There’s a way you can arrange your kitchen to make your life a lot easier when you’re starting to make healthier choices. If you’re anything like me, if it’s in sight, you’ll eat it. Walking into a kitchen full of temptation after a long day of work and not being able to eat what you want is almost as bad as running into a bakery right after a full marathon and having to say no to everything around you.
You deserve it right!? You just ran an MARATHON!
Or maybe you just had a really long day. That can almost feel as taxing as running a marathon, I know.
I’m not forbidding you to treat yourself. But instead of having your own kitchen set up as a place full of treats, having treats a little less accessible will give you time to not only re-think that “well-deserved” treat, or perhaps it will deter you all together from indulging and instead treat yourself to a nice healthy home-made meal.
On the other hand, coming home to an empty kitchen will force you to go to the store. Never go grocery-shopping hungry. I don’t need to explain why. I’m sure we’ve all entered a grocery store hungry and have left with 2 pizzas and 3 bags of chips. Again, if you’re anything like me, your eyes are much bigger than your stomach.
Can you tell I love food?
So let’s talk kitchen set up and food staples. Getting rid of certain things and adding others will help you stay on track. I promise.
Things to get rid of:
Cereals: Too easy and too good.
Ice cream: Get rid of the massive tub of ice cream you have in your freezer.
Juice: Any juice concentrate or juice you have, don’t save it for your weekend mix. Get rid of it.
Sugary salad dressing: Sugar sneaks its way into many things you eat. Try and limit it by getting rid of raspberry vinaigrettes.
Spreads/dips: High fat and easy to consume dips (I’m thinking things like spinach dip, mayonnaise etc) and spreads will add unnecessary calories to your day.
Granola bars: Granola bars aren’t bad, but having boxes of easy accessible snacks can be dangerous. Also, granola bars usually contain lots of nuts and seeds. If you’re trying to manage fat intake, this is a red flag.
Crackers/chips/crunchy snacks: These are a weakness of mine. I cannot have a bag of crackers or chips in my house for more than an hour. If I buy a bag, I’m committing to eating the whole thing. No such thing as portioning these crunchy delights. I avoid buying these unless I know I can somehow fit an entire bag into my day.
What to keep fully stocked:
Vegetables: Obviously. For us folks living in the city, we’re lucky to be close to a grocery store almost all the time. Buy fresh produce in small quantities and go back often. This way you get fresh product every time and it will save your veggies from going bad in the fridge. If you have the space and live farther away from a store, prep your veggies! Make your vegetables as easy to consume as a bag of chips. This equals healthy snacking and no wasted veggies.
Tip: Frozen vegetables are my favourite. They’re usually flash frozen which keeps all their nutrients longer and also can sit in your freezer much longer. Super easy for meal prep and will save you money if you find consuming all your veggies is difficult.
Meats: Lean meat. Chicken, white fish, turkey, lean beef. A lot of this can be frozen and always having a prepared protein source is super important. For easiest access to protein, although not optimal, try keeping cold cuts in your fridge. I usually keep a few packs in my fridge for when I’m in a bind.
Eggs/Egg whites: Protein! Low fat, high protein diets will come very familiar if you’re looking to lean out. Since your daily fat allowance will be low, you’ll probably want to save the fat for something that’s worth eating up a little of that allowance. Egg yolk isn’t worth it for me, personally. If you’re gaining weight and have a little more fat allowance, stick to full eggs.
Single serving treats: I know I just told you to rid your kitchen of all treats, but here I am trying to promote a flexible diet. If you’re going to keep treats around, think of having single serving treats stashed away in your freezer. Think light ice cream bars instead of a whole tub. Single serving ice cream tubs (they do exist). This way you’re not scooping a “serving” of ice cream from your liter tub into a bowl with an additional couple spoonfuls before and after, and then the “oh just another little bit” portion after you’re done your first bowl. Can you tell I’ve been there?
