Food is such an important part of fitness which is something that a lot of people don’t realise, so important in fact that 80% of your success – whether that be weight loss, weight gain, fat loss or muscle gain – relies on it. The annoying thing is it’s the hardest thing to get to grips with. Getting into a gym routine is actually pretty easy, it’s sticking to a healthy diet when you’re used to shoveling sugar into your body that’s difficult. I for one have spent years, literally years, trying to get to grips with eating well. Clean eating and dieting are two terms that I used to support, but now, I feel totally different towards them. I’ve done the crash diets, the restricted calories and the eating a doughnut (or three) and crying about it – it’s a horrible mindset to have – so I’m relieved to finally be beyond that, now knowing how to nourish my body properly without missing out on the good things in life. Quite a lot of people ask about my diet, so I figured I’d put together a little “what I eat in a day” to put it all out there in the open.
At weekends I have more time to prepare a nice breakfast, so I’ll either have a big bowl of porridge made on the hob, freshly made waffles or pancakes, or a yoghurt and granola bowl. These breakfasts can add up quite high in calories but they really set me up for the day, and then I don’t feel I want to snack as much. Sometimes I’ll double up and have a protein shake too if I’ve just been to the gym. On a week day I eat my breakfast at my desk in the office at around 9am, and I’ll either have another trusty bowl of porridge or overnight oats, which is my new favourite summer breakfast. It’s basically cold porridge, but it’s way nicer than it sounds if you make it right (recipe to follow!).
I try to keep my snacks fairly small so I can enjoy bigger meals, but that said, I couldn’t go a day without snacking. I’m a huge snacker. At weekends I generally have a protein shake, or nothing at all if I’ve had a late breakfast, but at work I’ll either have dark chocolate coated corn cakes, chopped apple with peanut butter, carrot sticks and hummus or a handful of nuts. I try to wait until 11am to snack, but without my two morning coffees I’d definitely be raiding my drawer a lot earlier!
Lunch at weekends is usually something quick as we’re often in and out running errands, so my typical ‘go to’ lunches are either a ham and cheese toasted sandwich with fruit on the side, poached eggs and avocado on toast, or eggs benedict, which is my absolute fav. I try to keep my lunches semi-light in comparison to what I’d have during the week, mainly because then I have more space for a bigger dinner! For my work lunches I tend to batch cook for two to three days in a row, which is usually a chicken or vegetarian stir fry, or something more ‘bulky’ like a chilli. It depends what ingredients need using up to be honest!
It doesn’t matter how big my lunch is, I’ll always, always need an afternoon snack. Whether it’s a weekend or a week day, this will either be two to four rice cakes, more fruit, or some sort of ‘health’ bar. I love the Kind and Nakd bars, and the Deliciously Ella and Bounce Energy Balls. They’re quite high in calories but they satisfy any sweet cravings!
Dinner really varies but it typically features some sort of meat, a carb source, a fat source, maybe a homemade sauce and some vegetables. We keep things quite light during the week, and then on a weekend we’ll eat something a bit more indulgent on one of the two days, usually a Sunday. Our favourites are a big hearty meal like spaghetti bolognese or lasagna, homemade pizzas, or failing that, Nandos. Nandos is always a good call. I used to binge eat on a Sunday, and I’d consume a huge takeaway and multiple calorific desserts straight after, but I put a stop to that about two months ago after realising that my 3000 odd calorie Sunday was undoing my hard work during the week. I’ve honestly never felt better since ditching the bingey Sundays. I still eat unhealthy foods, but in moderation.
Where would I be without my evening snack? As much as I’d love chocolate bars and ice-cream, I save these for weekend treats, and even then they’re eaten in serious moderation to ensure I don’t go back to my old ways. My dessert is usually Greek yoghurt and berries, dark chocolate, a low-calorie hot chocolate such as Options, fresh fruit like mango, or my trusty dark chocolate coated corn cakes – which are my addiction. I have such a sweet tooth, it’s unreal.
When it comes to drinks I stick to my 2-3 litres of water throughout the day, and I have two white, sugar-free coffees. If I need an afternoon boost I’ll make a cup of herbal tea or have an emergency Options hot chocolate. At weekends I also sometimes have a small glass of orange juice at breakfast, my favourite Dolce Gusto Cafe Au Lait coffees instead of the instant stuff, and maybe the odd prosecco or two in the evening. It depends on what we do, but drinking alcohol is generally rare for me!
CALORIES & MACRONUTRIENTS
I don’t usually calorie count, which is something I touched upon on in a previous post, but as my first summer holiday is quickly approaching I’ve decided to keep an eye on my calories for four weeks, reducing them slightly to lose a bit of fat. I’m aiming to eat 1700 a day, which is about 200 less than what my maintenance calories are, with a balance of macronutrients which are approximately 170g carbs, 60g fat and 130g protein. This is a completely rough estimate based on numerous recommendations from various websites, The Body Coach SSS Plan and fitness professionals that I’ve spoken to. Disclaimer: I strongly recommend doing your research before making any drastic diet changes.
So, there’s my typical day of eating at a weekend! As you can see, it’s not pristine. Treats are still very much present in my diet, the difference is that they’re limited and moderated. I wouldn’t want to sit there and miss out on all of life’s incredible food, so there’s no point in totally eliminating everything considered to be ‘bad’. It’s all about balance. Moderation not deprivation is cringey to say, but it’s true. Lately I’ve never felt better towards food and I’m feeling so comfortable with making healthy choices because I want to, not because I feel I have to. I used to be the person who thought the less I ate and the harder I worked at the gym, the better. Wrong wrong wrong. I not only need to eat enough to fuel my body throughout each day, but I also need to eat that little bit extra to fuel the four intense weekly workouts that I do. Food is fuel! Eat often, eat enough, make good choices and you’ll have a whole new appreciation for food – trust me, your body will thank you.