Fuel Your Inner Athlete. Fuel Your Life.

Keep a food journal and log your food intake
Keeping a food journal will help you reach your fitness goals faster. You will be able to pinpoint areas that you can improve. For example, you may be able to see that you don't drink enough water, or that you don't eat breakfast and then you are ravenous by dinner and binge on fast-food and high calorie snacks or whatever else you can find. You will also be able to analyze this information and see whether or not you are eating too many calories or not enough and make adjustments. You should log all meals, snacks, and beverages, including juices, alcohol, and water. It’s a good idea to log the time you eat what you eat, the portion size or approximate information (ounces, cups, comparative size). Logging the following additional information will help you pinpoint emotional eating, meal timing, low blood sugar, food sensitivities, trigger foods, etc.): how hungry you were before and after eating (hungry, tired, starving, full, satisfied, nauseous, light-headed, energetic, any physiological reactions after eating (bloated, stomach pains, indigestion, rashes, swelling, etc.), and any emotions (angry, depressed, etc.).

Always be prepared with food
Start by making a store list for your healthy food choices for the week. Shop once or twice a week to stock up on the freshest perishable foods. Prepare your meals ahead of time once or twice a week; this will shorten prep time and lesson the time spent during the busy weekday hours when schedules are more hectic. Weigh and measure your food and store it in Tupperware or Ziploc bags for easy access. Carry a cooler full of your meals and snacks so that you are never without healthy food options. You can also carry small items in your purse.

Drink plenty of water
By plenty I mean 1/2 gallon is not enough. Aim for 1-2 gallons of water per day. Start by drinking 8 oz of ice water (I like to add fresh lemon juice) when you first wake up, at each of your 3 meals and 2 snacks, 16 oz during your workout, 16 oz after your workout, and 8 oz before you go to bed. I carry around a large 34oz water bottle for cardio and a 52oz Bubba Keg during the day (it's filled up 2-4 times per day). You can also sip water every 15 minutes or while your driving in the car. Adequate hydration has several important benefits such as: aiding in proper digestion, transporting vital nutrients and vitamins into the cells and the removal of waste products from your body, maintaining proper body temperature, proper muscle functioning and contraction, healthy, supple, and hydrated skin, hair, and nails, reduction of bloating and water retention, keeps you satiated, and can help reduce fatigue. If you are properly hydrated your urine will appear clear or a very light yellow color. Please note that certain vitamins, after ingesting, can temporarily change the color to very yellow.

Weigh and measure your food
Weigh your food on a food scale and measure with teaspoons and tablespoons. You would be surprised at how much you underestimate how much you are actually eating. Try this with cereal, ice cream or peanut butter. Trust me, no one eats a 1/2 cup serving of cold cereal or 2 TBSP of peanut butter, it's much more than that. Being mindful and accountable for what you are actually eating will go a long way to ensuring compliance with your program and achieving your goals.

Eat smaller, balanced meals, more frequently
Meals and snacks should include lean sources of protein, whole grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy and healthy fats. Aim for 3 meals and 2 snacks. People who train or men will probably need to add in another snack and meal or more. Try to eat at regular intervals on a consistent basis.

Never go more than 3-4 hours without eating
Don't let low blood sugar get the best of you. Try to eat smaller, frequent meals every 2-4 hours

Eat Breakfast
It’s the most important meal of the day! It will provide fuel for the rest of the day so you can function at the top of your game both physically and mentally. Eat breakfast even if “you don’t eat breakfast”. Try to include lean protein options like egg whites, protein shakes, low-fat or fat free dairy products, whole grain/fiber rich cereal, fruits, and some healthy fats.

Switch to lean protein
Look for lower fat cuts of red meat, pork chicken, turkey, fish, and other lower-fat seafood.

Eat more fruits/vegetables
I cannot stress enough the importance of fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Juice does NOT count. Aim for 2-3 servings of fruit and 3-5 servings of vegetables per day.

Eat more fiber
It is recommended that the average adult woman and man consume 25-38 grams of fiber per day respectively. Fiber comes from whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Swap dairy foods
Switch high fat dairy to fat-free or lower fat milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.