Healthy carb sources: Oats, sweet potato, and squash are a great carb source around your workout. If you need to eat for volume, stick with lower GI carbs like spaghetti squash where you’ll get more bang for your buck. Otherwise, having prepped brown rice or other healthy grains like quinoa are a great source of energy in and around your workout.
Calorie free condiments/spices: Mustard, hot sauce and a variety of spices will help make sure your meals aren’t incredibly bland and boring. I like to keep things as simple as possible when it comes to meal prep so adding flavour with lots of spices is a must.
Baking ingredients: If you have a sweet tooth, make something! Instead of having ready-made treats in your house, another option is to get rid of them all together and instead have the ingredients to make something. It will make you think twice about whether or not you actually want or need that treat. If you really want it, you’ll put the effort in to make it and a track it.
Below are some images of other things that I always have! My go to snacks, ways to make water consumption easier, and low fat, high protein sources.
You you have any questions, don’t be afraid to contact me! firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s a short video on what you can find (or not find) in my own kitchen. Not shown: my freezer! It’s full of frozen vegetables and frozen fruit which is my go-to for most of my meals.
416Life is a Nutrition and Lifestyle program designed to lead you to self-improvement by creating behavioural change and ultimately help you make better decisions about what food you eat. Read more about the program here.
STARTING WEIGHT: 147lbs
CURRENT WEIGHT: 134lbs
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING?
I have a couple different jobs. I work full-time at CrossFit 416 with an amazing group of people. I also work part-time with JAKTRX, a supplement company as Territory Manager and also Social Media manager.
When I’m not doing some work with these two jobs, I’m getting creative and painting/selling my paintings. As a Fine Arts graduate, I’m trying to keep this in my life as much as possible.
WHEN DID YOU START FLEXIBLE DIETING, AND HOW HAS IT BEEN GOING?
I started flexible dieting in April 2016. I was lying in bed one day and it just hit me. I needed to sign up for a coach and learn how to count my macros. I was getting fed up with training too hard and not having my body reflect the work I put in the gym. I signed up with with a coach and was with him for a year. Since then, I’ve set goals, hit them and kept going. I can’t imagine my life without flexible dieting.
WHAT DID YOUR DIET PLAN LOOK LIKE BEFORE TURNING TO A FLEXIBLE LIFESTYLE?
I’ve been eating healthy for years. Right before starting to count my macros, I was mindful about what I ate. I ate carbs around my workouts but I didn’t realize how much I was over eating. I thought that because I was working out every day, my body needed ALL the food. Really, I just wanted all the food. I over consumed fat every day which lead me to hold onto the fat around my mid section and prevented me from really hitting my full potential in the gym. Going into counting my macros, I didn’t even think I wanted to lose weight. I wanted to do some body recomposition and get stronger. I ended up losing 13 pounds and leaning out exactly how I wanted all while PR-ing three of my lifts at my new weight.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST LEARNING EXPERIENCE SINCE STARTING FLEXIBLE DIETING?
This process is not the same for everyone. For some, you’ll see results right away. For some, not for months. It’s just that – a process. It’s not going be linear or easy. I’ve learned to not only keep goals, but more importantly enjoy the process. Learn to love what you’re doing every day.
NAME THREE THINGS YOU WOULD TELL SOMEONE WHO IS JUST STARTING OUT?
Be patient! Counting and tracking does get easier. The first week or two is a learning period. These things will soon become habit and you won’t imagine your life without doing them. Just take a deep breath and keep going.
Trust your coach! They have the knowledge to help you achieve your goals and they have the experience to share with you. Again, this is a process.
Build a great support system! Surround yourself with people who support you. They might not understand what you’re doing but be patient with them. Once they see how amazing you look and how much great energy you have, they’ll be asking where to sign up. Do this for yourself and don’t worry about what others are saying.
You got this.
