06 Jun A Better You: HOW -> Food & Nutrition Part 2
‘’If you want to get fit you only have to give up one thing: your Excuses’’.
So I will start by making my excuses…haha, well my apologies for the delay on Food & Nutrition part 2. My dad was on vacation here in the Netherlands for 2,5 weeks, we went to Paris, I turned 25 and celebrated with 3 days of partying (and 3 cakes) and next to all this, work kept calling of course. The Wulterkens new collection is ready for shooting this weekend with some amazing fitness athletes/models. So super busy, but all really fun!
Most of everything written below was written some time ago, when I decided to split it in half, so I luckily found a little bit of time to add the food diary I promised you guys. In addition to ‘’A Better you: How: Food & Nutrition Part 1’’ (make sure to read it first), I present to you Food & Nutrition part 2!
HOW you eat.
It’s all about perception and tricking your brain. Scientists have discovered (I tried it, and it’s true) that if you eat in smaller plates/bowls and with smaller spoons, you will eat less without even noticing. Your brain perceives a ‘’full’’ plate, even if it is a smaller one, so it gives a satisfied signal to your brain.
Also taking the time and giving all attention to eating instead of watching tv really makes a difference in your perception of being ‘’full’’. If you eat slower and take time to chew very well, you will also get a ‘’full’’ feeling faster. Try it!!!
Rule number 1 when you start changing your nutrition.
Cut all soft drinks, soda’s and juices. Yes juices, unless you’ve freshly squeezed it yourself (and even then I would keep it limited). All juices in boxes or bottles are loaded with added sugars.
The only thing you can drink unlimited is: WATER! And maybe a little bit of low fat/ (unsweetened) almond/soy milk with your oats and protein shakes, depending on your fitness goal.
Train yourself to drink at least 2 liters water per day. I drink around 3 liters per day, but it’s not easy, so try starting with 1,5 liter and then build it up to 3 liters.
Rule number 2: No snacking, no candy, no chocolate. And NO alcohol! Alcohol can really mess up your system, and contains tons of sugars.
Rule number 3: Watch your carbs and cut them down gradually, replace them with vegetables or proteins. I forgot to mention in part 1 that while you should cut down your carbs throughout the day, you have to make sure to eat a little bit of carbs before and after your workout. Before the workout you need it for the energy, even if it’s just one spoon of rice or a banana. After, you need it for your body to replenish. If you completely cut carbs from your post workout meal your body might go into fat preservation mode. So again, even if it’s just one spoon of rice, don’t forget your carbs! While carbs form the biggest wall between you and your sixpack, they are one of the main building blocks of that same sixpack. Make sure to find the right balance.
Rule number 4: NEVER EVER substitute a meal with a shake or meal replacer. And don’t go on crash diets where you only drink shakes. You will lose weight, mostly water weight and start gaining the weight back as soon as you start eating normal again.
Make it your lifestyle to eat healthy, nutritional foods in good proportions at the right times and you will not have to worry about gaining weight even if you cheat once a week.
Remember the word GRADUAL!
To give you an example: If you have coffee the way I like it, with 2 sugars and milk, I would start the first week putting in 1 sugar and less milk, the week after no milk, the week after that no sugar. And if you can’t drink it like that (just like me), skip the coffee and go for green tea (without sugar).
For the tea drinkers who drink sugar in their tea, switch to honey instead of sugar en eventually after 2-3 weeks, try it without sugar.
In all cases you will eventually get used to it and believe it or not, you might even start liking it!
Your taste buds adapt according to what you eat for a longer period of time, so all you have to do is stick with it for a month or 2 and then it all becomes a lot easier.
NO counting Calories
Another misconception that has widespread is the counting calories story. The basic is true. In order to lose weight you need to create a calorie deficit, meaning you need to consume less calories and burn more (increase your exercising, decrease your calorie consumption).
