Answering the question: What do you eat?


The question fitness trainers and nutrition coaches get asked more often than any other is:

“What do YOU eat?”

When a client asks this question, what they’re saying is, “You’re the expert and you look healthy enough.  Just tell me what you’re doing so I can do it, too.”

This question stems from a notion that there is only one way to eat a healthy diet and it must work for everyone.

How fitness and nutrition gurus eat

When I’m asked how I eat, I’m not sure if I should explain what I’m doing now or something I’ve done before.  I’ve eaten many ways to get to (or be at) my current weight.

How I eat evolves as my priorities and goals change.  I also switch things up based on how I feel on what I eat (hungry versus satiated, lots of energy versus lack of energy).

I’m biased toward high fiber foods.  Yes, proper fiber is important for everyone, but I take extra care to get more than enough.  Fiber helped me get off prescription steroids.  I had ulcerative colitis many years ago.  The only way off the meds was to clean up my diet.

In short, how I eat is in constant flux and evolves over time as I evolve.

Healthy eating as a personal evolution

tilapia surpriseI could have started my own fad diet many times over the years.  I created my own meal plan to drop from 170+ pounds to 145.  I used my own variation of South Beach Diet to get to 135.  I used that combination with Abs Diet to get to 125 pounds.

I stayed there for four years.  During that time, I morphed my eating into alignment with the Mediterranean diet while exploring whole, organic and raw foods.

Then cancer treatment, surgeries and high anxiety from losing my partner of 8 ½ years caused me to drop from 125 down to 109 pounds.  I rebounded to 118, maintained that for a year, and then steadily gained as I let my diet go downhill, experienced a bit of depression, and stopped exercising for half a year.

I reached 135 pounds and my body fat percentage crossed into the overweight category before I came back to my senses.

I tried to lose weight for six months while using my previous eating plans.

None of them worked for me.  I dealt with triggers and cravings like never before.  I was in a completely new place with a drastically changed body.

I had to come up with a new approach for getting the weight off.

Once I found it, I brought my weight back down below 125 and got my body fat percentage into acceptable range.

What I believe

I do not believe that if you eat exactly the way I do that it will work for you.

While I do believe there is a foundation of nutrition that can be learned by anyone, what is built on top of that foundation must be unique to every person, because every person is unique.

No one else on this planet has your exact experiences, beliefs, readiness to adopt new eating or activity habits, current habits, or medical history.

I believe changing eating and activity habits is a slow evolution that happens over time.  I believe when change happens in this fashion, a lifestyle that lasts emerges.

I believe once this kind of foundation is laid, it takes one hell of a major life disruption to tear it down.

While finding what works for you can prove frustrating, I believe if you find someone who is willing to work with YOUR uniqueness, you too can find a lifestyle to reach your ideal weight and stay there for many years.  Perhaps even for a lifetime.

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  1. Tammy R says:

    Wow, Lori. I think this is a beautifully written post. I wholeheartedly agree that it is an evolution and that each person’s experience is unique. I have heard so many plans that work for people that I have never tried. I have also been on fad diets that I cannot believe I ever tried. Makes me cringe just thinking about them. Hope I didn’t do any permanent damage, but I’m back to reasonable and rational and that will never change. I can’t ever do dieting. It simply didn’t work!

    • Lori Stalter says:

      Aww, thank you, Tammy!

      lol to your comment about not being able to do dieting. I have to wonder how many people would say, “I could never eat a diet like that!” after reading what you eat every day. 😀

      Heck, we might have said the same thing at the beginning of our transformation if we were told to eat how we do now.

      I love watching people discover that healthy food does really taste good once they clean up their palates from processed foods, too much sugar or artificial sugar.

  2. cj says:

    Hopefully, you guys strike the taste jackpot this week! Come to think of it, we use very few spices. Cracked pepper, cumin, cayenne. That’s about it. We use olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette a bit too. The rice, beans and veggies just seem to please the Jollyhoos without too much fuss. Lucky for us! I do like like me some nice spices though and when I have the hankering, I do love to experiment with them. Off to finish up a post!!!

    • Lori Stalter says:

      Ooh, a new post? I can’t wait. You two are crushing it with your posts.

      We notice we don’t need to use as much seasoning now that we’re migrating back to frozen and fresh (especially when it’s organic). Come to think of it, the dishes I want to season the heaviest are the ones with red potatoes. Potatoes have always tasted a bit bland to me, especially in soups or stews. I wonder if they can be marinated like chicken or fish? 😉

  3. cj says:

    Great points all, Lori Stalter! The Hoombah diet keeps evolving too. When we find something delicious, healthy, cost effective and easy to prep, it stays on the menu for months, even years. But if something better comes along, it could get aced and replaced. But the whole process is fun because we are mad scientists experimenting with tastes and personalities and the like!!!

    • Lori Stalter says:

      Mad kitchen scientists are awesome! We were having a blast for a while just throwing ingredients and herbs and spices into a pot to see what stuck. We came up with some tasty new dishes that way. But I think we fell away from it because we hit a long streak of not so great combinations.

      A couple of recipes we’re trying this week need some help. A few of them use just one seasoning, which is pretty boring. So I plan to get creative next week to see if we can improve them a bit.

      As always, thanks for stopping by, my friend!