIT, etc.) 

If you're interested in more of my fave workouts, check out our EMPOWER Challenge starting June 4!

5. Eat less, move more.

When I first started getting into fitness, I lived by the philosophy "eat less, move more."

I thought that the less I ate and the more I worked out, that would guarantee my results and I'd look fabulous.

But what REALLY ended up happening was I felt weak, I passed out at work once from low blood sugar, I lost my period for a year, and I was deficient in so many vitamins and nutrients that my hair started falling out. Fun, huh? 

Now I live by the philosophy: LESS IS MORE. Less time in the gym, with higher quality work, is key to getting the results you want without burning yourself out. 

THANK GOD, because this means you don't have to spend hours and hours in the gym to get results — you just have to use your time in the gym efficiently. (Read: How to Get a Better Workout in LESS Time at the Gym)

6. BONUS! You have to either be ON the wagon or off, there is no in between. 

I know I said I was going to talk about the 5 biggest myths about health and fitness, but I JUST KEEP THINKING OF MORE BECAUSE THERE ARE SO MANY! But really, this is the last one and it's super important. 

I learned long ago that the all-or-nothing approach to fitness and nutrition doesn't work. 

When I was first starting out, I was either eating chicken and broccoli all day, or eating pizza + donuts + ice cream all day for fear of going back on my 'diet' the following day. There was no in between.

There was also a time where I was glued to my phone, counting every calorie I put into my mouth. I even remember a time where an ex-boyfriend gave me an Oreo, I told him I'd take it 'to go' and threw it out the window of my car on the way home because I was too scared to go 'over my calories.' (Even though I knew I'd end up bingeing on 203585x more that night because I was legitimately starving myself... but that one Oreo mattered, right?)

Now I understand that I CAN have that one Oreo and get right back on track. I don't have to wait until tomorrow, or Monday. I don't have to have a free for all, eating all the things for fear that I won't ever be able to eat them again.

I now live in an abundance mindset around food: there's always more where that came from. I'll have the opportunity to eat ice cream again tomorrow if I want, so I don't need to eat it all right now. Most times, I can have a scoop, move on with my day, and eat healthy using my autocorrect tools at the very next meal.

So, please don't feel like you need to be ON or OFF. There is a middle ground, and it's a beautiful place to live. Moderation isn't sexy, but it sure as hell is effective. 

I hope you found this article helpful! These are a few things I WISH I would've known when I started working out and eating healthy. I would've saved myself years of trouble... but hey, that's why I'm here to help you avoid making the mistakes I did!

Let me know: what's the biggest myth YOU'VE busted in your health & fitness journey? Or what's something you've heard a billion times, but you're not sure if it's a myth or the real deal? Comment below!

And if you want to learn about ALL of these topics + more while transforming your body and mindset, join my 6-week EMPOWER Challenge. We start Monday, June 4! Prices go up every Sunday until the Challenge starts so if you love a good deal, get in there sista!!

xo

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OOPS! What to Do When You Overeat

So it's 9 pm. You just got home from work after a 12 hour day. You're exhausted. You didn't have time to go grocery shopping or make food.

So you pour yourself a bowl of cereal.

As you let the stresses of the day fade away, one bowl becomes two. Then it becomes three because there's milk left in the bowl and you can't just let it go to waste so naturally you have to add more cereal (anyone else do this?! #guilty)

And before you know it.... the box is empty.

We've all been there, right?

Full transparency: I was the one stress eating honey nut Cheerios bowl after bowl in my kitchen tonight :) hehe I am human, too.

Whether you're plugging away at work and mindlessly eating out of a bag of almonds, or stress eating ice cream and Cheerios while crying about your day at work... we've all overeaten at some point.

And sometimes, we overeat and feel damn good about it! (Ain't nothin wrong with a little chips + guac + margaritas with friends)

But most of the time... overeating - especially when we set fitness and health goals for ourselves - can feel like 10 steps in the wrong direction.

SO!

What do you do after you've eaten a bit more than you intended to? 

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Here are some tips to help you get back on track so you don't waste precious time feeling guilty or shameful:

1. Walk away. 

When we've eaten something we consider 'bad' or 'off limits,' many of us have the 'smash the phone' mentality. I like to use this analogy with my clients: Imagine your phone fell on the ground and the screen cracked. Would you keep repeatedly smashing it into the ground? Or would you say "ok, this is a bit damaged, but its repairable." 

It's the same thing with your diet: going a few hundred calories over your goals isn't a big deal. What IS a big deal is when you don't know when to put down the food, walk away, and spare yourself from doing more damage when you're well beyond the point of fullness.

So, walk away. Leave the kitchen (or wherever you are). Pour yourself a glass of water. Chew a piece of gum. Brush your teeth. Do something that removes yourself from the situation. 

2. Put it behind you. 

What's done is done, and here's the great news: you DON'T have to do anything different tomorrow! 

I made the mistake for so many years of having this warped mentality that I needed to "make up for" what I ate, so I'd spend hours on the treadmill the next day and severely restrict my calories... which only made me repeat the cycle that very night and keep me stuck in this binge/deprive cycle.

Sure, you can move and work out the next day (or later that day), but you do not need to do anything extra to 'make up for it.' Use that extra fuel to your advantage and have an awesome workout!

Here are a few of my favorite autocorrect tools that I use when I fall off the boat (but don't want to completely drown in the lake, nawm sayn?):

- Go for a walk
- Drink a glass of water
- Dance around my house
- Clean the house (while dancing)
- Do 10 air squats
- Go do a workout/workout class

3. Get right back on track.

Starting with the very next meal (yes, you can eat again if you start to feel hungry), make a #GPF style meal. This means filling your plate with the good stuff: greens, protein and healthy fats. 

You may not be as hungry, but your body still needs food. For more ideas on how to get back on track using the #GPF formula, read this blog post.

4. Don't stress it, honaaaay.

This is an obvious one but it's still worth saying: worrying and stressing about falling off track won't help the situation. You can't reverse it from worrying about it. What's done is done, so pour that extra energy into something you LOVE doing. 

If you haven't already, my podcast episode about primary foods is PERFECT advice for this situation: shifting the focus away from what we're eating, to what makes us happy and what fills us up in life. 

--

I hope you found these tips helpful!

We're ALL human and we ALL fall off track, so it's important not to beat yourself up. 

Use the autocorrect tools, remind yourself how awesome you are, and keep it movin'!

Life is too short to be consumed by how much, when, why, where, how, and all the silly stories we create around food.

You're meant for more than that.

LOVE YA TONS

xo

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If you think you're struggling with binge eating (vs. just the occasional overeating), I have a YouTube playlist with some helpful tips. Please reach out to a professional if you need help. I struggled for WAY too long with bingeing because I felt so guilty and ashamed, so I never told anyone. But telling someone was the first part of my healing :) xo

Spring Breakfast: My Favorite On-the-Go Smoothie

Hello my beauty!

It's no surprise that I loooove me some GPF eating

If you're new here, you can read this blog post or listen to this podcast to find more about GPF. In a nutshell, it's a way of eating that incorporates greens/veggies, protein, and healthy fats — which helps keep you fuller for longer, satisfies cravings, elongates your blood sugar curve, and helps you ditch the drama of always having to worry about how much/when to eat. 

One of the most common objections I hear from people all the time is:

"I don't have time to make healthy food!" 

... Which is why I created this smoothie and use it in my everyday life. It legit takes 5 minutes to prepare (even less if you pre-package the ingredients in Ziplock baggies and store in your fridge/freezer the night before)

And, as someone with a HUGE appetite, this smoothie actually helps me stay FULL until lunch time which is *shocking*. It's low sugar, paleo, healthy, yummy, yada yada.

Watch the video or read about the low-sugar smoothie formula I use every day, and let me know what you think if you try the smoothie!

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GET MY BRAND NEW, TOTALLY FREE E-BOOK! 

If you liked this video, you'll love my the BRAND NEW e-book I just created: Fitness Is An Inside Job (5 Mindset & Habit Shifts You Need to Make RIGHT NOW to Radically Change Your Life.) It teaches you how to go from KNOWING what to do, to ACTUALLY doing it.

It's totally free! Get it here


WHAT ARE MACROS?! Everything You Need to Know!

Hello love birds!

Click here if you'd rather listen to this blog post on my podcast!

As you may have noticed from my recent blog posts, I'm going back to the basics and teaching you the foundations of nutrition from a no BS, no extreme dieting, no deprivation point of view.

My ultimate goal is to educate you on how to eat well so that this becomes a LIFESTYLE, instead of just another fad diet that you try, fail at (no judgment, this is just inevitable with things like a juice cleanse/cabbage soup diet/insert other BS diet), and ultimately beat yourself up over.

