The word “balance” is a bit overused these days, but when it comes to fitness and fat loss, we as women do not do it enough. Think: No more carbs! No more fats! I’m never eating bread again! I’m swearing off desserts! I’m going vegan! No more than 1,000-cal diets for me!
Ugh…isn’t it painful?
Unfortunately, most of the messaging about health leads people down a negative path of deprivation, restriction and depletion. Nothing sounds fun about that.
So to end all this dieting nonsense, I wanted to write this article and share three super simple steps to balance your meals, which will balance your body and hormones. And when your hormones are balanced, you become the master of your metabolism and health goals (read: extra fat drops and you start building muscle!).
These three steps are so simple that once you understand them, you’ll immediately have the knowledge and skill set to quickly create a balanced meal anywhere in the world.
Let’s dive in!
Step 1: Balance Your Plate with Your Optimal Portion Sizes
The goal for each meal is to be ready to eat (just a tad hungry) when it’s time to eat, and satisfied (comfortable) after each meal.
If you’re starving before a meal, you have waited too long to eat, your blood sugar is too low and you’re burning muscle.
If you’re full after a meal, you ate too many calories, your blood sugar is too high and you’re storing fat.
Here are your starting portion sizes based on your gender. Of course, these portions are just a starting point: If you eat a meal and are still hungry, simply evenly increase the amount of protein, fat and carbs on your plate.
Step 2: Choose Your Protein First, Fat Second and Carbs Third in Each Meal
“PFC Every 3” means eating a balance of protein, fats and carbs every 3 hours. All three nutrients are essential in maintaining balanced blood sugar levels.
Often protein is the nutrient that gets neglected in meals, especially in grab-n-go situations. Grab an apple on the way out the door, and really you have just eaten a carb-only meal. This will feel good at first, but may come with a down-slide in energy in a couple of hours. Pair that with an egg or protein shake and nuts, and you’ve got a PFC meal!
To ensure each meal is properly balanced, focus on building your meals in this order.
Start with choosing your protein.Here are some pictures of the most common proteins:
Here are some pictures of the most common fats:
** One quick note, if you choose a protein that already has fat in it — like salmon, beef or pork — skip adding the additional fat choice to your meal, as you’ll get enough protein and fat in non-lean protein options.
Third, choose a carb to complete your meal.
Here are some pictures of the most common carbs:
Step 3: Add Free Foods to Keep Your Meals Exciting and Flavor-Packed
Boring and tasteless meals are never fun to eat! A new nutrition plan will never last if you just rotate a few of the same meals over and over. That’s why it is important to include some free foods.
There are tons of flavor packed free foods that are low in calories, sodium and refined sugar. Feel free to choose from any salt-free herbs, spices, as well as low-sugar and low-calorie sauces, vinaigrettes — and of course load up on greens!
Eating is a form of self care. We have to take care of ourselves first so we can be of service to everyone who needs us, and what better and simpler way than to fuel our bodies properly. The side benefits are well worth the time it takes to learn how to fit this style of eating in. We sleep better, have more energy, avoid the “hangry slump” and drop the extra fat we don’t need. It is well worth it, and we don’t have to count calories or deprive ourselves to do it.
About Christa Povec
Christa is certified in nutrition and fitness through IBNFC and has her MPT certificate. She is also a life coach and runs Fitloca365, a monthly membership online dedicated to helping women fit fitness in and “Get their sexy back” through short workouts and habit stacking. She is a mom of athletes and is crazy happily married in Spanish Springs.