Eating for maintenance

Eating for maintenance

A few of you have been asking what I’m eating lately. I never really like blogging about what I eat because 1) I think it’s boring! and 2) I always get criticised for either being a glutton or being food-obsessed. I really am not food-obsessed at all, but it’s hard to get by without photographing your meals when you are a blogger! I post a lot of my meals on InstagramΒ nowadays.

For some time now, I have been eating intuitively. I don’t really like this expression, because it essentially means eating like a “normal” person – but what is normal? I eat when I’m hungry, and I eat without guilt. Some days I eat more than others.

I follow a mostly Paleo/primal style of eating. After having my skin almost clear up completely, I started suffering horrible breakouts again about two months ago. I couldn’t figure it out – I had been more relaxed about eating dairy and grains, but it really wasn’t that much different to what I was doing in the summer.

Having now almost worked through it, I completely think it was due to stress and a very intense training regime in the lead up to my competitions. I cut back on the grains (I still have white rice daily, but limit bread to once a week) and I dropped the dairy back to one serve per day. My skin has now started clearing up again, thank goodness!

salmon

I am a creature of habit – my meals have not really changed since I wrote this post. When I wrote that post, I was doing two sessions with my trainer per week – one of which was an intense 2-3 hour events session. On those days, I would eat close to 4000 calories.

Now, I’m not doing any events training so I don’t feel as hungry. I don’t count my macros, but at a rough estimation I’m eating around 3000-3200 calories on training days and 2500 on rest days. The only difference from that post is that I’m not having a nightly snack of greek yoghurt any more (I’m sticking to just one per day, in the afternoon) and my night-time carb sources have moved away from bread and pasta more towards rice and potato (which explains why the total number of calories I’m consuming is lower).

Some days I have potato AND rice ;)

Some days I have potato AND rice πŸ˜‰

High saturated fat intake is also linked to high testosterone, so I’ve been cutting back on the red meat. I was having beef almost every day, but now I’m limiting it to no more than twice per week. All these changes are purely to help balance my hormones and improve my skin – they are not because of restriction.

Still make time for twice a week burgers!

Still make time for twice a week burgers!

I have cut back on the number of meals I eat too. I only take one tupperware container to work. I’m so busy I don’t have time to be eating every three hours! This just means that I have bigger meals. During the week, I eat breakfast at Β 8am, lunch at 1pm, a snack at 4-5pm, and dinner around 9pm. My workout time varies every day – lately on Sundays I train at 10am, Tuesdays at 6pm, Wednesdays at 8am and Fridays at 3pm. In the past I wouldn’t have been able to be so flexible, but now I know enough about modifying my meal times to handle changes easily.

My chilli, rice and potato keeps me full!

My chilli, rice and potato keeps me full!

On days I go to the gym after work, I have started eating oatmeal again at breakfast. I’m going to do this for a month or so and see if it makes a difference – at the moment it’s just making me sluggish, but it doesn’t seem to affect my skin.

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On the weekends I tend to eat only twice or three times per day, but obviously huge portions. Dinner is always my biggest meal of the day. I can’t ever imagine going carb-free at dinner again!

Gnocchi is good!

Gnocchi is good!

I don’t follow a meal plan or target a certain number of macros, which is a hard thing for many people to understand. I just eat when I’m hungry and, on the days I know I’ll be expending more calories, I eat a little more. Strength is the most important thing to me, so I never want a workout to be compromised by a rumbling tummy – my head gives me enough to contend with!

Despite what I post on my Instagram feed, I don’t eat junk food 24/7 πŸ˜‰Β When you allow your body to eat “intuitively”, you would be surprised at the types of food it craves. I know I perform and feel better with a diet of mostly unprocessed, nutritious foods. Some days I feel like coffee, and some days I gravitate towards more fats over carbs. And some days I really want cake. I never think of foods as “good” or “bad” – just what my body is craving at the time.

cake

I am able to maintain my size and increase my strength while eating this way, so why mess with a good thing?Β I will never be someone who can live without my burgers and ice cream, and I side-eye anyone who says they don’t crave these things from time to time!

Admittedly, it took me a few years before I was able to reach a point where I could eat without following a meal plan. I never have all-out cheat meals any more. When no foods are off-limits, I find it easier to control myself. In the past, I would follow a strict plan and then “save up” all my treats for one blow-out meal. It was a horrible cycle and I’m glad I don’t have to deal with that post-cheat bloating anymore!

I have naturally lost a couple of kilos since my last comp, and I’m now sitting around 73kg.

selfie

Most days I have no idea how many calories I have eaten or burned, and I like it that way. I am more a fan of IIFYM than I used to be, but I still couldn’t imagine counting up every macro I consume. If I had a serious body fat goal I wanted to reach, I would have to do some form of macro tracking but that stuff just bores me! I barely have enough time in a day to reply to emails, let alone waste time counting up all my calories.

I am completely free from food and I can only hope that more people reach the same point. I can’t imagine ever being in a place again where I constantly think about food and have to document every morsel that goes into my mouth.

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All that being said, most people need a meal plan initially. I try to help my clients by first showing them they can eat more food than they think, and then try to wean them off the idea of following a strict plan. It’s always a satisfying feeling when someone learns to take control of their nutrition again!

Do you count macros or do you follow more of an intuitive style of eating?

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