by Peter Koutras
Fast Track Fitness
Healthy eating habits are a way of life for me; however, it hasn’t always been this way. I can remember eating out a lot and just not being very focused on making the best choices. I would more regularly eat out and buy fast food, and just eat larger portions. I can remember spending $10-15 per meal to eat out at least 3 days per week. Now that is an expensive habit! It soon adds up to thousands of dollars per year. It was a reactive decision because I was not focused and prepared. I ate lots of junk such as chocolate, and pizza. It would sometimes binge on 3 chocolate bars, and a large pizza! That is a lot of food and it didn’t make me feel good. I had stomach aches, belching, and lots of nausea. I certainly wasn’t providing my body and mind the best food for nutrients to excel. Now I feel better with my energy and my exercise performance because I eat more vegetables, less junk and simply less food. I realized that if I filled myself with vegetables first and some lean proteins that I would have less room to fill with junk. So here is a typical day with regards to my eating habits. I ensure to follow these three general rules:
1) Buy groceries on a weekly basis- Lots of fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, nuts, seeds, yogurt, oils, hummus and other legumes.
2) Pack my food for the day the night before- Ensure I have enough for the full day. You’ll notice I didn’t just say packed a lunch. That is not enough for me as typically I can be away at work or on the road for up to 12 hours. If there are leftovers I eat them the next day. I keep it simple. Here are the staples of my foods: 250 g Yogurt, 100 g hummus, 1 carrot, 1 celery, ¼ large cucumber, 1 small tomato, 1 fruit (½ pint of either blueberries, strawberries, or peach, or apple), 100 g nuts ( almonds, walnuts) or seeds (sunflower, or pumpkin), a prepared homemade dish (often leftovers, like 2 cabbage rolls or chicken taco with vegetables). I also fill my 32 oz water bottle and bring it with me and have 3 of these per day.
3) Eat at home more often- Breakfast is usually a 2 egg omelet with peppers and onions, or a berry smoothie with protein powder and hemp seeds, or an egg white oatmeal with nuts and almond milk.
For dinner I usually have a meal consisting of a meat or fish; often it’s something fantastic and delicious that my girlfriend Stephanie prepares. She rarely follows a recipes, but it is always made from fresh whole foods, creative and hits the spot. I finish this evening meal with an herbal tea.
It may seem like a lot of food, yet I feel satisfied and I eat every 3-5 hours depending on my activity and overall energy and mood. I like to be adaptable to my daily needs and if I feel like I require less, I reduce my food, and if I require more, I don’t deprive myself and eat a little more. I’m in sync with my body and shift my eating patterns to match what is required. I guess this is all about being intuitive and mindful.
This is a lifestyle for me and that means that I’m not always so strict. I like to enjoy life and kick back and eat delicious foods that are not so healthy on occasion. One area that can be particularly challenging is eating out. Here is a recent example of how I handle eating out.
Last week I enjoyed a dinner with Stephanie, my parents, and my Aunt Ann visiting from England. It was a special dinner because I had not seen my aunt in more than 10 years, plus it was her first time in Canada. The topper was that it was also in celebration of her birthday. I love these types of social and family events and they give me great pleasure. A nice dinner out is a great setting to share in good times with family and my loved ones. We decided to dine at Vitorria Trattoria in the Byward market. I took the opportunity to eat some foods I usually don’t eat such as pasta and pizza. I shared with Stephanie a mushroom penne in rose sauce and a chicken and vegetable pizza. The pasta was delicious and it was full of flavour. We also shared a prosciutto, cheese and pear appetizer. Fantastic! We all saved a little room for dessert and shared a Zuccoto mouse cake between the five of us. This was a larger than expected massive slice of cake. Fortunately, I like sweets and more specifically chocolate. I may have had a few more bites than others! Finally, I stuck to water with my meal to reduce calories and keep well hydrated.
The moral of the story is that while I strayed from my normal routine, I still made good choices with quantity by sharing with my dinner companions and I didn’t feel too stuffed.
These are habits that work for me and I teach many of these principles to my clients as a Precision nutrition coach to ensure success with eating to feel and look incredible. They can be tweaked and customized to the individual for weight loss and fat loss, or muscle development and definition. What is most often first noticed is the increased energy and focus which allows us to do the things that we love with the people that matter most.
If you would like more information on nutrition coaching, fitness training and a program that would be right for you, please contact me. I would be happy to answer any of your questions.
I operate Fast Track Fitness at Prime Personal Training, a private studio located at 429 St Laurent Blvd in Ottawa, Canada. My mission is to empower people to achieve a healthier mind and body through fun exercise, delicious meals, and a positive mindset. I will keep you on track with a variety of custom programs and ongoing support. I offer health programs that focus on weight/fat loss, and injury/disease prevention and rehabilitation. I have coached hundreds of clients to stellar results over the last 15 years and look forward to celebrating your success story.