I’m Not Afraid Anymore

Posted: March 9, 2011 at 1:19 pm

The crock pot saved dinner for me again last night. When planning meals for the week I didn’t intend to have two crock pot meals back to back. Then, I two very long days and I became very thankful for crock pot options. Who cares if that meant potato, bean, and veggie dinners two nights in a row?

Monday, we had the golden potato, veggie, white bean, and pesto mix…


[recipe from Monday night’s post]

…and last night we had sweet potato, veggie, black bean, and salsa as a chili.


[recipe from Gina]

As I was enjoying dinner last night a thought struck me. A couple years ago I would have never had such a mix for dinner. Then, here I am happily enjoying meatless meals two nights in a row. I wouldn’t have avoided such meals in the past because I loved meat that much. No. I would have avoided such meals because they didn’t have what I would have considered a protein source back then.

With my old food rules, protein only came in the form of lean meats – a source that would provide almost purely protein with limited added fat or carbs. Tofu? No. It has extra fat. Beans? They have more carbs! That just isn’t possible. Plus, I thought the only way I could get enough protein would be with such meat sources.

When I was at my most restrictive I tried to severely limit carbohydrates in my diet. I remember calculating out my macronutrient splits (% of carbs/fat/protein in my diet) and having only about 35% of my calories coming from carbohydrate sources…most of that in the form of veggies, not oats. 50% of my calories came from protein like chicken. How sad considering I don’t even really like chicken!

Then, after becoming pregnant with Makenzie I wizened up and began eating more intuitively. I certainly ate more carbohydrates, but still strived for more protein. I couldn’t give up the notion that I needed at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. I honestly believed my body needed it to function normally. Then, somehow I stumbled across the fact that the recommended amount of protein for a woman of my size and activity level is only around 60-70 grams per day. Say what?!

Over the past year I have grown even more in tune with my body and the things I prefer to eat. Intuitive eating is a continuous growth process, after all. I discovered that while I do still enjoy meat, I love meatless meals too and enjoy eating them numerous times out of the week. Now, I get most of my protein from sources like beans, tofu, eggs, nuts/nutbutters, Greek yogurt, and maybe 3-4 servings of meat a week. I actually inputted my meals for yesterday into Sparkpeople just to see how my eating balances out these days.

Yesterday, I ate 2184 calories. 54% of that came from carbohydrates, 25% came from protein, and 21% came from fat. I don’t normally track (and proved to myself I have no desire after taking the effort for that little experiment), but I believe these stats are standard for me these days. You know what? I feel better. I feel like I have more energy for workouts. I have steadily been making what I consider great progress in my “Body After Baby” goals and likely even better progress than I did after Makenzie. I feel more satisfied and less hungry than when I ate more meat. Even without meat, I still exceeded my recommended protein amount. I enjoy all my food and no longer eat anything because I “should”. Listening to your body works. Food rules don’t. Each body functions differently and you have to fuel it a way that suits you best. I truly believe my body functions best with more carbs and I’m not afraid of that anymore. Bring on the beans! <—I think I just scared my husband with that statement. ;)

Question of the Day – What type of eating do you think your body thrives on? More carbs? Higher fat? Lots of protein? A very equal split?

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89 Comments to “I’m Not Afraid Anymore”
  1. Lauren says:

    Meatless meals add so much variety! I don’t track my meals, but I do take into account if I have a carb or protein or fat for my meals and snacks. I know I get enough protein because I eat so many beans, eggs, hummus, and nut butters. It’s amazing how much my eating habits have changed in the past year since becoming mostly veg (I still eat fish).

  2. That’s awesome that you’re taking account of how your eating habits have changed. I want to try that Sparkpeople app. I never really think about what amount of what I eat in a day, but I think it’s great to stand back and look at that every once in awhile!

    • Tina says:

      I just used the website because I had an old account from way back when when I used to track daily. It’s funny all the little alerts and things I got because it had been so long since I had used it! LOL It was interesting to see that once again though. And I will likely not use it again for a very long time again. Tracking isn’t my thing…but its neat to touch base like you said on occasion.

  3. laura says:

    Being in a program where all food groups are forced upon me, Im finding that having a higher fat content in my daily intake is beneficial, I cant beleive I used to only have about 10% each day! Servings are also an important thing im learning. My body needs a LOT of carbs to function.
    Glad your progress is going good.

  4. Kendra says:

    This was such a great post Tina, so encouraging and releasing to realize anew that everyone’s, including my own, bodies are different-gasp-and what works for one might not work for another. Still on the journey of trying to let go of my food rules…and feeling overwhelmed when I read another book or article about the “latest” sure-fire method of eating. I’m sick of them! So why do I read them? Good question. I love love love the idea of taking off the rules pressure from myself and discovering how I thrive…it’ll definitely be from more carbs and fats, that’s for sure! I do love my meat protein, and absolutely love cottage cheese/yogurt/fruit with Go Lean Crunch granola and flaxseed and cinammon, and I really love fruits and vegees too. Learning to relax and listen is such good advice!

  5. My crockpot is probably favorite kitchen item. I LOOVE it! I know my body always wants carbs but I know I function better on my protein.

  6. Yes! Listen to your body, it totally knows what you need. I think my body runs pretty well on a 40:30:30 split, but it does depend on the day and my activity :)

  7. Lee says:

    In terms of weight loss, my body responds well to less carbs, but in terms of fueling myself to run, it does not. So I eat a lot of carbs.

  8. I always try to listen to my body… and i hardly ever crave *meat*. Other forms of protein, yes… i certainly do crave (beans, lentils, etc). I feel like my body looooves its carbs, esp now that i’m in the middle of marathon training! Heck, may last name isn’t Rice for a reason :P I definitely have been eating lots and lots more, but I try to keep it balanced out (ish, i never track.. just kind of think back on my day and think of what I need more of).

  9. Groff's Girl says:

    I so wish I knew what my body needed! It is always so messed up (gastro stuff) that I can never tell what is going on! I am eating so well (okay, a few cark chocolate chips here and there) and running 3-4 days a week, PLUS the shred and yoga meldown. My weight has not moved and I am still always bloated. I am in the process of screenings and blood tests, so hopefully I will get some answers, BUT if I had the choice I would be more of a protein, fruit and veggie girl, with small sides of grains and so on. The grains kills me right now, but I LOVE toasted pitas with my hummus, WW wraps with my PB and banana, Total Raisin Bran, WW bagels with All natural jelly, Buckwheat pancakes with SF syrup and PB….oh, the list could go on ;)

  10. Love the new blog design! I’ve been in my own little world busy busy lately and I usually read via my emails and don’t come here too often!

    I look better on more protein and lower carbs. I feel better eating whole grain and lower carb but NOT no carb and not too low. I feel better also when I listen to my body, like what you said!

    Best of luck and amazing progress so far!!! :)

  11. I think my body performs best when I eat more protein. I also try to eat as clean as possible and limit my added sugars. Sugar is what really throws my body into a tail spin. Too much and I feel fatigued and will eventually get a killer headache. :(

  12. I need carbs! I aim to get a good balance, but the longer I run, the more I want / need carbs :)

  13. I love the Spark graphic! I started using an app called “Lose It” to track/balance my intake. I couldn’t tell what I was taking in anymore since I can’t chew! Because of that, I’m on the low-side with the carbs… and I’ve been so diligent with the protein smoothies that I’m getting A LOT. It feels pretty good, but I will definitely be adding a few more carbs back in 1.5 weeks!

  14. My body likes healthy fat and carbs the most, but I like to keep a healthy balance of protein too. I find I’ll crave what I’m needing, so I just listen close! :)

  15. I lived with food rules for YEARS! They’d change as diet trends changed: first low fat/low calorie, then high protein, then Zone (40-30-30), then vegan etc etc…Name a diet and I’ve tried it!

    About a year ago I finally figured out what works best for MY body and began eating intuitively. My stomach is extremely sensitive, so I have to be careful. I find that meals comprised of protein, non-fibrous veggies/fruit, and fats suit me best. When I eat high-fiber grains, my stomach does somersaults, so I enjoy them in smaller amounts. This way of eating gives me tons of energy and prevents me from feeling “weighted” down. However I firmly believe that all of our bodies function best on different carb-protein-fat ratios!

    • Tina says:

      Definitely so! It’s so interesting reading the comments and hearing the many different ways people feel best. Goes to show we are all unique and have to honor our OWN bodies. Glad you found what works for you!

  16. Heather says:

    I could eat 100% carbs every day all day, but since that isn’t such a great idea (lol), I’ve actually been trying to incorporate more protein in my diet (recently started eating chicken again). But I don’t measure it or worry, I just go with what feels best. :)

  17. Michelle says:

    I’ve always been energetic, by my energy levels went even higher when I cut way back on my meat! I thrive on veggies, legumes, salads, etc. I feel great!

  18. since becoming vegan my fat and carb untake is SO MUCH higher than ever- i used to live on protein liek you but i realized that it truly is the balance that makes the difference!

  19. I love love love this post! I used to be afraid, too, and HAD to have balanced protein/carb. Tofu and beans were NOT protein sources. I have let go of that mindset and my taste buds like the variety.

  20. Lisa says:

    Protein Protein Protein!! In the last few months the bf and I have actively tried to eat more fiber and protein and LESS processed foods. We’re meal planning and cooking a lot of healthy, whole food meals. My body has loved it. Not only has it jump started weight loss again, I just feel better.

    • Tina says:

      I love how each body is SO different. That’s awesome that it was just what your body needed and wanted. Such a good feeling to figure out. :)

  21. missy miller says:

    Girl! Thank you. Old food rules? I have been muffling the voice inside that says my “dinner rut” had much to do with old food and disordered habit but sheesh…now after reading that I can no longer deny and I am inspired!

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