A Basic Nutrition Overview:
Nutrition is a very touchy subject and one that a lot of people overlook when trying to lose weight, gain muscle, etc. However, I can tell you that I have tried A LOT of different nutrition methods and I have a few favorites and few that I loath. As I share in my Fitness & History page, I used to be a Beachbody coach. As a coach, I was expected to follow the meal plans prescribed by the experts of Beachbody; this usually meant drinking Shakeology and using the 21 Day Fix plan. I did both.
I bought and drank Shakeology for about six months before I lost the love for it. It was tasty, that’s for sure, but I could not get over the price tag. As for the 21 Day Fix meal plan – I used it religiously for those full two years and after I quit as a coach I would still use the plan by accident. By the time I quit coaching with BB, I had learned how to “eye-ball” the portion sizes of food groups quite easily and I found myself using this plan for a while after stopping with the actual containers. I think this method is perfect for someone who has to lose a lot of weight – it teaches you HOW to use portion control.
I should mention that I was vegan for almost one whole year while using the 21 Day Fix meal plan – it is possible!
Alright, I said it, now I have to explain my veganism. I went vegan my Freshman year of college. I was so terrified of the “Freshman 15” that I did what any young girl would do – obsess over what she ate…at all times, every day, every meal. I am pretty sure, looking back on it, that I had a serious eating disorder. Or at least an unhealthy view on food. I was not fat and I worked out consistently, but I always feared gaining weight. Along with this fear, I had always had digestion issues. I wasn’t sure if I was lactose-intolerant, had a gluten allergy, or was simply eating unhealthy foods when I thought they were healthy (which A LOT of people actually do). I decided that going vegan would determine if dairy or meats were the reason for my bad digestion history.
My goal was to be a vegan for one whole year. I wanted to see how my digestion would react and I also wanted to see if I could lose any weight – typical college girl. I was a strong vegan all through my first semester, Thanksgiving and Winter break, and into my second semester of my Freshman year. That was when I met my current boyfriend: a red-meat-eating hunter/fisher/animal-killer! Okay, he isn’t that obsessed with killing animals but he does love his meats! He was amazed that he had fallen for a girl who didn’t eat meat….let’s just say that first three months together were tough because he never knew what I could or couldn’t eat. I eventually quit being a vegan. I had survived about 8 months of the 1 year goal.
I had started Beachbody before I gave up being a vegan, so after returning to a “regular” American diet, I followed the 21 Day Fix meal planning. I used this method for two years.
In my first six months of being a vegan my Freshman year of college, I was able to lose an astonishing 15 pounds. Who said the Freshman 15 were GAINING pounds? I considered it my Freshman 15 of LOSING pounds. Though I had lost a lot of weight, as soon as I went back to eating regular foods again, I gained all of that weight back, though I didn’t notice it…
The summer after my Junior year, my boyfriend and I went to my hometown to visit my parents and family, as we liked to do once or twice a year. It was an amazing vacation full of fun and laughter. After the vacation was over and it was back to life in Florida, I went ahead and uploaded all of my vacation photos onto Facebook, as I did shortly after all of my vacations. As I was looking at the photos, a flash of a scarring memory went through my brain: while on vacation, my niece, who was then only 6 or 7 had asked me if I was “going to have a baby.” I laughed it off and didn’t think anything of it until I saw the photos I had posted to Facebook.
I looked unhealthy and bigger than I had ever been in my life. I weighed myself and I was a shocking 155lbs. Okay, okay, that’s not very heavy. However, I am only 5’3” and I have always been around 130lbs (the average weight of someone my size is between 130-140lbs). The lowest I ever weighed was 123lbs, after that first six months of being a vegan my Freshman year. I hadn’t realized how much weight I had gained. In two years and three months, I had gained 30 POUNDS! **One thing that could have swayed this information was that I started a new birth control…but I am still researching if this could have been the cause.**
I decided that I was going to return to my old vegan lifestyle from my Freshman year, and this time, I would make it the entire 12 months! I started vegan-living in July and hoped to be back to my old self by July of the following summer. Nine months into my vegan year I noticed that I was tired, a lot. I had borderline anemia when I was in high school – probably caused by a past eating disorder – and I figured that I wasn’t getting enough Iron or possibly Protein in my diet. I was very structured with my veggie-based proteins so I wasn’t too worried about my protein intake; however, I didn’t want to chance it. I decided to incorporate fish and seafood into my diet.
The last three months were vegan plus fish…whatever that’s called. I am not sure that eating the fish really effected me all too much but when I weighed myself on the one-year mark of being a vegan (half-vegan for three months) I was 140lbs. I had lost 10 pounds in one year. I hadn’t changed my fitness routine other than starting to workout on my own instead of watching the BB videos from when I was in college. 10 pounds from going vegan.
Because being a vegan was a struggle, I went back to my “regular” foods. Since then, I have been eating in various fashions. I have tried gluten-free, intermittent fasting, the 28in28 meal plan, and macros counting. Macros counting was the one eating habit that gave me the most dramatic results. I found that planning my meals with macros made my goals become reality. I gained what I wanted to (muscle) and lost what I didn’t want (fat), just my couting macros. I did this for a few months but let’s be real – it took A LOT of concentration and practice. It took too much of my time.
The 28in28 meal plan that my boss at TrYumph created was one meal plan that I could dig my hands into. It was easy to follow and I didn’t have to count anything. It is what I follow the most often for the last few months. Along with using the basic outline of the 28in28, I have also added in two or three intermittent fasting days per week (please check my blog page for an upcoming I.F. post to learn more). Since starting this routine, I have not only shredded down about 3% body fat but also, I can fit back into my skinny jeans! AND GUESS WHAT! I am averaging about 144lbs. MORE than I was when I used to think of myself as skinny. I am not fat, but I am far from skinny, I am STRONG!
More recently I watched the documentary What The Health on Netflix. This documentary warns against the bad things certain foods can bring into your life. I have been contemplating bringing a vegan lifestyle back into play because of this, but I will keep you posted on any changes that I may make.
Keep in mind that I am not a nutritionist, though the next certification I plan to get is a Nutrition certification through NASM. I have tried many diets and lifestyles; some worked while others didn’t. Everyone is different and with that being said, I cannot prescribe a “perfect” plan for you. I can help you if you have any questions though! Go to the Contact Us page for my email or comment below with questions!
Laura Jay Live
Have you read my Fitness & History blog yet?