Getting Fit – Nutrition Train(s)
Wow, it’s been waaaaaay too long since I added a post related to health and fitness! Last time you heard from me in this area, I was nearing the end of my maternity leave and had begun Jamie Eason’s Livefit program.
Oh, how times have changed! My babe is now almost 11 months old and I have found a good fitness routine, although it ended up not being Jamie Eason’s program (which is still quite wonderful, as far as I’m concerned). More on my new fitness regimen soon, I promise:).
Today, I want to talk NUTRITION! Because, whether we like it or not, it matters. And let me tell you, I am no beginner at jumping on nutrition trains. I have gone through many different phases of nutritional inspiration, and I have loved and hated them all for different reasons. So, I thought I’d share a bit of my experience with you and give you some pros and cons of some popular nutrition band wagons I’ve found myself on, based solely on my own personal experience and highly non-expert (but very honest and humble) opinion:).
I’ll focus on my top three for now: Weight Watchers, Whole 30/Paleo, and IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros)
Several years ago, in my early twenties, I embarked on what was really my first experience with weight loss. I had never actually been overweight, but I was nearing the top of the “healthy” range for my whopping 5’3″ stature, and I wanted to get back to the low-mid range on the scale for my height. I joined Weight Watchers and lost about 17 lb in roughly 3 months! This was before the days of “points plus” and before all fruits and veggies became zero point foods.
P R O S: You WILL lose weight on the scale (if you follow the rules). Another big PRO – no food is off limits! You have a number of points each day and even some flex points to allocate throughout the week if you go over here and there. Basically, if you have enough points, you can eat it! I really liked this about WW and still do. It makes you feel like you’re not “cheating” or “ruining” your diet or day. Also, another big PRO is that if you follow the plan and stay within your points, you WILL lose weight, even if you don’t work out. At the time, I was playing roller derby, so I did get some good cardio in a few times a week from practice, but I had never “worked out” regularly in my life really. I just had to follow the rules, and the weight came off!
C O N S: The biggest CON of WW is really that it is calorie-restrictive. That’s why it works so well, I’m sure:). The basic idea is to cut down on the number of calories you’re putting into your body, so that you’re burning more calories than you’re eating. Basic science says you’ll lose weight, and in fact, you will. But, this does mean that you’ll be hungry sometimes. And, let’s face it, if you’re hungry, eating zero point celery just isn’t gonna cut it. Also, there are plenty of foods out there that are delicious that pretty much take up your whole lot of points for the day. Green beans for dinner, anyone? Another CON of WW is that it does require that you weigh and measure your food. If one serving of cereal is 3/4 cup, and you’re not measuring that when you put it in your cereal bowl in the morning – trust me, you’re eating more than 3/4 cup. I mean, what are these cereal companies thinking – nobody just eats 3/4 cup of cereal!! Once you are consistent with weighing and measuring for a while, you WILL eventually learn what 3/4 cup of cereal looks like and be able to be less rigid about weighing and measuring everything. But until then, WEIGH AND MEASURE! Oh, and it costs money. That can definitely deter people.
WW IS BEST FOR PEOPLE WHO: Are willing to track everything you eat as long as it means weight loss. It DOES work, but only if you are willing to work with it. Write before you bite, scribble before you nibble!
Some inspiration if you’re interested in WW:
Instagram – @weightwatchers, @sianyshapesup, @heatherk_ww, @airdriemum
Blogs/Resources – Skinny Taste, Laa Loosh, Diva on a Diet
I have chosen to group Whole30 and Paleo, because I sort of see Whole30 as a setup for a Paleo lifestyle. I first learned about Whole30 a couple of years ago, when my first little was way little:). I had lost my pregnancy weight, but had definitely put some weight on after I stopped breastfeeding from all the food I was eating. Note to self – you can’t just eat whatever you want and not gain weight… Especially if you’re not breastfeeding:). The appeal for me was two-fold – one, to eat more whole/organic foods and two, to lose weight, even if it wasn’t fast. During my first Whole30 (you can read ALL about what that is here), I did lose about 8 lb in 30 days. Weight loss is not necessarily a goal of a Paleo lifestyle, but it does tend to be a symptom. Not a bad symptom, right?!
