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My relationship with food changed when I went off to college. It was like all my healthy high-school habits went right out the window. I binge-ate, binge-drank a lot and gained some weight.
Eventually, my track coach said, “Hey, you came in at this weight … why do you now weigh this? You need to figure out how to lose it.” I had no idea how to “lose weight,” so I did my best to figure it out.
Headed Down the Wrong Path
I began talking to nutritionists. I tried Nutrisystem. I got super restrictive and ate six meals a day of chicken and broccoli. Of course, none of that ever worked. And because there was always some sort of strictness behind what I could or couldn’t eat, there was always a “good” food and a “bad” food. There was always a “cheat day” and a “non-cheat day.” It was terrible.
And I never ever want anyone to feel the way I felt in those very formative years of my life. Ages 18 to 22 are crucial. I had no idea who I was, and all this was just thrown at me. I think I’m where I’m at today because I don’t feel like women — especially in that age range — should have to go through what I did. I want to help guide them so they never have a similar experience.
Yet I feel like so many of us have at some point in our lives had an experience similar to mine. So there comes a point at which you say, “You know what? I just can’t do this anymore!” and you figure out your why. Nothing will change until you do it for yourself, not for anyone else — not for your coach or even for a loved one.
Over time, I learned that what really works for me is to not eliminate certain foods but rather eat them in moderation. I eat them when I want them, and I eat them in a way that is a sustainable approach to nutrition.
A Creature of Habit
It has taken me several years to get to this point, but I’m just so simple now with what I eat. For the most part, I eat the same kinds of things every day — because eating this way fuels me and makes me feel good. I like knowing how I’m going to feel within my workout or within my day.
It’s my version of “intuitive eating.” So I don’t put a label behind certain foods. I’ve noticed that when I restrict myself from things, it’s only going to make me want them more. I mean, whenever the nutritionist was like, “Don’t eat dessert,” I was like, “I’m definitely gonna binge-eat chocolate bars at 10 p.m.”
Other intuitive-eating habits I like are putting my fork down in between bites and avoiding my phone or computer while eating. Instead, I sit down and focus on chewing, drinking water in between bites, and actually being mindful of what is happening in the present moment.
I feel so grateful to be where I’m at today, and I owe it all to an intuitive-eating mindset.
Snack: Protein Date Balls
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 10-12 Servings
- 1½ cups rolled oats
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 scoops protein powder
- 2 tbsp coconut flakes
- ½ cup chopped walnuts, optional
- 4-6 soft pitted dates, soaked for a couple of hours or overnight
- 2 tbsp chocolate chips (or cacao nibs)
- ½ cup nut butter
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp honey or agave
- 4-5 tbsp almond milk (Add a little more if mixture is too dry.)
- In a standing mixer, mix oats, cinnamon, protein powder, coconut flakes and walnuts (if using) on low until well-combined.
- Add dates, chocolate chips, nut butter, sea salt, vanilla extract, honey and almond milk and continue stirring until a thick dough is formed.
- Scoop out a heaping tablespoon of dough, using your hands to form a small ball. Continue to make your “balls” until all the dough is used up.
- Arrange balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Place baking sheet in the fridge or freezer to set for at least 30 minutes before serving. Store balls in a sealed container in fridge up to a week.
Breakfast: Homemade Granola Yogurt Topper
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 8 Servings
- 2 cups raw, whole rolled oats
- ½ cup raw pecans, chopped
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- ½ cup unsweetened dried cranberries
- ¼ cup cashews, chopped
- 2 tbsp coconut flakes
- 2-3 tbsp maple syrup or raw honey
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large pinch fine sea salt
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp of your favorite fruit, chopped
- Preheat your oven to 300 F.
- Combine all ingredients (except Greek yogurt and fruit) in a mixing bowl, using your hands to mix and coat every ingredient.
- Spread mixture in a thin layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 10 minutes, or until very lightly toasted.
- Cool before serving or storing, between 10 to 15 minutes. Keep in an airtight container in a cool, dry place up to 4 weeks.
- To serve, sprinkle granola over your favorite Greek yogurt. Top with fruit.
Lunch: Lemon Tahini Buddha Bowl
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 1 Serving
- ⅓ cup uncooked quinoa
- ¾ cup tofu (or chicken)
- 1 tsp Bull Shit seasoning
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- ⅓ cup arugula or spinach
- ¼ cup cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbsp banana peppers
- 1 tbsp feta crumbles
- 2 tbsp of sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp lemon tahini dressing, for serving
- Cook quinoa according to package instructions (I like to prep this for the whole week and ration out portions for meals throughout the week.)
- While quinoa is cooking, press tofu firmly with your hands, extracting all excess water. Cut into 1- or 2-inch cubes. Season with Bull Shit seasoning. (It’s on Amazon.) This is a great time to prep chicken, if choosing that protein.
- Place a skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle with avocado oil. Place tofu cubes in skillet and pan-fry until crispy, roughly 10 minutes each side. You can substitute and cook chicken the same way here.
- Place ⅓ cup quinoa in bottom of a large bowl. Place tofu (or chicken) over quinoa, then add arugula, cherry tomatoes and banana peppers.
- Top with feta and sunflower seeds and serve with lemon tahini dressing.
Dinner: Mushroom Lettuce Wrap
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Makes: 4-6 Servings
- 1 (14-oz) package tofu, drained and diced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 cup portobello or shiitake mushrooms, chopped
- ½ medium white onion, chopped
- ½ cup canned baby corn
- ¼ cup canned bamboo shoots
- 2 celery stocks, chopped
- 1 medium red pepper, chopped
- 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp hoisin
- 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (Omit or reduce if you don’t like spice.)
- butter lettuce, whole leaves separated
- 1 green onion, for garnish
- cilantro, chopped, for garnish
- Sriracha, optional, for garnish
- Drain tofu and chop into cubes.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Pan-fry tofu 5 minutes, or until crispy. Add garlic and ginger. Cook until garlic is tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add chopped mushrooms, white onions, corn, bamboo shoots, celery and red peppers. Sautee for about 10 minutes.
- Add soy sauce and sesame oil to pan and stir 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add hoisin and chili garlic sauce (if using) to pan for some spice. Stir 2 more minutes, then remove skillet from heat.
- To assemble wraps, open individual lettuce leaves, spooning roughly ½ cup mushroom mixture into each leaf.
- Garnish with chopped green onions, cilantro and Sriracha (if using).
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