These are my tried and true tactics that I use with my clients to help them optimize their diet and fitness goals. I’ve spent almost 20 years refining these, so I hope they help you. Share your thoughts!
- Eat within 30 minutes of rising.
- Aim for a minimum of 3 meals and 1 snack every day.
- NEVER go more than 5 hours without eating a snack or meal.
- Avoid eating after dinner. The hours between dinner and breakfast are key for liver detoxification. This helps to optimize energy, minimize cravings and process dietary fat. As often as possible, dinner should be finished 12 hours before your scheduled wake time for the next day. For example, if you wake at 6:00 am, then you should be finished with dinner by 6:00 pm- or as close as possible. EXCEPTION: The rules change here if you exercise aggressively. More on that another day!
- Cultivate a daily practice of introspection and/or meditation. Mindfulness around food and exercise will greatly increase success. Learn to be aware of food triggers, appetite and energy zappers. They’re there – you just need to identify them!
- Limit alcohol to 1 drink per day with total weekly intake limited to 3. Must pair alcohol with 1-2 protein servings. Ideally you will avoid alcohol completely until at your goal weight. While it is “allowed” on this structure, you will see results much faster if you completely abstain. How determined are you? If you are following this program for weight loss, it is best to be strict and stay away from the unnecessary calories from alcohol. EXCEPTION: If breast cancer runs in your family, I strongly suggest that you avoid alcohol completely.
- Aim to drink your body weight in ounces of water each day. If you weigh 150 lbs, you would aim to drink 150 ounces.
- In order to optimize energy, mental focus, minimize cravings, and facilitate fat burning, aim to follow a 40/30/30 diet. This means that 40% of your total daily calories come from carbohydrate or “carbs”, 30% come from protein and 30% come from fat.
- Aim to prepare as many meals and snacks at home as possible. This may seem challenging, but after a few days of learning this system, it will be much faster and cheaper to prepare meals at home. The first few days will be frustrating as you learn the various food measurements- much like learning a new language. Commit to learning this new language for 3 to 4 days and you will be amazed how easy it becomes. Very quickly you will find certain “go to foods” that make this system easy. For the first week or so you’ll need to actually measure your food choices from below. Once you’re familiar with your favorite foods, you’ll be able to “eye ball’ the measurements. A small, inexpensive food scale is incredibly helpful.
- Eat a light snack before every exercise session. If exercise lasts longer than one hour or is high intensity, follow your workout with an additional snack.
Coming soon: The ABC’s of 40/30/30. Be on the lookout for my next article that shows you how to create perfectly balanced meals!
And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/HollyPerkins!