Avoid processed foods at all times possible
If it comes in a box, if you can’t pronounce it, and if you cannot find it in nature, you should probably reserve it for "cheat meals". Try to shop for foods as close to their natural states as possible. Processed foods and fast foods are heavily chemically processed, refined, calorie dense, and void of the healthy nutrients your body requires.

Reduce and eliminate fast food
This follows the same idea about avoiding processed foods. See above. If you must eat at a fast food establishment, look for healthy menu items, order grilled, steamed, or baked items, avoid fried items and heavy or cream sauces, add veggies and fruits when possible. Just say no to chips and baskets of bread. Look for nutritional information on the menus or call ahead/read the menu/nutritional information online beforehand. Never hesitate to ask for substitutions at a fast food chains or restaurants; they are usually more than accommodating if you ask politely.

Shop the perimeter of the store
You will hit healthy basics including the meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruit, and dairy...inside aisles should include the cereal aisles for whole grain breads, grains, cereals, baking aisles for healthy oils and seasonings, and extras such as gum, bottled water, Crystal Light, etc.

Do NOT drink liquid calories
The calories are nutritionally void. This includes avoiding fruit juices, regular soda, and sports drinks, alcohol, and high fat designer coffee drinks that include cream and high fat milk. Substitute high sugar and high fat beverages for drinks such as water, sugar free soft drinks, Crystal Light, and fat-free versions of designer coffee drinks.

Avoid alcohol
Limit alcoholic consumption to 1-2 drinks per week if alcohol is going to be consumed.

Avoid fried foods/transfats
Switch your fats to healthy poly & mono unsatured fats
Look for healthy fats such as avocados, flaxseed and flaxseed oil, canola oil, fish oil (EFAs), nuts, and nut butters.

Eliminate trigger foods from your house
If it's a trigger food and you cannot control yourself, do NOT buy it or keep it in the house. Emotional eating is a very real issue for many people; finding your “trigger” or comfort foods and eliminating them will deter you from cheating, keep you on your structured meal plan, and force you to find alternative methods to deal with emotional situations.

Everything in moderation
Any food can be incorporated into your nutritional program; however, moderation and portion size are key. Make sure you are eating all of your necessary calories to get the nutrients your body needs and leave a few extra for foods that you truly enjoy eating. Completely eliminating food groups not only deprives your body of vital nutrients, but it can also lead to feelings of deprivation and ultimately cause a person to binge and eat an excess of food and unwanted calories.

Learn to make healthy versions of your favorite foods
You would be surprised at how good healthy food can taste with a little effort and research. You can make simple substitutions without sacrificing the taste. Using herbs and seasonings will also enhance the flavor and save calories.

Include a “cheat meal”
Set aside one day a week to eat a meal and/or dessert that you love. This will help keep you on track the rest of the week by hopefully helping to prevent unnecessary snacking and bingeing, knowing that you have something to look forward to, you can have what you want, that it is planned, thereby preventing guilt. Food is one of the many pleasures in life and everyone deserves to enjoy their favorites.

Differentiate physical hunger from cravings
Hunger is your need for food; your body will send you signs and signals that you need to refuel. You need food to maintain basic metabolic functions as well as to live your daily life. Hunger is physiological and is a result of chemical changes in your body.

Signs of true hunger include the following: feeling of emptiness in stomach, gurgling, rumbling or growling in stomach, dizziness, faintness or light-headedness, headache, irritability, agitation, lack of concentration, and nausea.

A craving is your desire for food or your appetite. A craving is psychological and involves your mind. Cravings can be triggered by many things including sights, smells, marketing, advertising, childhood memories, comfort foods, stress, and emotional situations.

When a craving strikes, try the following tips: drink 1-2 cups of water, wait 1-2 hours for the urge to pass, replace the craving with other activities such as: call a friend, go for a walk, participate in a favorite hobby or sport, read, write in a journal, workout, etc.re to edit this text.
Dietary Tips
Small Changes=Big Results