If you have been following my blog for a while now, you'll know that I have struggled with calorie counting. I decided to give it up a few months back, but have missed the structure of it all. I'm a huge planner and organizer, so when I feel kind of "on my own" about something, I tend to get anxious. While I have dabbled with counting calories again recently, I still stand by the fact that I don't like the effect it has on my brain! I'm not going back there, no matter how much I love to micromanage my life! That's where PiYo comes in.
I'm ending my third week of PiYo workout program and loving every minute of it. I also have LOVED the food plan that it comes with. I tend to follow my own kind of meal plan, but the fact that the PiYo plan counts portions and not calories is huge. The PiYo eating plan places you in a calorie bracket based on your starting weight, but after that, you don't need to count calories. You just tally up how many portions of each food you have for the day. It tells you how much of a certain food counts as a portion, and makes sure you are balanced and well fed throughout the day.
The food choices are endless, and the lists have actually helped me see how many different vegetables, fruits, or proteins I could be eating! I've been looking at my meal plans through this lens lately and it's helped me still have some structure (type A personality anybody?) without getting fixated on the numbers. It's also easy to plan my week by knowing how many portions of each food group I'll need to plan for the day. Usually, I'll plan breakfast, lunch, and snacks, and whatever portions I have left over, I'll have as my dinner. I also don't restrict my vegetable intake. My new mantra: Vegetables make us feel like Wonder Woman....so eat those babies up!
Veggies and berries have been my go-to snacks lately.
I also LOVE that Shakeology counts as a protein. Sometimes, I just can't handle having chicken, turkey, or eggs at every meal. It's just too much protein and chewing, and frankly is not fun 4-5x/day! Shakeology is delicious, chocolately, and jam-packed with nutrients and superfoods, NOT just protein. I usually have this as my mid morning snack (which is 9am for me haha morning person over here!) and it really helps keep me full while allowing me to slurp on delicious chocolate.
As a disclaimer, I am not crazy strict on these portions either. Being too intense about something is not a way to live a lifestyle. I am all for following a plan to a T for a few weeks, but always keep the fact in that back of your mind that you WILL have to go back to normal life, filled with healthy food choices as well as special events and splurges now and then. If I don't have enough protein portions in one day, too many fruits, or a double serving of my gluten-free toast, I don't freak out about it. I just continue with the day and keep on making healthy choices. I just love the framework of the PiYo eating plan and think it is GREAT for people who are trying to get their nutrition in check.
I'll end this post with my meal plan for today, and how I tally up my portions PiYo-style! Again, I'm not being too strict on myself, just trying to see where my portions lie in relation to the recommendations in the eating plan, and use up whatever food I have in the fridge for this week.
Breakfast: Shakeology, blueberries (1 protein, 1 fruit)
Snack: hard boiled eggs, sliced cucumbers (1 protein, 1 veggie)
Lunch: beans and rice salad (2 grains, 2-3 veggies)
Snack: nuts (2 healthy fats)
Dinner: toss up!
Total without dinner: 2 proteins, 2 grains, 1 fruit, 3-4 veggies, 2 healthy fats
I know I have 2 protein portions left for the day, veggies, and fruits! So I will probably try to have a combination of protein and veggies for dinner and eat till fullness, NOT stuff my face with 8oz of steak just to reach my goal. That is why this plan is helpful; you can tally your portions and see where you are for the day, but you DON'T have to ignore fullness or hunger cues. If you want that extra scoop of rice, have it! If you don't feel like having protein yet again, don't worry about it! It's good to be aware, without being too hard on ourselves. As long as our food choices are healthy and mostly vegetables and whole foods, we are well on our way to nourishing our bodies.