P R O S: There is NO weighing or measuring anything – YAY! Seriously, that’s nice. As long as you eat approved foods (click here for more info), you don’t have to restrict how much you eat. Another big PRO is that you are truly eating things that are good for your body. You will have more energy, sleep better, and probably even live longer. You will also likely lose weight, although at a much slower pace than traditional “diets.” If you stick to a paleo eating lifestyle about 80% of the time, you will be happy, healthy, and will eventually see the number on the scale fall, whether you work out or not.
C O N S: Time. Eating whole, organic foods takes a lot of time. You are chopping, prepping, marinating, creating new recipes… There is no convenience. If you fail to plan well, this will not work in the long run. Another big CON is that there are quite a few restrictions: no dairy, no alcohol, no sugar, no grains, no legumes. That would likely cut about 70% of the foods you’re used to eating out of your current diet. There are work-arounds to just about anything you used to enjoy (hello, Pinterest!), but again, making a Paleo cheesecake out of cashews and dates is a lot more time consuming than buying one in a box or a restaurant… And, no matter how good it is, the sugar-laden one will always taste better. ALWAYS.
BEST FOR PEOPLE WHO: Aim to have a truly healthy lifestyle and have time on their hands to make it happen. If Sundays are usually pretty slow for you, this could totally work! Having just one big prep day a week can really make the difference in a successful Paleo lifestyle. So, if you’ve got a few hours to spare one day a week and are someone who truly wants to change your HEALTH more than your WEIGHT, the Paleo lifestyle could be your new thing!
Some inspiration if you’re interested in Whole30/Paleo:
Instagram – @whole30recipes, @paleogrubs, @nomnompaleo
Blogs/Resources – Whole 30 Guide, Three Diets One Dinner, MayDae
IIFYM is also called Flexible Dieting. Get on Instagram and search the #iifym hashtag. Many people who have been on a clean eating or Paleo lifestyle have transitioned to IIFYM and vice versa. It is all the new rage and the latest train I have jumped on myself. I really only learned about it a few months ago and am still in the learning/tweaking phase at the moment. I plan to give another update on this one after I’ve done it for at least 6 months:). The main focus here: MACROS (Protein, Carbs, and Fat). Also, the goal of IIFYM is to lose fat, not necessarily weight. In the last three months, I’ve only lost about one pound on the scale, but I have managed to lose 1″ off my hips and about 3″ off my waist (and that’s without even doing it all that well) – yeah! I have also been working out, considering most people who choose an IIFYM lifestyle aim to lose fat and gain lean muscle. Yep, that’s totally what I want to do, too. Who doesn’t?!
P R O S: Major PRO – no food is off limits (much like WW). The major difference here is that you are counting grams of protein, carbs, and fat instead of counting calories. Another pro – it’s WAY less calorie-restrictive. While you can cut calories if you want results faster, the ultimate goal is to be able to eat as much food as possible while building muscle that burns fat like a wildfire. As time goes on, you can adjust or “reverse diet” to build your caloric intake without gaining fat. Sounds like a dream, right? I’ll let you know how it goes over time:)
C O N S: Once again, you must weigh and measure with IIFYM. If you’re not willing to do that, this is probably not the thing for you. Another downside – sometimes you’ll have to eat random things at the end of the day to hit your protein, fat, or carb goals. Egg whites for dessert? Yes, please. Oh, and you’ll realize how little protein you’ve been eating before you started IIFYM.
BEST FOR PEOPLE WHO: Are seriously ready to get rid of the scale and focus on nonscale victories. The number on the scale won’t budge much, and that is not the goal here. It is also best for people who can add in some heavy weight lifting (even if its only 2-3 times a week). This is for people who are looking to change their body composition, ignore the scale, be consistent for the long haul, and be patient with results.
Some inspiration if you’re interested in IIFYM:
Instagram – @skinnymeg31, @chelseagetsfitxo, @theroadtomrsguns, @tabtodd (that’s me!)
Blogs/Resources – My Life In Macros, Macro Cheat Sheet, MacroFit Calculator, IIFYM Calculator
Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. I will follow up on my journey as time goes along! Be sure to subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook to keep up!