1. Eat every 2-3 hours.
Are you doing this – no matter what? No, they don’t have to be huge meals, but you do need to eat 6-8 meals and snacks that conform to the other rules below.
2. Eat complete, lean protein each time you eat.
Are you eating something that was an animal or comes from an animal – every time you feed yourself? If not, make the change. Fish, bison, chicken, beef, etc. A high quality protein could be substituted 1 (2 max) times a day.
Note: If you’re a vegetarian, this rule still applies – you need complete protein and need to find non-animal sources.
3. Eat vegetables every time you eat.
That’s right, in addition to a complete, lean protein source, you need to eat some vegetables every time you eat (every 2-3 hours, right?). You can toss in a piece of fruit here and there as well. But don’t skip the veggies.
4. Eat starchy carbs post workout, and eat fruits and veggies whenever you want. Starchy carbs include things like simple sugars, rice, pasta, potatoes, bread, etc. Don’t be afraid of starchy carbs, but you’ll need to save them until after you’ve exercise because your body can best utilize them in the post workout setting. The most ideal carbs post workout are jasmine rice or potatoes – the better the quality, the better the result. For the rest of the day, eat your lean protein and a delicious selection of fruits and veggies.
5. Learn to love healthy fats.
There are 3 types of fat – saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. Gone are the days of “fat makes you fat”! Eating all three kinds of fat in a healthy balance (about equal parts of each) can dramatically improve your health, and even help you lose fat.
Saturated fats-animal products and you can even toss in some butter or coconut oil for cooking
Monounsaturated fats-mixed nuts, olives, and olive oil
Polyunsaturated fats-flaxseed oil, fish oil, and mixed nuts
6. Stop drinking your calories. In fact, all of your drinks should come from non-calorie containing beverages. Fruit juice, sweet tea, sport drinks, alcoholic drinks, and sodas – these are all to be removed from your daily fare. Your best choices are water and green tea. The only exception would be a high quality protein shake 1-2 times a day.
7. Focus on whole foods.
There are a few times where supplement drinks and shakes are useful (post workout, especially), but focus on eating actual foods and stay away from baked protein bars.
8. Have 10% foods.
We know you cringed at a few of the rules above. But here’s the thing: 100% nutritional discipline is never required for optimal progress. The difference between 90% adherence to your nutrition program and 100% adherence is negligible. So you can allow yourself “10% foods” – foods that break rules, but which you’ll allow yourself to eat (or drink, if it’s a beverage) 10% of the time. Just make sure you do the math and determine what 10% of the time really means. For example, if you’re eating 6 meals per day for 7 days of the week – that’s 42 meals. 10% of 42 is about 4. Therefore you’re allowed to “break the rules” on about 4 meals each week.
9. MEAL PREP or have someone do it for you.
The hardest part about eating well is making sure you can follow the 8 rules above consistently. And this is where preparation comes in. You might know what to eat, but if it isn’t available, you’ll blow it when it’s time for a meal.
10. Balance daily food choices with healthy variety.
Let’s face it, when you’re busy during the week, you’re not going to be spending a ton of time whipping up gourmet meals. We get it. Just make sure to throw something in that’s different and tasty so that you don’t get bored and stagnant!