It’s not just WHAT you Eat – It’s How Much! The 3 Ps of Living Lean and Clean
Let me throw down a few facts…brace yourselves. According to a recent Pew Research Center study, this is what we are eating each year vs. what we ate in 1970:
21.9 pounds of cheese a year (three times more than in 1970)
77.3 pounds of some sort of sweetener – a.k.a SUGAR (not including noncaloric ones, like aspartame, sucralose, and stevia)
122 pounds of grains
36 pounds of cooking oil (three times more than 1970 levels)
And overall, the average American eats 2,481 calories in a day today —23 percent more than what we ate in 1970.
So now that I have your attention…let’s first rejoice in the fact that wine and dark chocolate are not on that list. I’m sure some buzzkill somewhere is tracking that, but for now, I will continue to live in blissful ignorance.
More importantly – all is not lost. While loads of sugar and processed grains aren’t ideal and the cooking oil we are consuming is downright disgusting – there is hope. The same study found that we are eating more of the good stuff too…such as yogurt and lean proteins like chicken. What I took from the study wasn’t that we are just eating bad stuff…but that we are eating too much of it. Again, our calorie intake is up 23%! I don’t like to eliminate any food and we all have our vices. But there are ways to have your cake, cheese and, eww, oil if you so choose, and not pack on the pounds.
As a writer and marketer, I like to compose content in ways that are easy to remember for the reader. For this, I’m breaking it down to the 3 P’s of Living Lean and Clean.
The first P…Planning.
You know the cliché – failing to plan is planning to fail. Blah, blah, blah. Insert eye-rolling emoji guy (ps. LOVE HIM). The person who penned that cute little saying never had a weekend filled with shuttling kids, running errands, food shopping, and god forbid, some down time to watch a movie or drink a glass or 3 of wine. But planning IS the foundation to getting your nutrition under control. However, it doesn’t need to be stressful and you don’t need to worry about failing Here are a few tips to get you started:
Figure out a system that works to map it out. You can write every day’s meals on sticky notes and post them all over the kitchen if that works for your fam. Most people use some type of online calendar or a printable schedule. Pinterest has a million ideas…I love this one that a friend used. Then, from your plan, comes your grocery list.
Don’t overthink it. It shouldn’t take more than 1 hour. Dear god, you’re only planning meals for 7 days, not the rest of your life. If that overwhelms you, just do a plan for the weekdays. They tend to be the most rushed and stressful.
Get everyone’s buy in – especially the kiddos. If your family won’t follow it or they don’t like what you’ve planned, you’re wasting your time. You’ll be making separate meals for everyone and that’s no fun. Plus, if you have kids, they will learn the importance of planning wholesome meals and creating healthy habits.
Be flexible. If Taco Tuesday happens on Wednesday because Monday’s meal was just that good and you want to eat leftovers…it’s ok. The food police aren’t going to show up. If this becomes too rigid you all will get frustrated and give up.
The Second P…Prep
Meal prep is what you should spend the most time on. This investment in time will save you countless hours of standingin front of the fridge, rushing to the grocery store or just giving up and ordering out. Meal prep is a few hours on one day or an hour or two spread over the weekend, perhaps. Plan for about 3-4 hours total. Below are some ideas for meal prep but for more in-depth how-tos, check out my post on prepping.
Breakfast – Think overnight oats, protein shakes powered up with lots of fruits and greens, make ahead egg cups with veggies…for reals. The list goes on and on.
Dinners – brown or marinate meat, chop veggies, prep salads, etc.
Lunch is the biggest PITA (pain in the…you get it). Lunch is the easiest to bail on…go through the drive-thru, order take out, eat out of a vending machine (don’t act like you haven’t scarfed down a bag of Cheetos and a diet coke and called it ‘lunch’). You need to plan lunches. Think healthy, hearty soups; salads (egg, chicken, and lettuce); whole grains with sautéed veggies. Leftovers from dinner can work too. Load up on veggies and protein at lunch to fuel you through the afternoon slump and get you to dinner. Stay away from that vending machine at 2 p.m.!
The Final P…Portion.
Need I remind you of the 36 pounds of oil we ingest every year…ick!? We need to get our sh%t together, people. Portion control is EVERY DAMN THING as it relates to maintaining or losing weight. EVERY DAMN THING. I don’t care how healthy your quinoa, free range chicken and kale stir-fry is…8 cups of it is TOO much. Put down the fork. Read labels. Measure your food.
The standard serving size for brown organic rice is ¼ cup dry; ½ cup prepared at 170 calories. I’m willing to bet a bottle of Merlot y’all are eating twice that if you’re not measuring. That’s 340 calories of RICE, man. Add to it your black beans, chicken and tortillas for your fajitas and we’re talking 1000+ cals. So remember:
Know the serving size – it’s right on the back of the package. No excuses for not knowing what you’re putting in your body.
Measure EVERY THING. Especially things like dressings, butters, and sauces. They are sneaky calorie hogs. It’s annoying AF but you will be amazed at what you think is a tablespoon and what it really is a tablespoon.
Look for food with the most nutrient bang for your buck! Leafy dark greens and veggies, lean proteins, sustainable seafood, healthy fats like avocados, and my favorite – eggs!
Portion Fix system that I use. It’s literally a no-brainer. No counting calories, points or other stuff. If it fits, you’re good to go. And, they are color coded, portable and dishwasher safe.
So there you have it…the 3 Ps. Plan. Prep. Portion. It’s not rocket science but it can be overwhelming at times. Have Questions? Need more guidance? Email me. I’m happy to share with you what works for me and help you get started.