Our first guest post is from the fabulous Janetha over at Meals and Moves. It was only a short time ago that I found her blog and immediately fell in love with it. She’s funny, makes killer vegan goods, has some kickin’ workout plans, and I am pretty sure if we lived in the same city, we’d most certainly be best of friends. Happy Meals and Moves Monday everyone!
disclaimer: i don’t capitalize when i type. deal.
hey dudes and dudettes, guys and dolls, fellas and birds. let me introduce myself, the name is janetha (pronounced ja-NEEEE-tha) and i have a little spot in blogland i like to call meals & moves. the lovely holly has asked me to ramble on her little spot today and so that is what i am about to do!
holly wanted a variety of guest posts showcasing the several different eating styles her readers have. definitely a good idea, everyone is different and different things work for different people. we do all have one thing in common—we love miss healthy everythingtarian’s face off. i just had to get that established and now i can talk about what eating style works for me!
enter: body for life.
some of you may have heard of this book, some of you may have even read it. it was written by a man named bill phillips. there is a LOT to be said about this book and the principles in it. i don’t want to drag this post out longer than it needs to be, trust me i totally could..i am a rambler (i know what you real estate buff are thinking, “rambler?” no, not liked the home.. i am not a split level or a duplex either..i am saying i tend to go on and on with my words..i am sure you can already see that) so for the sake of keeping this post only somewhat long, i will just talk about the eating portion of the body for life plan.
i should mention that body for life starts out as a 12 week “challenge” and people can enter the official challenge to win some annual contest~but it is really a plan that is meant to be followed for life, hence the name. i did an official challenge last year and i have kept to the eating and exercise principles since. i don’t want to plaster my before and after photos on holly’s blog, that would be rude. but if you are interested in seeing what body for life has done for me you can click here to check out the visuals and read up on my story. i do want to briefly touch on the principles of the eating plan of body for life because i think it is the bee’s knees. (do bees even have knees? and if they do, what is so great about them? this phrase is in my vocab so often yet i am still not quite sure what is so fantastic about the knees of bees.)
the eating steeze
body for life has two simple guidelines:
- eat 5 or 6 small, balanced meals each day (i like 5)
- base your meals on a ratio of 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates & 20% fat
time for me to be an elaboration station.
would you rather be a big fat grizzly bear
or a lean, mean buffalo? (i mean have you ever tried bison? there is not a lick of fat when cooking the stuff up!)
okay, neither of them are exactly images of i want to model my body from. animals aside, i think it is unanimous that we would rather be lean than overweight. let’s look at how these animals eat. bears eat a whole bunch at once, fatten up and can go a super long time without eating. buffalos graze all day. (oh, by the way, i am by no means an expert on what animals eat nor do i have anything to back this bear/buffalo eating pattern thing up, i just go off common sense.) i want to be the buffalo. i want to graze.
eating 5 or 6 times a day is a surefire way to keep your metabolism in check. when you only eat 2 or 3 times a day and you get to the point where you say “holy balls i am starving” then you are screwing with you metabolism and your body decides to cling onto your last meal in fear that it will never get another again… by breaking your meals up into small, more frequent eating times you train your body to know you will be eating every 3 hours or so and in turn your metabolism cooperates and the fat starts melting away. i am not sure of all the logistics behind BMR (basal metabolic rate) and all that, but if something says i can eat all day long and lose weight—sign me up! at first it was hard for me to get used to this, i would go a few hours and really not be hungry but i would eat anyway because i was “doing it by the book”~eventually my body was trained and just like clockwork, my tum would start to growl a tiny bit every 3 hours. amazing how we adapt.
i know there is a bunch of carb/protein talk out there. so many debates! so much confusion! carbs are ridiculously horrible, don’t eat them. too much protein will kill you (ok, maybe not that drastic but you get the idea). who is right? who is wrong? i still don’t know. what i do know is that, through trial and error, i figured out the ratios that i need to be a healthy, happy girl. and that just so happens to be an equal balance of protein and carbohydrates with a little healthy fat thrown in for good measure. fat free is definitely not for me. the ratio breakdown is 40% protein/40% carbs/20% fat.
ratios can be confusing. holly will be the first to tell you she is not stoked on arithmetic. i will now show you two ways to figure out how to eat 40/40/20.
first: the numbers game (and probably a way nobody chooses to use, but it explains the method to the madness so i wanted to include it)
- 1 gram of protein=4 calories
- 1 gram of carbs=4 calories
- 1 gram of fat=9 calories
say you eat 1500 calories today. you want to have 40% coming from protein and 40% coming from carbs.. in other words 600 calories worth of each carbs and protein. take that 600 calories divide it by 4 calories per gram and it works out to 150 grams of each protein and carbs. then you have 300 calories hanging out there that should have been used up on yummy healthy fats like nut butter, avocado, seed, etc.. you take that 300 divide it by 9 and you get roughly 34 grams of fat needed to reach your ratios.