But the problem is that people say a calorie is a calorie, so one calorie of vegetables is equal to one calorie of milk chocolate. This is true in its definition, but in practice it just doesn’t work. The average woman needs to consume 2000 calories per day to function. So a lot of women are told to consume 1500 – 1000 calories maximum if they want to lose weight. What most of these women do is, they count their calories, without considering WHAT they are actually eating. So they eat bread, cheese, and sometimes even skip a meal to be able to eat a piece of chocolate in the evening and it will still amount to 1500 calories or less. Yet, they don’t understand it when they don’t seem to lose weight. Most women will lose weight in the beginning, but eventually your body gets used to your 1500/1000 calorie intake. Moreover, your body will go into fat preservation mode if it doesn’t receive the right nutrition.
If you have carefully read everything I wrote about nutrition in part 1, you will understand why the whole calorie counting thing is bogus. Focus on WHAT you eat, eat small portions in moderation every 2 hours and gradually reduce your carb/sugar/fat intake throughout the day and you will see results, I promise!!!
Supplements: Whey Protein, BCAA, Pre workout
In order for your body to recover after intense fitness workouts where the weight lifting really tears up your muscles, I recommend taking a whey protein shake after your workout. You can buy whey protein in different flavors at supplement stores. There are so many brands to choose from, but basically they all do the same. I get mine at Rumble Store and at B-Fit, both are located in Utrecht, the Netherlands, if you order online they ship it to you.
You have Whey isolate which is really the best, because it contains microwheys, meaning it’s more than 90% protein. These Whey isolates are usually not available in any flavors, so they are not very tasty, I personally don’t like them. When you buy your whey protein, make sure it contains a lot of protein per 100 gram and much less carbs and fat compared to proteins. For instance, at most 1,5 gram fat per 100 gram of whey protein.
A lot of whey proteins also contain BCAA, which helps with muscle recovery. There are also BCAA pills you can buy as extra, but only do so when you are training really hard and you feel like your body is not recovering in time.
When you’re getting closer to a ripped body, you will be going very low on your carb intake. This means that you do not get enough fuel from your food to do a good workout. What I use is a bit of pre-workout boost, which will give you an energy boost to do a great workout. After the workout, your endorphins kick in and you don’t really need it anymore.
There are so many more supplements on the market, but I don’t use them, so I can’t advice you on them.
So this is what I think will be your favorite part of my story. There is some light at the end of the tunnel! One day (yes only one) per week, you are allowed to eat whatever it is you want!!
This is to keep you sane during the process. Depending on your goal you can make it an entire day, or just one meal. I usually make it one meal + a snack.
To be completely honest, in the 4 months of my fitness journey, I never had one cheatday. Every time I planned on it, but when the day came I didn’t feel like it, because I was seeing results and I didn’t want to delay my progress. Also, my body was getting used to not getting sugars etc, so it wasn’t craving it either. This is something really personal and it’s up to you to decide what you do, but don’t feel guilty because one cheat day is not going to make you gain weight (if you really keep to the rules). My nutrition and training advisor actually told me that the sugar and carbs you suddenly eat will wake up your body and increase your metabolism, so cheating once a week even has a good side to it.
If you want to snack healthy my recommendations are fruit snacks. Or spice up your food with certain spices like Raw cacao and 100 % pure chocolate are quite healthy when eaten in moderation. Also peanut butter, which contains good fats, can be eaten in moderation as well. Examples: Low fat yoghurt with fruit and some honey, apples in the oven with some cinnamon or peanut butter over it.
You need to go back to basics, how our ancestors used to eat before we started experimenting with additives and preservatives. It’s all really toxic and it requires a lot of your body to process, leaving you with less energy. This is why people eventually get diseases like cancer.
All the sugar free/diet products aren’t good for you either. Ask yourself, if it doesn’t contain sugar, but it tastes just as good, what is in there? Whatever it is, it’s not natural and thus, toxic for your body. Try to avoid canned foods, most of it is also available frozen, which is better.
Try to eat as biological as you can. In reality you can never be 100% sure if your vegetables are completely green and don’t contain any toxics or if your meat or fish is hormone free. But do your best to get the best available for your body. I know it costs a bit more, healthy/clean eating is expensive. Just try to get the best for your budget. And believe me, it’s more worth it than any material object.
After you’ve reached your ideal weight/picture of how you want to look, you can eat this way and then maybe do 2 cheat days a week. So for instance, in the weekend, you just enjoy and go to a restaurant or have a few glasses of wine. Or you can build in a healthy snack that you take after dinner every day. However, you have to make sure you keep on exercising at least 3 times a week to keep in shape. Exercise is key to keep you in shape, while being able to occasionally enjoy those cheatmeals.