Today, I want to break it down to the baaaaasics and teach you what macronutrients are and why each of them play an essential role in an overall healthy lifestyle. 

In the past few years, tracking macros has become a popular trend, but on a very basic level - it's important to understand what macronutrients actually are and how each of them affect your hormones and body composition. 

When you're educated about WHY you're making healthy choices, it's much easier to make them because you know you will look better AND feel better – from the inside, out. 

Let's break down MACRONUTRIENTS, shall we?!

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Macronutrients are the building blocks of any diet, and are comprised of protein, fats and carbohydrates. Each of us consume each of these macronutrients every single day, but you may not be familiar with what each of these ACTUALLY do on a cellular level in your body. 

Protein

  • 4 calories per gram
  • Protein takes longer than carbohydrates to break down in your system, making you feel satiated longer
  • Used as a source of energy when carbohydrates aren’t available
  • Aids in new tissues for muscle growth and repair, allowing for faster recovery after muscles have been broken down in a workout
  • Produces essential hormones and regulates digestion

Sources of protein: 

• Lean cuts of meat (ground turkey, ground beef, chicken, etc.)
• Fattier cuts of meat (steak, beef, lamb, veal, game meats, etc.)
• Protein powders *you can find my favorite protein powders here.
• Tuna
• Shrimp
• Salmon (rich in Omega 3 fats - one of my favorites!)
• Tilapia
• Oysters
• Trout
• Fish
• Eggs
• Egg whites
• Lean tofu (in moderation, because of soy)

Suggested amount of protein to consume per day: .75 - 1 gram of protein per body weight. So, if you're a 140-pound woman, you could aim to consume 140 grams (1 gram per pound of body weight) of protein per day. Contrary, if you're 200 lb., it could be very hard to hit that amount of protein in grams per day, so you could aim to consume (200 x .75 grams = 150 grams of protein per day)

Fat

  • 9 calories per gram
  • Helps your body lose fat when eaten in the right amounts
  • More calorie-dense than carbohydrates and proteins, but helps keep you fuller for longer
  • Regulates essential hormonal functions, especially in women
  • Omega-3 fatty acids support heart healthy and thyroid function (and your thyroid regulates everything in your body – including fat loss!)

Sources of healthy fat: 

• Nuts and seeds – almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews, macadamia, walnuts, pumpkin seeds
• Nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower, etc.)
• Avocado
• Coconut oil
• Coconut milk
• Coconut fat
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Flaxseed

Suggested amount of fat to consume per day: Around .5 grams per pound of body weight is a good place to start. Some people do really well with a moderate protein, higher fat, lower carbohydrate diet – others do well with a moderate protein, moderate fat, higher carbohydrate diet (especially if you're an athlete). Find what works best for you or work with a nutrition coach to figure it out. It just takes a bit of trial and error to find what style of eating makes you thrive. 

Carbohydrates

  • 4 calories per gram
  • Easily metabolized/broken down as the body's main fuel source, which is why it’s beneficial to eat them primarily before and after a workout (paired with protein, of course)
  • Indigestible carbohydrates (fiber) are necessary for intestinal health and help you stay “regular.” Beware of “high fiber” marketing and stick to getting your fiber primarily from vegetables (both green and starchy), and some fruit.
  • Play a huge role in the proper function of muscles, brain and kidneys
  • Two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex
    • Simple carbohydrates – fruits, processed foods and anything that tastes “sweet” essentially fit into this. Limit your consumption as much as possible (unless it’s starchy vegetables like carrots, squash, etc.). Often causes a spike in blood sugar, resulting in an extreme dip in energy after consumption.
    • Complex carbohydrates – vegetables, whole grains, brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, etc. These are the carbohydrates (listed below in the grocery list) you’ll want to be consuming because they’ll keep you full for longer and not give you that “crash.”

Sources of healthier carbohydrates: 

• ALLLLL THE VEGGIES (spinach, romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, etc.) *this is where I like to get the majority of my carbohydrates from. The more colorful your plate, the better!
• Sweet potatoes
• Red or white potatoes
• Yams
• Squash (butternut, acorn, spaghetti squash, etc.)
• Carrots
• Apples
• Berries
• Bananas
• Cherries
• Grapefruit
• Beets
• Tomatoes
• Watermelon
• Any and all fruit
• Brown or white rice
• Beans
• Quinoa
• Barley
• Lentils
• Air-popped popcorn
• Gluten-free oatmeal

Suggested amount of carbohydrates to consume every day: As a general rule of thumb, consuming 30% of your caloric intake worth of carbohydrates is a good place to start. Obviously this will vary if you're training like an Olympic athlete vs. the average person working at a desk all day. I like to make sure I'm getting enough of the RIGHT carbohydrates that won't spike my blood sugar, by consuming TOOOONS of veggies. Again the more colorful your plate, the better!


