You can eat whatever you want this holiday season and stop worrying about your pants bursting at the seams. Holiday gatherings customarily revolve around family, friends, and lots and lots of food. I look forward to these buffet-style feasts every year because I LOVE LOVE LOVE to eat and comfort food always puts me in my happy place. However, in the days leading up to these food frenzies, I would begin to stress how consuming this food was going to make a permanent difference in my waistline. I’m happy to report that one day of eating everything in site never caused any long-term difference in how my clothes fit.
Just three years ago I was struggling with addiction. I was also eating hoards of terrible foods that were cheap, processed, filled with empty calories, and tons of sugar. Back then daily exercise and proper nutrition were the last things on my mind. I didn’t care about the contents of the food I was eating nor did I stop to consider what the toxic ingredients were doing to my mind and body. I just ate to survive, and the results of my poor food choices were made evident through my squishy Pillsbury Doughboy physique. I even reached a point where I could only eat soft foods because my Opioid addiction had wreaked havoc on my stomach and it was impossible to digest solid foods.
The struggle to break the cycle of long-term addiction will make working out every day and eating healthy seem like a piece of cake, pun intended. In my recovery journey, I committed to doing whatever was necessary to change every aspect of my life. Therefore, I implemented some simple daily routines and habits that helped me transform my doughboy body to a chiseled beach body. My complete transformation was 80% diet and 20% exercise, so it’s safe to say that my food and beverage intake played a HUGE role in my before/after pic. I completely changed what I ate when I got sober here’s how it worked.
WHAT THIS PLAN DID FOR ME – My new diet cleared my mind, reduced my depression and anxiety, skyrocketed my metabolism, and completely changed my body inside and out. I was able to sleep better, I had more energy, I was motivated to do the things I enjoyed, and I could keep up with my very active son. Every aspect of my life improved when I changed my diet, including my sex life! YAY ME!
WHAT FOODS JACKED ME UP – Processed foods such as fast food, frozen food, junk food, pretty much anything in a box or package, fried foods are of course no Bueno. However, the biggest ugly culprit of all is sugar. Sugar is the devil. According to research by Dr. David Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D., the part of the brain that lights up is the very same part of the brain that’s triggered by cocaine or heroin. Eating high-sugar foods lights up the brain on an MRI “like a Christmas tree,” Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D., founder and medical director of UltraWellness Center, said during a recent interview on HuffPost Live.
HERE’S WHY IT JACKED ME UP – Processed foods and sugar in general spikes the blood sugar. The human body was never designed to ingest the amount of sugar I was consuming. When you load your body with sugar your body rebels. The consequence of this overload has an enormous negative impact. My body was creating hormones that were negatively impacting my mind. Brain fogs, depression, anxiety, restlessness, are just a few of the horrific side effects I was experiencing from my consistent sugar consumption. Moreover, metabolically sugar sets forth a negative chain reaction of unhealthy events. Weight gain, lack of energy, acne, inadequate, low libido, plus many other ailments.
HERE’S WHAT I DID – I cut the following things out of my diet – SUGAR (soda, fruit juice, milk, yogurt, candy, granola, flavored coffee, iced tea, most protein bars, canned fruit, baked beans, cereal bars, bottled smoothies, processed breakfast cereals, and high-fructose fruits) PROCESSED FOODS (pasta, bread, granola bars, flavored nuts, fruit snacks, margarine, frozen dinners, breakfast sandwiches, chips) FRIED FOODS (pretty much anything dropped in a fryer) DESSERTS (cookies, cake, pie, ice cream, cupcakes, donuts), and of course ALCOHOL (it’s poison for gosh sakes and kills over 50,000 people a year). I stopped living to eat, and I simplified everything about my diet. With the guidance of my good friend, mentor, and personal trainer Todd Smith, I created a daily meal plan that was simple, easy to follow, and entirely sustainable.
Breakfast: scrambled eggs with some random veggies that I liked, 24oz of water, maybe a cup of oatmeal with cinnamon and raisins
Lunch: grilled chicken breast or hamburger patty with a potato or rice and a green vegetable like broccoli or asparagus
Dinner: a choice between grilled chicken breast, steak, grilled shrimp, or a piece of grilled fish. I also have a large portion of steamed vegetables (not canned). I love to add avocados, so I usually have at least one per day.
Between Meals: Between meals, if I get hungry I drink a protein shake with water or have a couple of hard-boiled eggs. After I workout, I always drink a protein shake, and I add in some vitamin powder, superfoods, and some BCAA post workout supplements, so I get everything packed into a single shaker to keep it simple. Before Bed: If I am hungry, I will eat a few hard-boiled eggs. One of the most frequent questions I get asked is about counting calories and portion sizes. My answer is quite simple and usually gets an interesting response, “I eat as much as I want!” My philosophy is to eat healthy food until you are full; don’t worry about overeating. If you are always walking around hungry, you are destined to fail. So long as you are eating only healthy, natural, nutrient-dense foods, your body will respond in an overwhelmingly positive way, mine sure did!
If you practice these principles and maintain a consistent healthy diet, you can indulge at the next holiday gathering and eat whatever you want!
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