When Kevin and Catt suggested I try the Actual Nutrition program that goes hand-in-hand with their workouts at 3rd Degree Training, it actually intimidated me more than the idea of working out four times a week.
I have never once gone on a diet, and I hate depriving myself of treats. I have always enjoyed healthy foods, and once cut out sugar for a few months, but I have never followed a prescribed eating plan. I wasn’t sure if I could do it!
Still, I wanted to give it an honest shot, and share my experience so people can see what it’s like for a mom of three little ones trying to return to a healthy lifestyle.
The idea behind Actual Nutrition is simply to eat whole, real foods. Based on my age, current weight, activity level and particularly the fact I am breastfeeding twins, Kevin designed a plan that helps me chose what kinds of foods to eat at every meal and snack. Lucky for me, and the bonus 1,000 calories a day I burn by feeding my five-month-old twins, this means I get to eat a ton of food. But now it’s all healthy, rather than full of carbs and sugar, my weakness.
My favourite part has been that the outline gives me full control of what to eat: for example, I can pick 1.5 servings of protein for breakfast, along with 1.5 servings of complex carbs, a simple carb (fruit) and one serving of fat or dairy. This way, I find myself thinking about all the food I get to eat, rather than what I can’t eat.
The most significant adjustment for me has been the volume of protein I need to consume each day. I always suspected I wasn’t getting enough, but now I know this is sort of the secret sauce to feeling satisfied and keeping cravings at bay. I now eat three eggs for breakfast(!) plus toast or oatmeal, fruit and peanut butter or avocado. YUM! Also, salsa and hot sauce are my new favourite condiments. For dinner, I need to eat two servings of protein. Two chicken breasts! After eating a big old plate of food, my body no longer searches for that sugary goodness it once desired. And if it does, that usually means I didn’t get enough protein, fat or healthy calories during the day!
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“Why are you eating two things for breakfast, Mama?” Silas asks. Because breastfeeding mama who is working out’s gotta eat! Loving this meal plan from Actual Nutrition that keeps my sweets cravings at bay. @3rd_degree_saint_john @actualnutritionfoodservices #fitmom #breastfeedingdiet #eggs #steelcutoatsandberries #avocado #coffeeforever
I feel like this solves a mystery that never should have been so tough to figure out. Protein will not only help me build muscle from my workouts, but it is also a key factor in maintaining my milk supply. I may even be eating more now than I was before!
Here are a few more early revelations:
- I have spent a lot of money on groceries this week. I haven’t added it up, but I hope now that my house is full of healthy food, the bills will level out.
- I used to avoid eating too much meat as a cost-saving measure but I’ve realized I was just spending that extra money on junk food we really didn’t need.
- My husband and my three-year-old are eating a little better now too. Silas asks me if different things he is eating are healthy and if they will make him big and strong.
- My taste buds have adjusted to savour the taste of real food. My sweets are now fruits. At Costco I had a couple of pitted dates they were handing out as samples and it felt like I was eating a jube-jube!
- I went through a couple days of adjusting to not eating as many carbs later in the day. For dinner I just have one serving then it’s just veggies for snacks in the evening. One night I had two servings of salmon, 1/3 cup of brown rice, two servings of vegetables and felt completely full. Half an hour later, I felt peckish and was like, “How can this be?” I realized what I was missing was that sugar kick I usually got from dessert or filling up on rice/potato/pasta with my main course. The fullness I get from protein is so much nicer.
- Eggs, so many eggs. I am eating so much for breakfast and just made a pot of hard-boiled eggs to have on hand for snacks. They pack such a punch and yummy too!
- I actually enjoy all this clean eating and I don’t miss the junk at all. Will this stick for seven more weeks? I hope so!
- I wonder how easy it would be to maintain this style of eating if I was working full-time in addition to managing family life with three kids. Right now this is like a project for me while on maternity leave to think up healthy meal ideas and take the time to make them, even if it’s while wearing a baby.
- The eating really complements the workouts. I feel great during and after the workouts and I think the food aids in my recovery from sore muscles.