I’m a 53 year old personal trainer and coach. I’m a runner who also loves to do pull ups, box jumps, ab exercises, High Intensity Interval Training, and other body weight exercises. I am a big believer in stretching as well.

But, I’ve also battled with my weight a few times in my life. In college I was an over achiever and gained more than the freshman 15--I gained 35 pounds! Then around 8 years ago, I put on 20 pounds. This was a super stressful time in my life when my dad was declining from Alzheimer’s and I had a running injury which led to extra pounds on my body.

In my career as a group exercise instructor and trainer, I’ve seen (and tried) just about every fad diet out there. I’ve had horrible eating habits (mostly in college) and really great eating habits. It took a long time to get to the good eating habits. I will tell you this; I finally realized that when I eat crap, I feel like crap and it’s an awful feeling.

I found out what works best for my body with both food/water and fitness. I wish I would have figured this out years ago. I struggled for far too long to find the “key” to weight loss and feeling great in my own skin.

So, what’s the magic key to feeling great and getting to a weight that makes you happy? Discovering your own body clock. We all have one that tells us when to eat, when to sleep, and what feels best. When we learn to listen to our body clocks I believe it’s a big step towards lifelong success. It’s what I advise all my clients to do with their eating.

That being said, it’s really hard to do. In our society we eat for so many other reasons than hunger. Boredom, anxiety, loneliness, happiness, frustration, and the list goes on and on.

So, with this in mind, what do my day-to-day eating habits look like?

My body is not hungry in the morning. I have coffee, water and after my workout, I’ll put a scoop of protein powder into my blender with coffee for a protein mocha and I’ll be good until lunch.

I make sure I get enough protein, some healthy fats, and tons of veggies at lunch and at dinner. Because my lunch is substantial, I’m not usually hungry for a snack in the afternoon.

The key is eating REAL food throughout the day. Aside from protein powder (I don’t love meat and this is the best way for me to get enough protein), I avoid processed foods. I also stay away from sugar.

I call sugar ‘the bad boyfriend’. It’s so hard to break up with for so many people. They are literally addicted to it and feel the need to have it daily. Watching my dad die of Alzheimer’s (which is called Type 3 Diabetes and is directly linked to sugar intake) was awful. Knowing how bad sugar is for our bodies and brains really makes a huge difference to me in choosing whether or not to put it in my body.

In my 40’s, there were plenty of times I woke up with a food hangover. I wasted so many hours beating myself up over bad food choices. It was a cycle of binging (usually on Friday nights after being too restrictive during the week) that I struggled with for years.

Now that I eat according to my body clock, I don’t binge. I wake up feeling great every single day. My body gets a ton of fiber from the veggies, lots of healthy fats (from nuts/avocados), and plenty of protein. It’s a winning formula!

In closing, building healthy eating habits has as much to do with your mindset as it does with the food you’re putting into your body. Pay strict attention to your body clock and make sure you’re feeding your body with natural food that isn’t processed. No one ever got flat abs by restricting their diet only to binge on sugar and processed foods at the end of the week! Put real thought into your eating habits and you’ll be feeling and seeing the positive results before you know it.

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