How to transition from a hardcore diet to the freedom of intuitive eating.
Reader Question: I’m worried about slipping into bad habits after having a structured eating plan. What is the most beneficial “diet” to follow for lifelong health?
This is an incredible question as so many people are trying to stick to their New Year’s resolution, which probably includes goals like “Feel better about my body,” or “Perform better in the gym.” It’s also a great time for those who have transitioned back into full-time mom/ career-woman life roles since the New Year. They may need guidance on what kind of meal plan or diet to follow.
Depending on how strict your nutrition regimen was leading up to the holidays and after—and what your goals are, I have advice for you about where to go in terms of how to meal plan.
This guideline, which I’ve used as well as taken my online clients through, teaches you what to do with your eating by way of three phases. This will range from the most hardcore, strict, caloric-deficit meal plan, to the most loosely “intuitive eating” recommendation.
Phase 1: The diet
If you’ve just come off a really intense meal plan, you knew exactly what to eat every meal of every day, with no deviation. Meal one was always egg whites, oatmeal, and some all-natural peanut butter. Meals two to five, Monday to Sunday, were similar.
Now, you feel great and energized. But you know you need to loosen up a bit, and let some of the reins go. You hit your goal—now what? The 80/20 rule, my friends. Keep about 80% of your meals the same, and deviate 20% of the time.
So, if you ate 35 meals a week (five meals/day, seven days/week), then switch things up seven meals out of the week. That could mean that every night for dinner, you cook something fun you and your family can enjoy.
Phase 2: The macros
You’re comfortable changing meals around and giving yourself flexibility; you’ve had a taste of freedom, and now you want more. Enter in macros. You’ve had time to enter in your food into an app like MyFitnessPal, and now you know how much you’ve been eating. So take the liberty of taking those numbers, i.e. 150g protein, 125g carbs, 45g fat, and eating any foods you want, but still within the caloric range you were previously accustomed to.
Get familiar with the app. Get familiar with how many macros are in foods you love. Get familiar with how to reign in your cravings by eating limited quantities.
Phase 3: “It’s all you, boo”
This is where I leave you. I’ve taught you how to go from structure to “guidelines” and now it’s guidelines to
real life. You know what kinds of foods you should be eating to fuel your body, you know roughly the quantity of foods to eat, and now it’s just a matter of put- ting them all together and feeding your body when it’s hungry. Welcome to intuitive eating.
Intuitive eating is a great tool because you won’t always have an app by your side to track your food, and some foods won’t always be in that app even if you do. It’s so important to listen to our bodies when it comes to sleeping, eating, working, and resting! Intuitive eating teaches you to work with/for your body, in order to get in touch with what it needs.
Essentially, the most beneficial “diet” for you is the one that makes you feel your best! You’ve got this!
Have a question? Email Nichelle at firstname.lastname@example.org. It could be featured in a future issue or on our website!
More Inspiration: Check out this informative article on the truth around carbs!
Author: Nichelle Laus is the owner of Optimum Training Centre in Toronto, Ontario. A fitness and cover model, figure and bikini competitor, competition preparation and transformation coach for Team Laus (www. nichellelaus.com), she is a certified personal trainer and kickboxing and kettlebell instructor. Nichelle is also a motivational speaker and a proud mom of 4 young boys.