After plenty (I can’t emphasize this enough) of trial and error, I came to the realization that new things in my diet were not working for me. For years, I tried to make it work, but in the end, we just weren’t seeing eye to eye and I had to end it — I swiftly moved on to structure. The good news is, structure and I are doing so well, I’m sad I didn’t ditch variety sooner.
While variety is what keeps things exciting (it’s the spice of life, isn’t it just?), when I included variety into my diet, results were harder to come by — it didn’t matter how much I exercised.
For me, breakfast would range from avocado toast to yogurt, oats, and berries to eggs. Lunch was often a salad sandwich or wrap or chicken and veggies. And dinner would see me tuck into meat, veggies, and salad or a stir-fry. All good things. I was eating a balanced diet that satisfied my hunger and was kind to me nutritionally, but altogether my daily diet wasn’t doing me any favors. I couldn’t understand why.
It wasn’t until my trainer suggested I write everything I eat down and create (and stick to) a meal plan — which included more but smaller meals throughout the day — that I noticed results. This is where I should point out that this isn’t a diet (I’m 100 percent done with those), but rather mindful, structured eating.
Structured eating helps to keep a closer eye on what you’re fueling your body with and prevents inconsistency, which was the biggest issue for me. Switching to structure was exactly what I needed to make my meals and my gym sessions work better together.
Although my meals are similar each day (and make me sound like the most boring person alive), I still manage to sneak variety in by choosing seasonal produce and making my salads massive — I’m talking seven ingredients, at least! The key to acing this way of eating is to have your fridge stocked at all times. And because you’re eating similar meals each day, a trip to the shops is never an issue.
Here’s what a typical day looks like on my plate:
- 1 boiled egg
- 1/2 avocado
- Handful of cherry tomatoes
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- Handful of berries
- 3 teaspoons chia seeds
- 7 almonds
- Bell pepper or carrot with some sliced turkey
- 2 Ryvita slices
- 1/2 avocado
- Beef, chicken, tuna, or turkey salad. Salad includes: kale, quinoa, tomato, avocado, cucumber, beetroot, feta, capsicum, sweet potato, fresh chili, and seasonal herbs
I eat each of my meals at the same time every day. Breakfast at 9 a.m.; midmorning snack is always at 11 a.m.; lunch sees me eat at 1:30 p.m.; my afternoon snack is usually around 4 p.m.; and dinner is no later than 8 p.m. When I stick to this meal plan, things seem to work. I’m not skipping meals; I’m keeping my body fueled and ready for a workout period of overindulging.