Proper Proportions For Your Meals

Wellness is 80% diet and 20% exercise. That wasn’t the first time you heard me say that, and it won’t be the last. What you put into your body is more important than what sort of exertion you get out of your body.

Even if you are eating a healthy about of calories with healthy portion sizes, things can still be skewered if the sizes of each meal portion are out of wack. If your plate consists of 50% mac ‘n’ cheese, 40% steak, and 10% kale…you are doing it wrong. “A” for effort, but still wrong.

Your meals should be made up of three categories: proteins, veggies, and carbs. Veggies are self-explanatory. Proteins consist of your meats, nuts, eggs, peanut butter, and even chocolate milk! Carbs (and remember…we want to focus on complex carbs, not simple carbs) are your fruits, cereals, and breads.

Let’s take a quick look at my personal recommendations on how to segment each onto your plate for each meal. Remember to drink 2 cups (16oz) of water before each meal, and you’ll be right on track to optimal wellness!

Breakfast

Your breakfast consists of an easy 50/50 split. Half of your plate should be proteins, while the other half should be carbs. Think oatmeal with fresh fruit. Eggs with pancakes. Bacon with an apple. Easy peasy.

These pancakes have only two ingredients: eggs and bananas! And, my god, are they delicious -drool-

Lunch

Things start to get a tad trickier when it comes to lunch, as we are now adding veggies to the mix. Half of your lunch should consist of veggies of some sort. The other half of your lunch should be 25% carbs and 25% proteins.

To make this easier, I have several plastic containers that are split in 50%, 25%, 25% section. When I prepare my lunch for the following day, I place my veggies into the 50% section. My protein and my carb are then placed into the two smaller trays. This prevents me from over-indulging with my eyes and placing a higher amount of protein or carb than is needed.

Turkey burger and baked zucchini with squash!

Dinner

The dinner recommendation is where people start to freak out…75% veggies and 25% protein. …Now, now, now, please put down your pitchforks. This is not as hard as it seems.

There are many food choices out there that count as veggies but can be eaten like protein or carbs. Some of my favourites include:

  • Cauliflower mashed potatoes
  • Zucchini noodles
  • Spaghetti squash noodles
  • Cauliflower rice
  • Black-eyed pea patties

These foods can all be found in the freezer section of your local supermarket, and they are quick and easy to make. They are also customizable!

Zoodles with boiled shrimp!

I love steaming cauliflower rice in the microwave and then pouring some Tikka Masala on top, or stirring in diced tomatoes and chiles. The Tikka Masala and tomatoes+chiles are both great additives to normal white rice, and they taste just as great in cauliflower rice.

Another great option is creating homemade pizza with a cauliflower crust instead of flour crust! Add whatever toppings you want; nothing is off limits. Just use that cauliflower crust, and you are set.

When you have a nice-sized helping of these camoflagued veggies on your dinner plate, it’s not so hard to hit that 75%, huh? 🙂

One Cheat Meal Or Missed Workout Doesn’t Mean Failure

I’ve had this issue in the past. Most people I know have had this issue in the past. And it’s unfortunate.

We’ve all been there… You’re clean-eating like a champ, making sure to get #VeggiesMost and eschewing all of the sugary desserts. You’re working out daily, and feeling the literal burn in your muscles. You’re staring at ourselves nakedly each evening and feeling so many happy butterflies over how much your body is changing as you near your goal. And then…

Disaster strikes.

It might be a party.

It might be a vacation.

It might be the holidays.

But whatever it is…you don’t live up to your daily #FitFam expectations. And you feel gross.

A college-freshman’s wet dream, and a college-sophomore’s nightmare as they try to undo the damage of the past 365 days. These foods are tasty and are perfectly fine to enjoy on occasion. Just don’t make them daily staples in your diet.

You’ve devoured 4 slices of pizza, some cookies, a soda, and then laid on the couch all day. By the end of the evening, you’re beating yourself up and feel terrible. You want to go running to burn off the meal, but you’re too full and bloated to go more than a few steps. What do you do next??

Well, first, remember that we’re all human. No one is expected to eat clean and workout every single day. Personal trainers indulge. Celebrities indulge. Models indulge. Everyone indulges sometimes. That’s why the term “weekly cheat meal” exists. Should you use your weekly cheat meal as an excuse to drink a carton of lard. Helllll no! But indulging in your favourite greasy foods is a-okay!

Just as one healthy meal doesn’t make you lose 10 lbs, one unhealthy meal doesn’t make you gain 10 lbs. It’s all about consistency. If all you eat are veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins, then yes you will lean out and lose weight. If all you eat is grease, fried foods, and cakes, then yes you will bloat and gain weight. But one meal is not enough to influence one or the other.

Just as one healthy meal doesn’t make you lose 10 lbs, one unhealthy meal doesn’t make you gain 10 lbs.

Everyone deserves a guilty pleasure. Everyone has their favourite cheat meal. Why have it if you never use it? Think about your week to-come, and plan out the day for your cheat meal! (For all of my American readers, Thanksgiving Day dinner is your cheat meal this coming November. You’re welcome). And then, let loose on that cheat meal.

Trust me, you’re going to rememberi that cheat meal the following day, and you’ll have that much more motivation to hit the gym and continue your path to fitness.

