My Food Philosophy
I believe in treating the body with love and respect. My personal approach to nutrition—and the approach I teach in my BodyLove Bootcamp—is a blend of three different strategies that all encourage you to fuel your body, not starve it into submission. These strategies include clean eating, macro counting, and intuitive eating. (Yes, I believe in all three.)
Each strategy, on its own, is an excellent training tool that can help you achieve better overall health and stay on track with your fitness goals. But I’ve learned, through personal experience, that it’s helpful to have more than one eating strategy available to you. Because while one strategy may serve you in most situations, it may fail you in others, leaving you feeling like you’ve gone “off the rails,” when in fact, food choices are never so drastic.
Each phase of life—and even each eating experience—will require you to make decisions that nourish your body, fuel your workouts, and feel physically and emotionally satisfying. Having multiple eating strategies at your disposal allows you to make decisions that keep you healthy, while making it easier to enjoy mindful indulgences without guilt or regret.
You may find that one strategy is all you need, but if you’re prone to perfectionism, focusing too strictly on just one strategy may put you on an all-or-nothing roller coaster that prevents you from making steady, sustainable progress. In extreme situations, it may even lead to disordered eating behaviors or orthorexia (an outcome I’ve suffered myself and never want for my clients).
This is why I teach principles from all three strategies in my BodyLove Bootcamp and encourage you to listen to your heart and your body to find the balance that serves you best in your current phase of life. As your life shifts, so will your eating habits, and that’s perfectly acceptable when you train with me.
Clean eating is a popular phrase that simply means “eat real food.” Real food—also called whole foods—comes from nature: plant and animal products with just one natural ingredient. Nothing added, nothing taken away. I firmly believe that whole foods contain all the micronutrition the body needs to thrive and self-regulate. (I go into more detail about clean eating here and here.)
Every food contains energy (aka, calories) measured in three macronutrients: carbohydrates (4 calories per gram), protein (4 calories per gram), and fat (9 calories per gram). Each macro is needed to maintain optimal health in the body. Tracking your intake of these macros may help you balance what’s on your plate and reach your fitness goals.
Macro counting is an advanced approach to calorie counting, in which you set targets for each macronutrient and track your daily intake (usually in an app like My Fitness Pal). In this approach, no food is off limits, as long as it fits your numbers. Many people like counting macros because it provides a framework for bringing more frequent splurges into their diet. I encourage clients to focus on 80–90% whole foods with 10–20% play foods. This tends to increase satiety and improve micronutrition, while still providing plenty of flexibility.
Tracking macros is a more advanced eating strategy, and it’s not for everyone. For most clients, I consider macro counting a training tool to increase awareness, not a life-long strategy. However, some find it liberating or helpful in achieving specific aesthetic goals (such as building muscle or leaning out), and I do offer macro coaching in my BodyLove Bootcamp.
Intuitive eating isn’t the same as eating whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s an eating strategy that focuses on (1) hearing your hunger, respecting physical and emotional cravings, and observing how your body responds to food; (2) approaching food mindfully, but without moral judgment; and (3) allowing yourself to be flexible with rules and guidelines from other strategies. If you struggle with food fear or disordered eating, intuitive eating can help restore sanity and balance to your eating habits. It puts you in the driver’s seat, giving you power to choose whole foods or play foods at any given moment.