It's important to note that there are some foods that fit into more than one category – salmon, for example, has a decent amount of fat, but it’s primarily classified as a protein because it contains more grams of protein than fat. Peanut butter, for example, contains protein, but has more grams of fat, so it’s considered a “fat.”

In general, I like to structure every one of my meals around a TON of veggies (complex carbohydrates), protein and healthy fats, which myself & my clients refer to as #GPF (greens, protein and fat).

This ensures that I'm hitting all my macronutrient goals for the day and balancing my blood sugar so that I'm not hungry every hour (because YO GIRL IS ALWAYS HUNGRY!) 

I talk all about how to make every meal healthy and satisfying – including recommended portion sizes and meal timing – in this article

Should You Track Macros?

Now that you know how protein, fats and carbohydrates work together to help your body perform, you may be wondering, "Should I track my macros?"

And, if you haven't been living under a rock, you've probably seen your favorite fitness idols on Instagram and YouTube talk about tracking macros. 

I have my own opinions about tracking calories and macros based on my own past experience, but I will do my best to objectively let you decide for yourself whether or not you want to track macros. 

You may want to track macros if: 

  • You're a professional athlete looking to achieve a certain skill level for a sport
  • You're interested in competing in some sort of bikini, figure or physique competition
  • You've been training and eating well (honestly) for a while and have hit a plateau (i.e. you want to dial it in and lose the last 5-10 pounds to enhance your performance or aesthetics)
  • You have a strict deadline that you need to lose/gain weight by (vacation, wedding, something that's important to you)

You don't necessarily need to track macros if:

  • You haven't nailed down the nutrition basics yet – meaning you're completely NEW to a healthy lifestyle and need to master the foundation (such as choosing from the list of healthy protein, fats and carbs above). If you are not already doing this, DO NOT PASS GO. You don't need to track macros yet.
  • You've never dieted or tracked macros before and are genuinely curious about how many calories you're consuming every day (this can be helpful for a beginner to do for 3-5 days, because it can be VERY eye opening – most people are usually eating way more or less than they think they are.)
  • You've tracked macros or calories in the past, have a general sense of what portion sizes look like, and can eyeball your measurements when making meals. 
  • You have a history of an eating disorder and/or body dysmorphia, because being attached to numbers (i.e. how many protein, fats and carbs you're consuming, or calories in general) can 10x the problem. 

Keep in mind there may be different seasons of your life where it can be beneficial to track your caloric intake/macros. Maybe you're competing in a weightlifting or Crossfit meet and need to hit certain strength goals, so tracking macros would be helpful to make sure you're eating enough. Or maybe you have a wedding coming up, and want to really dial in your nutrition to lose the last stubborn 5-10 pounds.

GENERALLY SPEAKING: you do not need to religiously track macros and calories to be an overall healthy person.

For the majority of people who just want to look and feel good, who live a moderately sedentary lifestyle (work at a desk all day), then you will be just fine if you follow a healthy way of eating that provides light structure, like my #GPF (greens, protein and fat) style

However, if you're a professional athlete, training for a show, or have a deadline coming up such as a vacation or wedding, then tracking macros can aid you in reaching your goal faster.

Remember: everything in moderation.

Just as it's not healthy to drink sodas and eat chips all day long, it's also not healthy to take things to the OTHER extreme and be glued to your phone tracking macros all day.

(I talk all about these extremes in my most recent podcast episode, if you're interested).

Everything in moderation, and during the appropriate season of your life. 

The most important thing to keep in mind is to let go of things that are no longer serving you, so if you find yourself becoming too obsessive about tracking your macros, take a step back. Contrary, if you find yourself too lax about your nutrition, maybe it's an appropriate time to track for a few days to get back into a routine with good nutrition habits.

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY AND YOU WILL BE GOLDEN BABAAAY. 

 

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to comment down below, send me an email, or apply for my nutrition coaching services.

Sending you tons of HEALTH and HAPPINESS! xo,

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