Over the last 11 years, I’ve done every type of diet you can imagine.  I’ve done low carb, I’ve done high carb, I’ve eaten low fat, I’ve eaten low carb AND low-fat, I’ve tried carb cycling, I’ve tried “if it fits your macros” (IIFYM), I’ve used cheat days, I’ve done elimination diets (for my health, not for fat loss), I’ve tried Paleo, I’ve done intermittent fasting (IF), I’ve back-loaded my carbs, I’ve front-loaded my carbs, I’ve eaten 900 calories a day, I’ve eaten 3200 calories a day – you literally CANNOT present me with a diet that I haven’t tried a variation of.

Calorie Counter

I’ve tried these types of diets with different purposes or goals in mind, whether it was for my physique (low carb, low fat, low calorie, carb cycling, 900 calories), my health (elimination diet, paleo), my performance (high carb, carb cycling, 3200 calories a day), or my lifestyle (carb cycling, intermittent fasting, carb backloading, IIFYM).  In my experience, some of them have worked well, and some of them haven’t.

But the one thing I NEVER tried until the last 2 years, was moderation.  I had never tried just eating, and letting it be.

Moderation: protein, fruit and veggies, fat, and diet sunkist!

Moderation: protein, fruit and veggies, fat, and diet sunkist!

Over the last two years, I’ve taken the information that I’ve gathered about how certain diets make me feel and how they affect my physique, my health, my performance, and my lifestyle, and I’ve melded them into my own personal way of eating that is a glorious intersection of those 4 very important things, and it’s been life-changing.  I’m currently at the best balance of the 4 things than I’ve ever been.

No, I’m not quite as lean as I was when I was super strict.
No, I’m not quite as strong as I was when I was eating more and killing it in the gym day in and day out.
No, I’m not quite enjoying my lifestyle as much as I was when I was in Italy eating gelato 3 times a day.
And yes – I could probably eat less of the few foods that don’t necessarily improve my health like ice cream and queso (although just a few months ago I did just have the best checkup with my Integrative Doc that I’ve had in 5 ½ years – whoo-hoo!)
But I’m at the best BALANCE of all of these places I’ve ever  been.

My intersection of health, aesthetics,

My personal intersection of health, aesthetics, lifestyle, and performance.

So what “diet” am I doing?

I’m doing a carb-cycling-intermittent-fasting-moderation-primal-elimination-carb-back-loading-if-it-fits-my-macros-protocol.

Heard of it? 🙂

You see, based on my experience with all these nutrition protocols, I know what it takes for my body to feel good, and what keeps me sane (and what makes me feel insane!)

So How Do I Eat?

I eat more carbs on days I train, and less on days I don’t which falls under carb cycling, and moderate overall carbs approach.

I generally don’t eat my first solid food meal until 4-6 hours after I wake up because I don’t enjoy eating when I first wake up, and I find that if I do eat early, it stokes my appetite for the entire day and I’m insatiable.  I must prefer to just have coffee and water.  Waiting this long to eat could be considered intermittent fasting.

I eat almost anything I want in moderation until I feel satisfied, and not stuffed, which is, well, moderation.

I don’t eat a lot of grains, legumes, or soy because I don’t love them or feel good on them.  These are some of the most commonly eliminated foods on the primal protocol.

I NEVER eat gluten ever because I have Hashimoto’s (autoimmune hypothyroidism), and occasionally I pull out other foods to see if they make me feel good/bad/awesome/tired.  I’ve also done 2 full-blown elimination diets recommended by my Doctor to help heal my gut and reduce inflammation in my body.

I generally eat most of my carbs at night, which is recommended by the carb backloading protocol.  I choose to do this because: I train at night and I like to eat most of my carbs after my training, carbs can make me sleepy, and they often make me crave more carbs.  I have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and some insulin resistance issues which is likely why I react this way to carbs at times.

Oh, and sometimes my carbs come from ice cream, candy, corn chips, chocolate, gluten free pizza, or gluten free cupcakes, which would fall under the “if it fits your macros” approach to eating, where no food is “off-limits” as long as it fits your macros.

My groceries.  Approximately 5-7 days worth of food, and 2-3 weeks worth of indulgences for 2 peoples.

My groceries. Approximately 5-7 days worth of food, and 2-3 weeks worth of indulgences for 2 people.

Finally, I eat when I’m hungry, and stop when I’m mostly full, which is from the common-freaking-sense school of thought.  So there’s that.

And for the record, these are just guidelines.  These aren’t hard-and-fast rules.