In 1 weeks time, I’m excited we’ll be launching 416Life – a nutrition and lifestyle program designed to help every athlete reach their full potential. Whether you’re looking to lean out, put on muscle or simply learn how to live a balanced life, let’s work together. I truly believe that we should strive to never stop improving. With personalized and customizable templates and/or 1-on-1 nutrition coaching, we’ve created a program where there’s no option but to succeed. I’m so looking forward to working with anyone who’s ready to make a change and start living the #416life.
Be patient! There’s lots more information to come. For now, contact email@example.com for any questions.
If you’re planning on going out for a meal and you’ve decided that you’re going to make this meal fit in your macros, planning the rest of your day around the meal will help you stick to your goal. I’m giving you the option of deciding whether or not you want this outing to fit in your macros because in reality, we do have that choice and just because you’re counting macros, that choice shouldn’t go away. Before the meal, check in with yourself and decide whether this meal is worth perhaps going over for the day or if it’s just another meal. Are you going to make memories at this dinner or brunch? Or are you eating out for convenience.
A few Sundays ago I went out for brunch with my boyfriend and my future sister-in-law. I rarely eat out so when I do, it’s usually something I remember. I can tell you exactly where I ate, who it was with, what I ate and what the weather was like for all the times I’ve eaten out in the past year. So for me, it’s all about making memories.
Since I was prepared for this, I chose a place for brunch that I’ve been wanting to go to for some time. I made smart choices about what I ate before brunch, what I ordered at the restaurant, and what I ate for the rest of the day. At the end of the day, I was over my daily fat allowance by 10 grams (not amazing, but could be much worse), and managed to stay within my carbs and my protein.
For those of you who are curious, each day I eat 140 grams of protein, 200 grams of carbs on a workout day, and 45 grams of fat. This is what it looks like when I try my best to stay within these numbers while going out for a meal.
8:00 am – Black Coffee (no cream today, hoard the fat!) and a litre of water
9:30 am – Light, low fat breakfast (see picture above)
4:30pm – Veggie and green salad with chicken breast and apple cider vinegar – no extra carb sources. I kept this meal really carb/fat light and high protein!
8:00pm -0% greek yogurt, protein powder and frozen berries
I fill the rest of the day with lots of water, tea and coffee. It prevents me from snacking and keeps me hydrated.
Here are two extra tips to keep in mind when you know you’re going out for a meal:
*Keep your surrounding meals high protein as it’s very easy to eat extra fat and carbs in a restaurant. If you have to replace eggs with egg whites, do it!
*The next day, you might feel a little bloated even if you managed to stay within your macros. This is totally normal. Restaurants like to add salt to everything for taste. That bloat feeling is just water weight so don’t fret! It will come right down as long as you’re staying hydrated.
I always like to say – “failing to plan is planning to fail” and this is the truth when it comes to eating out. Plan ahead. Take a look at the menu before you go into the restaurant and have a game plan. You’ll leave feeling great about a memory you just created and you’ll feel good that you didn’t have to sacrifice your diet plan in order to do so.
For any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Deciding to make a lifestyle change is a huge pill to swallow. Maybe you’re someone who’s new to “dieting” and has never really attempted to create a shift in their lifestyle but has recently noticed their training isn’t getting them where they would like to be. After all, you can’t out-train a bad diet. Or maybe you’ve been through it all – Paleo, Zone, Keto, following strict meal plans, fasting, etc. and just haven’t been able to find something that is sustainable.
For the amount of time you dedicate to training and getting a good sweat on, you should be able to show off what you work for by feeling great and looking great. What most people fail to realize is how important your entire lifestyle really is in playing a role towards these goals – feeling and looking great.
Since you’re reading this, I take it you’ve started to think about, or have already decided to create this change in your lifestyle. In order to be most successful, we want t make sure we’re not biting off more than we can chew. That’s where things can go wrong and where most people usually fall off the wagon. It’s all about the little changes you make that soon turn into good habits, ultimately forming a better lifestyle.
