Benefits of a balanced nutritional plan

When I speak to individuals about nutrition, they tend to automatically take a defensive stance. Their whole body language changes and their eyes suddenly get filled with fear. Thoughts of food restrictions, diet and tasteless morsels, immediately come racing through their minds. Only after a lengthy pause, a half smile makes an appearance across their faces.

I used to feel the same way, in fact, even worse. In my early twenties, I was always trying the latest craze, from eating only green vegetables for a week, to intermittent fasting, to low carb diets, etc. The purpose of it all was to simply improve my overall health. My only achievement was being constantly hungry and tired. I spent countless hours at the gym and I was doing so much cardio that I was physically depleted. The thing is, after all of that, I never really felt any healthier or satisfied with my results. It was a bad cycle and fruitless.

On my journey towards striving for better health and wellbeing, I entered into a few fitness competitions. I was determined to do my best. I hired a fitness coach whose specialty was stage preparation. Throughout the process I followed my eating plan and fitness regiment to a T. My belief is that success is achieved through hard work and focus along with the assistance and the support of experts. I was very pleased with the results and my hard work clearly paid off as I came home with a trophy.

Once the competitions period ended, it was critical for me to fine tune my fitness and nutritional regime in order achieve a new normal for my everyday life. My energy levels and mental clarity were all over the place while continuously working out and maintaining a high fitness level.

A few months later, I got pregnant but I continued to workout out until month 8. During my pregnancy, the workout sessions provided a period of calmness that brought me to an almost meditative state. Nothing else mattered, just the movement, the breath and the moment.

Once my baby boy was born, I refused to buy new pants. I took up yet another challenge: to fit back into my wardrobe. Within 3 weeks of giving birth, I consulted with Ivana Chapman, a fitness and nutritional specialist. She was someone who had a similar journey to mine. She was also a mother however she looked like she could be in a photo shoot on any given day. She gave me guidelines for my nutrition and a training program that involved working out in a gym 4 times per week for 45 minutes. I was a little sceptical because I was used to training for a much longer period of time. I put my trust in her and within 5 months I was wearing my favourite jeans again.

Working with her, I learned many things about motherhood, priorities and much more. Here are the most important lessons that stuck with me when it comes to health and wellbeing.

  1. Work smarter, not longer. Get in the gym, do what you got to do, give it your best shot and get out before the clock hits 50 minutes.
  2. Never deprive yourself of treats. Have what you want in reasonable quantities. Life is all about indulgences as long as it’s not all day every day.
  3. Never ask if anything is good or bad. The response will always be good or bad for what?
  4. Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you overdo it one day, make it easier the next.
  5. Get enough fibre into your diet.
  6. Eat a high fat, high protein breakfast instead of high carb breakfast. It will stabilize your energy levels and keep you fuller longer.
  7. Don’t make it a diet, make it a lifestyle.
  8. Have a plan, however if your plans change, change the plan.
  9. Eating certain foods at the right time of the day, including post workout, will make a big impact on your physique.

Exercise and nutrition are vital parts of everyone’s wellbeing. If you feel good inside, it will show on the outside. For myself feeling great is a top priority. Happy body and organs = good energy = happy self.

If you need coaching on health, weight training or nutrition you can contact Ivana at