What’s the difference, you ask?  The difference is that with guidelines, it’s just what you generally follow, and if you don’t follow them sometimes, it’s no big deal, whereas with “rules” you tend to feel like you’re following them or breaking them, or being “bad” and it creates a lot of “have-to’s” and guilt and shame.

No thanks.  I’ll stick with guidelines.

So What Does This Diet Look Like?

What I eat changes a bit from day to day, but here’s a typical non-training day (I don’t track macros, but I happen to know what’s in most of what I eat, so I am including it for your information).

Typical Non-Training Day Menu

9:00 – 11 am: 2 very large cups of mostly decaf coffee with some cream and a Splenda/Truvia mix (about 200 calories total from cream) and lots of water

2 pm: 3 turkey jerky sticks (24 grams protein, 13 grams fat, 6 carbs), 12 oz. Diet Sunkist, lots of water

5 pm: 1 Quest bar, 1 packet almond butter (28 grams protein, 24 grams fat, 29 carbs, 17 fiber), lots of water

7 pm: 12 oz. Diet Sunkist, lots of water

9 pm: Large Classic Cobb salad from Smashburger with grilled chicken (sometimes double chicken), dressing and blue cheese crumbles on side, no bacon, add avocado (4-6 cups spring mix, ¼ cup red onion, ¼ cup diced tomato, ¼ avocado, 2 TBSP shredded cheddar, 1 fried egg, 5 oz. grilled chicken) and I use a small amount of ranch dressing for dipping, and a teeny bit of blue cheese crumbles occasionally, 1 order sweet potato fries with 1 oz. mayonnaise (no clue on macros here)

11 pm: 1 cup plain Greek yogurt with Truvia and 1.5 cups fresh mixed berries (25 protein, 6 grams fat, 15-20 carbs), lots of water, green tea

11:30 pm (optional): ½ cup Haagen Dazs dulce de leche ice cream

 

Here’s a typical training day (I don’t track macros, but I happen to know what’s in most of what I eat, so I am including it for your information)

Typical Training Day Menu 

9:00 – 11 am: 2 very large cups of mostly decaf coffee with some cream and a Splenda/Truvia mix (about 200 calories total from cream) and lots of water

2 pm: 3 whole eggs, ½ TBSP butter, 1 medium apple (20 grams protein, 20 grams fat, 20 carbs), 12 oz. Diet Sunkist, lots of water

5 pm: 1 Quest bar, 1 packet almond butter (28 grams protein, 24 grams fat, 29 carbs, 17 fiber), 12 oz. diet Sunkist, lots of water

7 pm: TRAINING

9 pm: 10-12 oz. grass-fed beef with taco seasoning, 1 cup white rice, ½ cup homemade guacamole, handful of corn chips, 1.5 cups roasted Brussel sprouts with butter, ¾ cup baked sweet potato with butter and sea salt, lots of water

11:30 pm (optional): 1 small gluten free carrot cake cupcake, lots of water, green tea

As you can see, it’s nowhere near “perfect.”

No tilapia.
No dry asparagus.
No 99% lean ground turkey.
And no insanity.

Just filling, delicious, and mostly-nutrient dense food that leaves me satisfied and happy, and never feeling deprived.

My bod, from all the angles, raw, un-cut, and mostly un-posed.

My bod, from all the angles, raw, un-cut, and mostly un-posed.

The funniest part about looking through this “diet” that I’ve created, is that it literally just pulled the “common sense” parts of every single diet I’ve ever tried and meshed them together, which is how I ended up eating:

– mostly whole nutrient-dense foods

– paying attention to my hunger and fullness cues

– not eating foods that make me feel like crap

– but otherwise not depriving myself of anything

– eating enough protein to build/maintain lean mass without overdoing it

– eating enough carbs to help me feel satisfied and fueled without overdoing it

– eating enough fat to make my food delicious and satisfying and to keep my body healthy without overdoing it

– eating enough variety to keep me healthy and feeling good

^^^Which is exactly where I would recommend anyone start when trying to look better, feel better, and get healthier.

REVOLUTIONARY, right?

And the biggest and best part of all of it, is that there’s NO STRESS.  There are days that I eat a lot more than this, and days I eat less.  There are days I eat less junk, and days I eat more.  There are days I eat my first meal earlier, and days I eat it later.  My diet revolves around my LIFE and not the other way around.  And it feels good.

What about you?  Have you crafted your own “diet” based on what you’ve found works well for your body? Or do you feel totally lost at how to even get started figuring it out?

17 Responses to My New “Diet” – Exactly How I Eat Each Day

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.