So where do I start? Here are some questions you can ask yourself. What kind of good habits to I currently have?
Do I drink enough water first thing in the morning?
Do I take my vitamins every day, especially if I know I’m deficient in a certain nutrient?
Do I turn screens off 1 hour before bed time to make sure I get a sound sleep?
Do I get enough green vegetables every day in my current diet?
If you’ve answered “No” to any one of these questions, then you already know there’s a small change you can make to ultimately create a better lifestyle for yourself. Start there.
Over time, these small changes add up. You start to trust yourself that you can create small shifts and stay accountable, and you’re ready to tackle bigger challenges the more you build your confidence.
There’s always something we can be doing to better ourselves. What can you do today?
CF 416 coaches and staff would like to extend a huge congratulations to all participants in the 2017 Lifestyle Challenge!
This year, we had 89 people partake. We witnessed some amazing transformations over the course of the challenge. There were two individuals that stood out.
Our 2017 Lifestyle Challenge winners are Amanda Secor and Mike Bogias!!!!
These two demonstrated that, when you put an emphasis on consistency, nutrition, exercise, and recovery, it directly correlates with improved performance and body composition.
Amanda started a new job that required her to be testing wines on a weekly basis. Dedicated to the challenge’s guidelines, she employed any means necessary to avoid consuming the many samplings that crossed her path. She was extremely consistent in tracking her daily food intake and bonus points, which resulted in a total point tally of 365.
Amanda entered this year’s challenge looking to improve her body composition while simultaneously improving her performance, which is exactly what she did. Amanda improved her test WOD score by 2 minutes and 24 seconds, added 3 pull ups, and had a 14 second PR on her 2 KM row.
As for her body composition, her reaction after leaving her post-challenge measurement by Ben said it all: all smiles! (as always). In addition, Amanda is down 2.48lbs (waiting on actual numbers).
Mike was our 2015 Lifestyle Challenge champion, and entered this year’s challenge looking to reclaim his title and ended up knocking it out of the park. Over the six weeks, Mike lost a grand total of 17.1 Lbs., added 5 reps to his max pull ups, shaved 6 minutes and 26 seconds off of his test WOD time, and improved his 2 KM time by 39 seconds.
Every morning throughout the challenge, after finishing the 6 AM class, Mike would be parked in the corner, consuming his post-workout, “real food” recovery. So… much… tuna!
Preparation really aided Mike in attaining his weight loss and performance goals. As for Mike’s continuing fitness journey, he says he plans on continuing to count his macros, ultimately resulting in him ending up on the cover of Men’s Health in December 2017. Good luck, Mike!
Aside from Amanda and Mike’s winning performances, we had a number of other noteworthy performances .
Julie lost 13.2 Lbs., and significantly improved her test scores. Julie added 6 pullups, took 75 seconds off of her test WOD, and 8 seconds off of her 2 KM row. In order to see this sort of progress, Julie had to overcome a lot of ingrained habits, but, by doing so, showed huge improvement as the challenge went on. Julie went above and beyond simply tweaking some habits, truly making a 180 degree turn. Amazing effort, Julie! Keep up the amazing lifestyle changes you’ve managed to make in such a short time (although we’re sure it felt like ages at times for everyone).
Tara entered this year’s lifestyle challenge looking to improve her performance, which is exactly what she did, shaving 3 minutes and 45 seconds off of her test WOD, 34 seconds off of her 2 KM row, and adding 2 pullups in the process.
Tara showed remarkable consistency throughout the challenge, posting nearly the same number of points on a weekly basis, diligently prepping her food every week, and taking care of her exercise and recovery needs.
Her hard work has been paying dividends in the gym, as she continues to improve on a weekly basis. Last week, she managed to get her first kipping pullups. Great work, Tara!