Basically, if you want to know more on anything I’ve written in this blog, Google it, read on it so you can understand better how your body works. If you understand your body, you will know how to treat it. I did a lot of research before I started my fitness journey. The chart below will help you with understanding your body’s cravings. Understanding this will really help you to stick to clean eating!
In my next blogpost ‘’A Better You: HOW: Fitness & HIIT Cardio’’ I will talk to you in detail about my workouts, schedule, exercises, why I don’t do regular cardio, but also where I find my motivation (fitness pages I follow) etc. By changing your nutrition and eating clean you can achieve great results, but for that perfect body you need to put in the work at the gym!!
First I have to apologize for the quality of the pictures, food photography is clearly not my expertise. I see so many lovely pictures from healthy meals on Instagram and Facebook, but somehow I haven’t succeeded (yet) to make my food look as good. All of these pictures are random meals I’ve had over the past 2 weeks. The really small ones are snacks. As you will see they mostly consist of proteins and vegetables, protein pancakes, a little bit of rice or crackers, and on my salads only 1/4 of the dressing that they add. Sometimes I add a nice fruit or vegetable smoothie to my mealplan, but they are usually quite simple, I have to make more time to experiment with them. All very small portions on small plates. In some pictures you can see I am having a bit of protein shake as well, usually that’s in the morning or after my workout.
Rucola Salad with Paprika, Chicken & Raisins, a Whole grain biscuit with Sandwich spread (natural) and half a protein pancake.
2 Tablespoons of Brown rice with spicey mackerel and snap/french beans
Lean minced Beaf with Brocolli, Carrots and Paprika with a little bit of Brown rice (3 tablespoons). It’s a really small portion, good enough to hold you for 2 hours.
Breakfast: Proteinshake & Whole grain biscuits with Baked eggs.
A random soup filled with chicken and veggies
Banana – Blueberry Shake with a little bit of Low fat milk + Orange Juice
As much as I do my best to prep my food, sometimes it’s too busy and not possible. In that case I run the the Supermarket and get these ready to go salad’s. Usually I get tuna and I only use 1/4 of the dressing that they add.
Low fat quark/curd cheese/cottage cheese with Banana – Loaded with proteins!!
I remember it being such a busy day and we had to go to Ikea for some stuff, we forgot our food at the office so we had to get something at the Ikea restaurant. I added this picture to show you guys that there are healthy options at places like this. This is fresh salmon with steamed veggies and potato out of the oven (no oil) and I didn’t even eat all of the potato. It’s really up to you what you choose.
My Dad brought me Surinamese vegetables, so I made a traditional vegatable soup. Super healthy and yummy!
Chicken, Paprika, Raisins, Nuts, Seeds (Flax & Chia) + Protein Shake
From the Surinamese vegetables my dad brought I made a nice dinner with Mackarel, and the veggies.
A Mozarella salad from the Supermarket
Rucola salad with green peas, tomato & cucumber + lean minced beaf & whole grain tortilla wraps
Fresh off the tree cherries make a lovely snack!
Chicken in coconut sauce, with brocolli + lean minced beaf with green peas, tomato & cucumber
Late night snack: Brocolli topped with a fresh tomato sauce
Another late night snack: lean hamburger with rucola & cucumber and a little bit of ketchup
Ceasar chicken Salad from the Supermarket
I prepped these meals for during our roadtrip to Paris, always be prepared, wherever you go!
Cherry tomatoes, cucumber, mixture of cellery, carrots, chicken and lean hamburger + cooked eggs
Smiling breakfast! Protein pancake with a few scoups of protein, a little bit of whole grain pancake mix, eggs, steal cut oats and Brinta + sometimes we add raisins or nuts, chiaseeds, gojiberries etc. This time with a blueberry topping.
And lastly, my birthday breakfast: Red velvet cake + Pistache & Caramel Macarons from Laduree in Paris! Cheatbreakfast!
I hope you guys now have a better understanding of what, how and when to eat to get to that better version of yourself. Stay tuned for my next blog on Fitness & HIIT Cardio.
Stay Healthy, Fit and Focused!