Choosing a Diet and Exercise Plan that Works for YOU

Over the years we have seen all different types of diets and exercise plans. On the diet front, there have been juice cleanses, no carbs, keto, Atkins, and Weight Watchers. When it comes to exercise, Jazzercise morphed into Zumba®. Yoga and pilates studios opened up all over the place. CrossFit and boot camps got huge, and one to the next and newest thing. The list goes on.

Chances are, you have probably tried one or more of these diets and exercise plans. So which is the best for you? Let’s start by looking at your diet. The diet that is best for you is the one that you can stick with FOR LIFE. A diet shouldn’t be something you do for a few weeks or a few months. It should be a way of life. The diets that only work for a few months usually end up putting you right back where you started, or maybe even in a worse spot. So here is my challenge to you: do your research and find out what type of eating plan works best for your body and your life. If it’s not something you think you’ll be able to stick to long term, it’s not the diet for you.

Understand Your Macros

To choose the right diet for your needs and fitness goals, I suggest you start by finding your macros. Some of you might have heard of “Counting Macros” and thought of it as another diet fad. Let’s learn more about what macros actually are. “Macro” is short for “Macronutrient.” Your body needs three essential macronutrients to function, which are carbs, fats, and protein. Once you find out exactly how many grams of each macronutrient you should be eating, then you can figure out foods that will help you reach your goals to maintain a healthy weight.

When you determine what your body needs, you can fuel it correctly while still allowing yourself to eat the things you enjoy. For example, a chocolate bar is mostly made up of carbs and fat, and sometimes a little bit of protein. Eating one of these candy bars will not “ruin” your diet, it will simply use up some of your fats and carbs for the day. You decide what foods you would like to “spend” your carbs, fats, and protein on. If eating a candy bar will make you happy, you should fit it into your daily macros. Be wary though; if you eat two or three candy bars a day it will take up most of your fats and carbs, leaving you hungry or overeating for the rest of the day.

So the trick is to try to eat meals that include a balanced amount of all three macronutrients.
Here are some ideas:
Breakfast:

  • Greek yogurt (higher in protein than regular yogurt) topped with some fruit and granola.
  • Protein smoothie. Blend frozen banana with almond milk or low fat milk and your favorite flavor of protein powder.
  • Egg white omelet with all your favorite veggies for more volume and a little bit of cheese on top.
  • Protein pancakes. You can make your own by adding protein powder to your pancake mix, or you can buy pancake mixes that have high amounts of protein in them already.

Lunch:

  • Turkey sandwich. Try and limit the high fat sauces to save on your fat macros. Instead, use dressings like mustard, which has 0 fat and 0 calories.
  • Burrito bowl. Cook chicken or ground turkey with taco seasoning and then mix in rice and beans.
  • Snack plate (my personal favorite). Put a variety of snacks on your plate to eat for lunch.

Snacks:

  • String cheese.
  • Deli meat.
  • Popcorn.
  • Wheat Thins or Pretzels.
  • Almonds.
  • Yogurt.
  • Granola.

Dinner:

  • Stir fry. Cook chicken and veggies in teriyaki sauce, then enjoy over rice.
  • Salmon with steamed green beans, asparagus, or broccoli.
  • Spaghetti made with lean ground beef or turkey.
  • Burgers made with lean ground beef or turkey.
  • Fajitas. Cook chicken with veggies and fajita seasonings. Enjoy by itself or with tortillas.

All of these meals have a balanced amount of protein, carbs, and fat. When you know the macro amounts you should be eating, you can make wiser choices about your meals while still enjoying the things you like to eat.

How do you find the right balance of macros you should be eating? That depends on your goals. Someone who wants to lose weight will need to eat a different ratio of macros than someone who wants to bulk up and gain lots of muscle. It might help to speak with a nutritionist or to work with a personal trainer who is also knowledgeable about developing eating plans.

Choosing the Right Exercise Plan for You

By now, you have probably realized what my exercise advice is for you. Find a fitness routine that you enjoy and believe you can stick to for the long term. If you hate running on a treadmill, for example, then stop forcing yourself to do that three times a week. You’ll never be able to stick with a fitness plan that you don’t enjoy.

Instead, try different types of fitness. If you belong to an EōS Fitness, I suggest trying out our different group fitness classes. We offer many different types of exercise modalities, all of which provide big health benefits.

You can also go online to search for different types of workout plans using cardio equipment, resistance machines, free weights, and functional training exercises. All of these are on offer at EōS Fitness. You can adapt almost any exercise plan to the equipment and amenities in our facilities.

When devising a diet and exercise plan, think about what you can maintain for the long term. This isn’t a change you’ll need to make for a week or a month. This is a change you’ll need to embrace for the rest of your life if you want to see real long-lasting changes to your body, your fitness, and your quality of life.

Mandy Dickerson
EōS Fitness- Phoenix:75th Ave/Encanto
Certifications: Body Pump, Body Attack, and Body Step

My EōS Fitness: