First off, I just want to say I completed my first Tough Mudder last weekend at Mount Snow in Vermont. It was ahhhsaaamm. Who doesn’t like jumping into ice baths and being voluntarily electrocuted?? Riddle me that.

My roommates and I right before jumping in the “Arctic Enema”

Also, I just want everyone to know that I rarely, if EVER run. You don’t have to run to be in good cardiovascular shape. Burpees and sled pushes anyone??

Totally candid. I flex randomly..

And in case you were wondering, my back held up well!

ANYWHO, let’s get to the more important stuff… fixing your DIET….

So say you had no job, no children, no stress, and all you had to focus on was planning your meals and workouts. You’d probably be pretty damn happy with the way you looked right?

Unfortunately, that’s not how life works. You have a job, you might have kids, and you most definitely have some kind of stress. Some weeks, work is just crazy, the kids have 15 activities you have to chauffeur them to, you have bills to pay, and what’s for dinner is the last thing on your mind. Next thing you know you’ve just housed a big mac and fries without even realizing you were eating.

Okay well I hope you know enough that there are healthier fast food options, but that’s besides the point

That’s healthy, right?

Anyway, I want to give you some of my basic guidelines that can be very easily made into a LIFESTYLE that you eventually won’t even have to think about. And notice how I say guidelines and not rules. You need to be flexible; some of these might work for you and some of them may not. You should try coming up with your own guidelines that work for you make you feel best.

1. Start with a food journal.
This idea is nothing new. Sometimes you don’t even realize what or how much you’re actually eating until its written and staring you in the face. The key is NOT change your diet during this time and record what you typically eat.  Start with two week days and one weekend day. Record EVERYTHING that goes in your mouth; water and liquids included.

2. Highlight in different colors your carbs, protein, veggies and water.

Look at your ratios. The typical diet will have a terribly off proportion of carbs to protein. Realistically, I like my clients to aim for a 1:1 ratio.

3. Fix your ratio.

Slowly. You can’t do a complete overhaul of your diet because that’s just setting yourself up for failure. You have to start slow. Delete 1 carb and add 1 protein. Veggies and fruit should be highlighted 5-10 times. If its less than that, you need to add some veggies.

4.  Fix your portions. 

A)  Share it. This can be as simple as ordering 1 entree and splitting it with a companion.

B)  Save it. One of my clients asked me how to deal with waiters that are constantly asking if everything’s okay because you’re not finishing your meal. This is my answer: ask for a to-go box before your meal comes and put 1/3-1/2 of your meal in it BEFORE you start eating. When you’ve cleaned your plate, you’ve now gotten your over-zealous waiter off your back, left overs for tomorrow, and the fantastic feeling of self control and accomplishment. You CAN be satisfied with less food; focus on quality over quantity. Your taste buds and waistline will thank you.

C) Toss it. Seriously- you need to get out of the mentality that you have to clean your plate. You’re not saving any children in Africa… you’re only harming yourself. Toss it if you don’t have the ability to share, save or make/order smaller portions.

D) Leave 2 bites on your plate at every meal. If you’re having a hard time downsizing your portions, start with literally 2 bites. It easier said than done– but challenge yourself to see if you can do it at every meal for 1 week. You’ll realize that you actually CAN do it. I’ve heard before that will power is a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.

5. Create guidelines for yourself.

To give you an example, here are a few of my guidelines.  Timing is big for me because if I forget to eat, I’ll find myself ravenous and binging. My schedule is different every day- so I set these guidelines:

A. Wake up between 4:30-6:30, have breakfast between 8-10, lunch between 12-3, a snack before leaving work, and dinner whenever I get home.

B. My hunger is most manageable when my breakfast is small, my lunch is large, and my afternoon snack is almost always a protein shake. Dinner usually consists of protein and veggies.

C. Focus on whole, non-processed food.

D. Drink my daily intake of water before I leave work.

Those are just a few, but most important ones to me. Figure out what kind of eating makes you feel best and write it down. Leave your list somewhere you will see it all the time.

6. Hold yourself accountable.

Keep a 2-day food journal once a month to check yourself.

Just remember: You Are In Control.