Over the years, I have experimented with many different diets and eating plans. I’ve had moments where I obsessed about food to the point where eating wasn’t fun anymore. While I quickly realized that living like that wasn’t for me, I would still often feel that if I wasn’t eating healthy 100 percent of the time I was a huge failure. I would beat myself up if I ate junk food and would carry that feeling with me into my next week.
I gave up dieting in my early 20s and have pulled away from that mindset. I’ve since found my balance in an 80/20 format of eating.
80 percent of the time I eat uber healthy, and 20 percent of the time I don’t worry about it. This doesn’t mean I go crazy, but it allows me the equivalent of one cheat day in every week.
I try to keep from referring to my 20 day as a cheat day because I don’t need to gorge on a bunch of junk over the course of just one day. Instead, I look at it as 20 percent of my weekly food intake. That way, if I want to have a chocolate bar on Monday or drinks with friends on Friday, I just account for those calories in my 20 percent.
After years of trial and error, I’ve perfected this format of eating that works for me. I always encourage my clients to make small sustainable changes in their lifestyles and diets to create their own ideal healthy lifestyle. My life is different than someone who sits a desk all day, so my eating habits will likely look a little different from your own.
I still thought it was worth sharing my typical healthy calorie day — so here we go!
JennaMaye’s Ideal Daily Eating Plan
- Wake up at 4:45 am and drink a lemon water (I like to do this before I brush my teeth otherwise it tastes weird).
- Get ready for the day.
- 5:15 am — eat a small bowl of oatmeal (1/2-2/3 cup of whole rolled oats) topped with 1/2 cup of fruit and 1/4 cup of almond milk. This is a pretty low protein meal, but that early in the morning its all I can handle.
- 9:00 am — eat 1/2 a Lara Bar or another equivalent to get me through my morning. I avoid protein bars that are super processed because I believe that natural is better.
- 12:00 pm — Work out.
- 1:00 pm — Eat a huge bowl of lentil soup (have you guys noticed yet that I love lentil soup?) or a salad from Be Fresh Market (usually about 600 calories). This meal is important because I need the energy for the rest of my day. I like to eat something that is high in protein and complex carbs (ex. beans, quinoa, lentils).
- 3:00 pm — eat the other half of the Lara Bar, or if I’m training late I eat something small like 1/2 a chicken breast and a bunch of roasted veggies.
- 7:00 – 8:00 pm — Get home and eat another 1/2 or whole chicken breast (depending how hungry I am) and either a salad or roasted veggies. I very rarely eat past the point of being 70 percent full and I find this is especially important with this meal because it’s so late in the evening. A lot of people believe that you shouldn’t eat after 8:00 pm, but I disagree. I think if your body hasn’t had enough calories for the day then you need to eat. You never want your body to think it’s starving, or it will slow down your fat metabolism (but that’s another topic).
- 8:30pm — 1 square of Lindt dark chocolate and a herbal tea.
Well there you have it, folks! This gets me through my Monday to Friday life energized and nutritionally optimized. I’m not suggesting that this is the perfect meal plan or that it would work for everyone, but I thought it might be helpful to give you some insight into how I plan my meals and what they consist of.
And don’t forget — we all have social engagements and events that set us up to overdo it with junk food, alcohol and other treats. Don’t beat yourself up for indulging! But if you can figure out how to work it into 20 percent of what you’re eating throughout the week, it well help you maintain a balanced lifestyle.
Until next week!