Habits Post Challenge
The intent of this year’s Lifestyle Challenge was to provide participants with the tools and support to help people achieve fitness goals both in-, and outside of, the gym. Whether you are seeking improved body composition or enhanced performance, nutrition is a foundational element for attaining nearly any fitness or performance goal. Fuelling your body properly will alter how you feel, recover, and perform. We can’t stress that enough!
So, now that the challenge is over, you might be wondering where to go from here with regards to your nutrition and meal planning? Let’s be completely honest: following the Challenge’s nutrition recommendations 100% of the time for the rest of your life is fairly unrealistic. My suggestion would be to follow a few of the key recommendations you can stick to, and turn them into habit.
The challenge wasn’t meant to punish you for six weeks, but to show that changes in health and lifestyle can be sustainable. To help you out a bit, here are some key recommendations to consider now that the Challenge is over:
Eat consistently: Never skip a meal; snack between meals to prevent extreme hunger and overeating
Macronutrients: Keep tracking your macros as much as possible. You may run into times when tracking isn’t realistic, however, on the days you do have control, keep tabs on what you are eating to ensure you are staying on track.
Timing: Eat within that one hour window post-exercise. This will help to minimize muscle loss and enhance protein synthesis i.e. the GainTrain
Alcohol in moderation: Okay, this will never go away entirely, but taking a moderate approach to drinking is reasonable. Aim for no more than 14 drinks per week for men and 9 for women, limiting yourself to no more than 2-3 drinks in a 24-hour period.
Don’t feel guilty: So you slipped up and had that cupcake or that greasy bacon cheese burger. Now what? Move on! Enjoy it, don’t feel bad, and get back to healthy eating during the next meal. At the same time, don’t lie to yourself. Be accountable for your cheats. If you truly want to continue to see changes in your fitness and body composition, treats should be kept to a minimum (1-2 times weekly).
Here are a couple of words from our winners:
Mike: “I just found out that I’m the male winner of the CrossFit 416 Lifestyle Challenge™. Super Awesome! I’d like thank all of the CF416 coaches and our nutrition expert Emilie for putting this together in its third year running. I really look forward to it as a focused reset period when work and life get in the way of good health.
Last year I failed the challenge miserably, mostly because I couldn’t wrap my head around counting macro-nutrients. I’m from a Greek family and this type of behaviour is seen as shameful. However, I committed to becoming a science experiment for 6 weeks, and now I’m really happy with the results. My pants fit better, I can move better, my conditioning has improved, and I carry myself with more confidence (even more).
For those who were on the fence this year and decided not to participate in the challenge, I hope that you change your mind next year. The reality is, most of us are not competing in the CrossFit games but many of us are competing in the “most balanced life challenge”. This is perfect opportunity to tip the scale towards good health when it often takes a back seat to other things in life.
Couple of last Thank You’s:
Thank you to Chelsea (my wife, high five), for helping with the meal prep and the macro counting. You’re not bad.”
And finally thanks to my aunt and uncle for identifying that I had become fat over the Christmas holidays. Sometimes it take family to be upfront with you, or just to insult you out of pleasure. Either way, I’m 18 Lbs lighter today so I’ll take that motivation anytime. 🙂
Amanda: “I took the challenge very seriously this year, more a personal feat to hold myself accountable.
Not surprisingly, like most, the hardest part was avoiding alcohol. Super challenging given I started a new job in the wine industry – which means I think about, talk about, and look at wine ALL day. Do you know how many tasting opportunities I turned down? How many hours I spent in LCBOs without buying anything? How big my wine collection became?
I had to be the new girl that continually explained that I couldn’t drink… but also quickly follow up with ‘and but NO, I’m NOT pregnant’ (I figure being the new pregnant girl would be worse then the new lame healthy girl).
This challenge also killed my social life. It’s really the best way to make you super aware of how much your life revolves around eating out and drinking. Thankfully I was not alone, fellow lifestyle challengers and I would meet for our ‘sober series’ a couple times a week. I also slept a lot more and took the extra time to stretch and to some creative meal-prep. “