what I actually eat

Published: Fri, 02/28/14


Over the last few years, I've been working hard on what I call "Automating Your Physique" (AYP). In other words, finding a way to maintain my weight with as little mental energy as possible.

Because I don't want to be obsessed with food every second. And I don't want to be stressed about the number of cardio minutes I need to get in today. And frankly I want to spend my physical time and mental effort in other places--like my business, building my relationships, taking down-time, writing, reading, etc. I want to establish a way of eating and exercising that is effortless. 

And for the most part, I've done that.

In case you missed it, Jade and I put together an insanely awesome 60-MINUTE INTERVIEW HERE for the diehards (embedded in a new JillFit blog)--and talked everything from metabolic damage to crash dieting to plateaus and how to get your metabolism responsive again when nothing seems to be working. Jade volunteered lots of suuuuuper novel insights and I gave my two cents in the mindset realm. Check it out if you haven't already. 

In the interview, I talked a lot about how I went from eating 5-7 times a day straight from Tupperwares to a more relaxed approach (and by "relaxed" I don't mean everything anything I want--that's anything but relaxing!). Instead, I stopped living and dying by every nutrition "rule" out there and started listening to my body and getting back in touch with my internal signals--like hunger and cravings.

I also stopped doing long-duration cardio over the last couple years. Back in the days of 2-3 HOURS of cardio a day (!!!), it was all I could do to stop myself from eating every bite of sugar within a mile radius. I was harnessing willpower (and failing!) around the clock. 

Because how much you exercise influences how hungry you are and how much you crave.

And when Jade would tell me, "Well, Jill, if you just stopped doing all that exercise, you wouldn't be as hungry!" Pffft! Are you kidding me? Please. Didn't he understand that I NEEDED TO DO ALL THAT CARDIO TO WORK OFF ALL MY TREATS AND HOW MUCH I ATE THE NIGHT BEFORE??!! 


And it's a cycle, isn't it? Do lots of exercise---> crave like crazy, eat too much sugar---> do even more exercise to repent. And on and on. 

BUT! Something really interesting happened when I actually took the big leap of faith and started slowing cutting my exercise. Over time, my appetite did recede. My cravings did reduce. Though I never would have believed it (besides, my mantra was, "No one understands, I just have a huge appetite!"). 

Slowly but surely, I cut my exercise and as a result, the volume of food I naturally needed or wanted to eat was simply less. Not because I was trying, but because it became effortless, automatic. 

Jade talks about the concept of "eat less, exercise less" in the video and who it might be a good strategy for--and certainly those in full-blown Metabolic Damage--but for me, it was liberating. No more cooking a bazillion meals, prepping the same old chicken breasts and the same old disgusting vegetables into Tupperwares and eating cold food while driving. #idie

Look. If you love prepping and cooking food, then have at it. You'll get results. 

But remember, Automating Your Physique is all about reducing the obsession with food and exercise. Reducing the amount of physical time and mental energy you spend on it. Besides, automate means "to make effortless." And it's about maintaining your physique, not "attaining" a huge fat loss. Attainment will inevitably take more effort and time. 


How I eat now:

The way I eat now is effortless for me, I never EVER feel deprived because I have built-in relief in my diet and I don't try to white-knuckle my way through strict meal plans. 

And it's also 100% MY formula. Taking into consideration my metabolism, personal preferences, schedule and psychological sensitivities. YOURS will look different. And remember, if you're craving round-the-clock and binging as a result, you're not quite there yet (IT TOOK ME 3 YEARS!). So find ways to feel less deprived BEFORE you reach the point of binging.

My typical day:

  • 6am 2-4 cups of coffee
  • 9am workout (lately I have been doing 10 min HIIT + 30 min heavy body part lift + 20-40 min leisure walk)
  • 10am Enormous protein smoothie (~300 cals & 35g protein)
  • 2pm Snack: usually a protein bar or a slice of my fav homemade almond bread (~300 cals & 20g protein)
  • Optional leisure walk
  • 6pm Huge, yummy #BAS with tons of veggies and protein (anywhere from 500-800 cals & 50g protein)
  • 7pm Glass or two of wine (???) :)
  • 8pm 1 cup frozen raspberries with stevia sprinkled on top (~100 cals & 3g protein)

How do I know this is the perfect amount of daily calories for me?

Because my hunger is nil, my cravings are under control and my energy is stable throughout the day. 

And if those things are in place, then how can I not do this forever? How can this ever be tough? It's completely sustainable. AND I maintain my weight. Which is my goal.

And instead of eating according to a clock, every 2-3 hours, I pay attention to what my body is telling me. On hungrier days (typically around my menses) I eat more volume. Still good stuff, but just more. And I don't sweat it because I know a few days of higher volume doesn't mean all of a sudden I will be starving every day.

I also implement stress-reducing tactics like leisure walking, light stretching, foam rolling and hot baths or sauna. These things help decrease cortisol, which in turn help me crave less. 

So whatcha think? 

Are you eating according to all the "rules" and stressing yourself out? Or are you learning to listen to your body and in those moments where you go "off plan" are you introspecting and asking yourself, what is this about? Am I too deprived in my eating? Am I exercising too much? Am I paying attention to my stress and taking down-time? Am I sleeping enough? 

Like Metabolic Effect says: Learn to become the detective, not the dieter. No one can do this for you. Your fat loss formula (or your AYP formula) will be 100% UNIQUE TO YOU. And you have to work to find it! 

Let me know how you do!

Ox, Jill