spread this out into 6 meals and you want to aim for 25 grams of protein and carbohydrates for each meal along with about 5 or 6 grams of fat. personally i don’t have fat at every meal because some of the fats i like to eat are on the high side so as long as i throw in some healthy fat into a few meals a day i call it good.
second: the way everyone else does it (and by “everyone else” i mean all the people who aren’t number obsessed with numbers and don’t count how many stairs in the staircase when walking up and down them..yes that would be me)
enter: the fist/palm method. it is best to eat food that is not processed, we all know that. unprocessed foods don’t come with labels. sure, if you eat some greek yogurt you KNOW you are getting 24 grams of protein (for the 8 oz container of voskos plain 0%) and mister quaker tells you the number of carbs in his oats, but for other items you really have to guess. measure out your protein and carb portion with your eyeballs at each meal, aim for the size of your fist or your open palm.
- apple (a carb) the size of your clenched fist
- chicken breast (a protein) the size of your open palm
- brown rice (a carb) the size of your clenched fist (so for me, miss tiny-hands, about 2/3 cup)
- ground turkey (a protein) the size of your clenched fist
you get the idea.
and then add as many vegetables to the meal as humanly possible. it is a good rule of thumb!
add a little diced avocado to your salad or drizzle some EVOO atop the bed of greens.. maybe slather some almond butter on your whole wheat toast.. plenty of ways to get that healthy fat in!
some of my favorite body for life approved meals can be found here and also i wanted to list a few of my staple go-to meals:
- protein oatmeal (oats made with water and protein powder) with peanut butter and unsweetened cocoa powder
- ground turkey marinara with whole wheat noodles & a huge salad w/ avocado
- high fiber wasa crackers topped with fat free cottage cheese and sprinkled with sunflower seeds
- 0% greek yogurt mixed with a diced peach and a plethora of cinnamon
a few other things i should mention about the body for life clean eating style is to avoid high fat dairy, refined sugars, white flour, all that jazz. clean eating is not rocket science. pick whole grain bread over white bread. brown rice over white. get your sweets from fruit not the candy jar. all these good rules of thumb are incorporated in the body for life plan. you can see a sample approved foods list here.
the best part of the body for life eating plan: free day! you follow this clean eating plan i have detailed above for 6 days of the week. one day of each week is designated your “free day” and all rules are thrown out the window. eat what you want, when you want, however much (or little) you want.. sounds great, right?
let me tell you something about free day. it is not all you think it is cracked up to be! after 6 days of clean eating, your body loves you. eat a greasy hamburger with a side of equally greasy fries your taste buds might be like, “hallelujah! i love you free day!” but your body is like, “’scuse me but what exactly are you doing to me you horrible, awful, mean person?!”. true story. after about two free days like this i learned to use my free day for just the foods i was craving. such as ice cream (my favorite), bowls of cereal, burritos and sushi. granted, you can have that stuff during the week by converting it to “body for life friendly” but i use my free day to indulge in items i really love, not just crap to eat because the plan says i can. it is amazing what i have learned about my body and what is shocking is that i used to be able to eat off the wendy’s 99 cent menu every day and my body was just fine with that. you couldn’t catch me eating a deep fried chicken nugget these days.
with that said, free day keeps me sane. it helps with managing my social calendar. if my friends are going to the cheesecake factory where every dish is well over 6 thousand calories each (i kid) then i don’t want to decline the dinner invite, i want to go along, so i designate that my free day. then i hop back on the clean eating wagon and call it good.
i love how manageable this eating style is… it really is one i can do for life.
WOW this came out to be a hell of a lot longer than i intended. but hey, i warned you that i tend to go on and on, the choice to read was yours ;)
these days i still eat body for life style meals. i always have my protein and my carb at each meal. i am definitely not as strict as i once was as far as meal times go but i do practice the clean eating and the ratios. if you ever check out my blog you will see my meals are always aimed to be a balanced ratio of protein/carbs. i also still use the body for life exercise plan.. but that is a story for another day!
i hope you enjoyed reading about body for life. if you have done it before and are into it, message me! i would love to chat about it. also if you have any questions regarding body for life i can try my best to answer them. like i said, i am no expert, but i know through personal experience that this thing works pretty well. my email is firstname.lastname@example.org, feel free to shoot me a note.
enjoy your day :)
xo, janetha b.