Once you have integrated these 5 fundamentals into your daily nutrition routine, you can then start to individualize your nutrition plan. These fundamentals need to be followed and practiced at every meal, everyday.
The fundamentals are straightforward but will take time and effort to master. These fundamentals guide you in determining how much to eat, nutrient timing (when to eat) and lastly what to eat.
Upon beginning this life changing process, add 1-2 fundamentals to focus on for at least 2 weeks. After they become a more comfortable part of your eating routine, add 1 more fundamental change, and so on. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day and your habits and weight won’t change overnight.
Fundamental 1: Eat breakfast within 1 hour of waking up and continue to eat every 3-4 hours throughout the day. It’s true that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Consuming a balanced breakfast helps to regulate your blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full throughout the day. When you skip breakfast your blood sugar levels drop. When this happens you are more likely to consume higher glycemic carbohydrates (sugar) throughout the day. This perpetuates the blood sugar highs and lows causing you to crave more sugar and thus, gain more weight.
Consuming a meal or a snack every 3-4 hours is the best way to stimulate your metabolism and balance your blood sugar while maintaining your lean mass and reducing food cravings.
How many times a day should I be eating?
The answer to this differs for everyone because it depends on how long you are awake for. The first fundamental is to eat every 2-4 hours. In order to figure out how many times you should be eating in 1 day, divide the hours you are awake by either 2, 3 or 4.
For example, consider you are awake for 16 hours a day (6 am – 10 pm). If you eat every 3 hours, that totals about 5.5 meals per day. Meal times are as follows: breakfast – 7 am; snack – 10 am; lunch – between 12-1 pm; snack – between 3-4 pm; dinner – 6 pm.
A good rule of thumb is to aim to eat 5 meals per day. This may have to be adjusted depending on your goals or if you are not seeing the desired results.
Can I eat after dinner?
Eat every 2-4 hours up until 2 hours before going to bed. So if it’s 9 pm, and you ate dinner between 6-7 pm, and you are truly hungry, then eat. Make sure you are truly hungry and not just bored! You will learn what foods to eat at night and, as long as you follow your plan, you will not gain weight from late night eating… PLUS no one likes to go to bed hungry!
Can I miss a meal and double up on the next meal?
It’s not ideal to miss a meal because your metabolism requires a steady and constant influx of calories and nutrients, your body has a negative response when you skip a meal and then overeat later. If you double up on the next meal, your body will use only the calories it needs at the given time and will usually store the rest of the calories as FAT for later use. The problem is, when you don’t use the calories later (due to inactivity) it gets stored as body fat.
On special occasions or dinners out, organize your day accordingly. For example, if you are going out for Italian food, save your grain for dinner and make sure you workout before dinner!
Fundamental 2: Consume vegetables and/or fruits with all meals and snacks. Vegetables are generally unlimited so fill up on them. They are high in fiber, low calorie and nutrient dense. The more colorful, the better.
Fundamental 3: Consume very lean protein choices. Protein is essential for stimulating your metabolism, maintaining and building lean muscle, and helping to keep you feeling full and alert. Protein is not just limited to lunch or dinner.
You can also have a protein as a snack if that suits you better. You always want to choose “very lean” or “lean” proteins.
Fundamental 4: Include healthy fats daily. 20-40% of your daily caloric intake should come from fat. The type of fat you choose is extremely important; however, I am NOT telling you to go eat mass amounts of full fat cheese!
You want a balance between saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. When properly balanced with the other types of fats, saturated fat isn’t the evil it’s made out to be.
As a side note, your personal plan may include supplements. We suggest clients use an Omega 3 fish oil supplement. Keep in mind that these supplements do not count towards your fat servings for the day.
Fundamental 5: Schedule 2-3 hours per week for food planning and preparation. Everyone is busy and the “I have no time” excuse is one we hear time and time again; it’s probably the main reason most people don’t achieve their goals. In order to be successful and change your lifestyle habits you need to make food planning and preparation a top priority.
Robin Sharma says it best: “Show me your schedule and I’ll discover the truth. Because your schedule doesn’t lie.”
If you do not schedule your snack/meal time by actually marking it on your schedule it will most likely not get done. How can something be a priority if it is not included in your schedule?
Two-three hours might seem like a long time, but if you break it up over the course of the week it becomes more manageable. Like Harmony House Wellness on Facebook to learn tips and strategies for planning and preparing your meals and snacks.
Remember, anything worth achieving takes effort. This is not a quick fix, nor a diet that you go on and off of. We will teach you HOW to change your lifestyle and your goals, but YOU have to do the work to put these steps into place.
There is no one perfect nutrition plan. Call Yoga Source TODAY at (905) 830-9700 or book online for your FREE 15 minute introduction with Christine Moran to see how we can help you reach your personal health and wellness goals.