Pilates-style HIIT workouts are my favourites! I recommend giving online workouts by Kayla Itsines, Lucy Wyndham-Read, and Blogilates a try if you’re looking for something new 🙂

What you shouldn’t do is to give up. Don’t feel like a failure (even though it’s inevitable at times, especially on vacations). Don’t say to yourself, “Well, I’ve been lazy for two days, so I guess this is it for my fitness plans”. NO! NO, NO, NO! So what that you were lazy for two days? Hop back on the horse, and start galloping your way to success again.

Repeat After Me: A two-day rest should not equate the destruction of your goals. Every workout and every healthy meal helps to further your goals. Again, if anything, a rest or a cheat meal should motivate you further to meet your goals. Where’s that determination and drive? I know you’ve got it. So use it 😘

The Starving Kids In Africa And Your Expanding Midsection

“You’d better finish your plate! There’s starving kids in Africa going hungry tonight while you’re trying not to eat your vegetables.”

We’ve all heard this before. My mother said this to me. The shows on the telly said this to me. Random parents in the mall’s food court spoke it aloud. From birth, most Americans (and perhaps inhabitants of other countries as well) are conditioned to finish all of the plate on their food, whether they want it or not.

Oftentimes, this notion is used with good intentions. Children often try skipping out of eating their veggies, while still devouring their meat and carbs and screaming for dessert. “Finish your plate” is an exasperated parent’s cry to keep their kid from developing scurvy, while “there’s starving kids in Africa” implants guilt within them for not eating those delicious leaves of spinach.

Fun fact! Broccoli is the only veggie that I won’t eat, so I feel this girl’s pain. Give her some green beans or something, y’all!

However, while this notion may have started with good intentions, it typically leads to bad habits that influence the negative consequences of one’s adult life. Finish your plate! echoes through my head at most meals. Whether I’m full or not. Whether the food tastes good or not. My eyes stare down at the plate and start calculating the spoonfuls in my head:

There’s only five more forkfuls. I know you’re full, but it’s just five forkfuls. That’s barely any compared to how many forkfuls you’ve already had! Come on…into the mouth…THERE you go! Put some water in your mouth, and it’ll help you chew and swallow it down. …GOOD JOB. Okay, now…there’s only four forkfuls now. You’ve got this! That’s barely any compared to how many forkfuls you’ve already had…

It’s just not healthy.

Unhealthy eating habits aren’t exclusive to me and this poor man in the picture. They plague most of us.

Listening to my body is one of the best things I’ve learned to do in my late twenties. My body lets me know when I am dehydrated. When I am hungry. When I need to walk. When I need a Pilates fix. When I need to run. When I need to sleep. When I need veggies. When I need meat. The human body is like a machine, and a caution light comes on in your head whenever a part needs some fixing up.

This is why fad diets and exercises don’t work. They’re not giving the body what it needs, but rather what you think it needs so that you can look like a cover model. And eventually, your body gives up, and you lapse back into your unhealthy habits once more.

Portion control is key, no matter what you eat. Yes, salads are healthy, but if you eat a giant bowl of iceberg lettuce with buttermilk ranch on top, you’re not getting anywhere in life.

What in the ever-loving shit is this?!!?!?!? Why would you do this?!????!?!?!

And that is why “finish your plate” is so damaging. You’re ignoring portion control, and you’re ignoring your body. Your body is saying that it is full–that it has reached the level of fuel required to run through the day–but you are still shoveling more gas into the tank.

Are you overly gassy? Do you have poop problems? Indigestion? Feel like a lard after a meal? You’re finishing your plate.

Stop it.

I know, it’s hard! It is soooo hard, and I struggle with it daily. When I do finish my plate without feeling full, I congratulate myself. I placed the exact right amount of food on the plate, and as a result I was able to finish it without punishing my body.

When I feel full and have to put my plate down, I look sadly at that one forkful of kale left, the two bites of tilapia, the toddler-sized handful of rice. I know that I can still eat that. But I’ll be destroying my body in the process. It’s better to store that plate in the fridge (or get a to-go box from a restaurant) for a later-day snack of what was left on the plate. Knowing this, it’s still a struggle.

Don’t you dare judge me! I’m working on my portion control and didn’t finish this at dinner!

Meanwhile, across the globe, African kids are still starving…which is the other problem with this whole messed up analogy.

Finish your plate because there’s starving kids in Africa.

What we think we’re saying is to feel grateful for what we have.

What we’re really saying is to be as gluttonous as possible with our meals. Rather than taking a couple of bucks and donating money to feed these poor kids, we are shoving the money down our throats to pop a few extra buttons off our trousers.

The Google Image search for “starving kids in Africa” literally turned my stomach and brought tears to my eyes, so enjoy this image of “disadvantaged” students in Liberia with singer Ed Sheeran instead.

There’s starving kids in Africa. There’s also starving kids in our own cities. And dehydrated kids. Flint, Michigan still doesn’t have clean water. If you are continuously cooking too much food and overstuffing your plate, shorten your grocery list by a few bucks, and send Flint some water bottles.

Like, seriously. Click this link and send these people some water until the government officials get off their asses and fix the water problem.

Absolutely disgusting in more ways than one.

Bottom line? You take the fuel nozzle out of the car when you hear the click say that your tank is full. Likewise, put your fork down and push your plate aside when your stomach tells you that you are full.

And instead of trivializing starving children for the benefit of the growing obesity crisis, just tell your kids to eat their veggies instead.

 

**Are you interested in getting your health and fitness together, with all of the team support and none of the pyramid schemes singing in your DMs? Comment below, and I’ll add you to my fitness group today! No hidden issues, just friends and fitness for FREE 🙂