Strong 6 Tenets of Healthy Eating, My Personal Guide For a Balanced Diet
Eat lots of carbs. Don’t eat any carbs. Saturated fats will give you heart disease. Put butter in your coffee. If you eat after 7:42 pm, you’re going to Hell. And you'll be fat.
The health and nutrition world can be dogmatic, contradictory, and frankly is almost synonymous with “organized-religion” for some people.
When I lost weight, I did so strictly by reducing calories, without any regard for nutrient content, meal frequency, etc. I reached my goal weight, but over time I realized that I was missing a big part of the “health” picture.
Over time, I’ve developed my own “Strong-6” tenets for eating. I’m not a doctor, a nutritionist, or a dietary expert of any kind. I’m an average Jane who’s read a lot of books and articles, tried a lot of different things, and this is simply what’s worked for me.
I tend to be rigid by nature, but I make an active effort to remember these as guidelines, not law :)
S is for Split your macros
▫ I eat 1-1.3g of protein per lb of bodyweight (this works out to 135-175g for me)
▫ Approximately 50% of my calories come from carbs
▫ The remainder of my daily calories come from fat
T is for Time your meals
▫ My meal timing is every 3-4 hours (while awake), more frequent around workout
▫ Usually this works out to 3 bigger meals per day and 2 snacks.
▫ I typically shoot for at least 20g of protein and 40g of carbs 1-2 hours before my workout and 1-2 hours following my workout **
▫Ever hear that you should "eat the rainbow?" I get my vitamins, minerals, and fiber by including a spectrum of colorful whole foods in my diet
▫ I use multivitamin “safety net”
▫ FDA recommends 25g of fiber/day, but I usually get 40g+ (I like pleasant bathroom experiences, mk??😆)
▫ Hydration, hydration, hydration!
▫ I still weigh most of my food and track my meals in MyFitnessPal
▫ Hold yourself accountable! When I initially lost weight, I kept tracking for fear of gaining weight. Now the issue is quite the opposite- if I don’t weigh/track, I’ll actually under-eat. The idea of eating intuitively sounds nice, but I’m so used to tracking that it doesn’t really bother me.
N is for Nothing off limits (except trans fats and peeps marshmallows because ew)
▫ I find cutting whole food groups to be largely unnecessary and impractical. Unless you have a legitimate allergy/intolerance, I see no need.
▫ That right- I eat gluten, dairy, legumes, grains, sugar...in moderation!
▫ I follow AHA recommendation of keeping sat fats to 5-6% of total calorie intake***
▫ I keep my daily added sugar as low possible (95% of the time)
▫ I limit alcohol intake to once per week****
G is for Grocery shop
▫ Eat out less and cook at home. It’s cost effective and I know precisely what’s on my plate.
▫ I almost always cook breakfast at home (except when Waffle House calls to me).
▫ I prep food for lunch, dinner, and snacks Sunday-Thursday
▫ Fridays and Saturdays I eat out with my honey a couple meals, but we usually cook a few at home too
And there you have it! Not overly complicated and very sustainable.
This is just Part 1 of a series of posts detailing how I implement each of the 6 tenets in my routine, so be on the lookout for that!
A couple of notes...
**For more info on this, please check the link below. I appreciate Jay’s no-nonsense approach and highly recommend checking out his articles on both nutrition and exercise
***Some experts say saturated fat may actually be good for you. In her book, Deep Nutrition, Dr. Cate Shanahan makes a compelling argument for this theory. Due to a lack of any consensus, I choose to take a conservative approach.
**** How often one chooses to indulge is highly individualized. I find having a few drinks with my S.O. Saturday night enjoyable, but I’m also very mindful of the addiction that runs in my family. Limiting to once a week keeps things fun and worry-free, so that’s what I do.
American Heart Association. “Saturated Fat.” Www.heart.org, 2015, www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/saturated-fats.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “Dietary Fiber.” Accessdata.fda.gov, www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/interactivenutritionfactslabel/factsheets/Dietary_Fiber.pdf.
Additional Recommended Reading:
Diet Cults by Matt Fitzgerald. I like writers who cut through the BS, and Fitzgerald delivers. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the onslaught of diet fads, I suggest you give this a read.
Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan, M.D. For all the nutrition nerds out there! This book provides excellent food for thought and I still try to be mindful of her 4 Pillars
Aworkoutroutine.com I mentioned this site earlier, but I really can’t recommend it enough.