Monica's Nutrition Secrets
My diet is approximately 80% free from junk foods in the off season, except maybe at Christmas. Before a competition, either on or off season, the stricter I am with my diet, and the better I look. My protein intake with every meal is between 25-45 grams, consisting of one of the following: lean, red meat, chicken, turkey (white meat is best), tuna canned in water, egg whites, tofu, whey protein, non-fat cottage cheese, and some fish (i.e. halibut, salmon, and orange roughly).
I eat starchy carbohydrates. Some examples are rice, pasta, matzo bread, oatmeal, cream of wheat, crumpets and corn tortillas only until mid-afternoon. I try not to eat these things at night because I am more sedentary later in the evening. However, if I know I'm going to be up late, I'll cut these carbs out after 6 pm, in order to have enough energy. Remember, carbs = energy! If you don't use them readily, they turn to fat. Yuck!
I eat fibrous carbohydrates such as broccoli, asparagus, green beans, celery, and spinach three times a day during a competition cycle. So, pre-contest, I'm downing as much 'green' as I can.
This food type replaces a lot of the starch that I cut out in order to get really lean. Keep in mind, however, I add a little more fat into my diet when I'm not eating as many complex carbs.
Regarding fat...normally I will eat Power Butter Power Butter Sport, egg yolks, low-fat cheese, avocado, and mixed nuts. Three weeks before or out of my competitions I prefer to eat fat sources from flaxseed oil, olive oil or canola oil.
Along with limiting your starchy carb intake, be careful of your sugar intake! Your body ends up releasing a lot of insulin to combat the high blood sugar levels both carbs and sugar produces. In case you are unaware, sugar is considered a simple carb! When your blood sugar comes down finally, it crashes leaving you oftentimes totally drained. Whatever insulin is left over binds the remaining sugar and stores it as fat.
This process can become a vicious cycle and, in the long run, can have disastrous effects on your health. I don't recommend it; but I would say it is better to consume more fat rather than sugar products. If you are, however, eating sugar, keep your intake to a minimum in the afternoon and evening hours.
If you absolutely can't get by without it, take your fix after training or better yet in the morning. Try to eat every 3 to 4.5 hrs. Many small meals are better than a few large ones.
I use meal replacement drinks or bars at times when I just can't get in a good meal. In general, you will need to cook and prepare more food ahead of time, but it will become a worthy practice netting your body great results. Just get into "the routine" or as Nike says, "Just do it!" Don't forget to drink plenty of water!
Supplements can definitely make a big difference. I would strongly suggest it for people who are serious about sticking to a weight-loss program. Go with what you feel comfortable with. Because Ripped Fast 2 is so powerful, I'll only take one capsule at a time.
Universal also has an effective formula called Herbal ThermoStack E/C/A which works better for women because it doesn't have ephedrine in it.
Remember, stick to a program for at least six weeks. Do the cardio. Hit the weights. By doing so, fat burners will work even faster. In addition to these fat burners, I also use plenty of whey protein and a good multivitamin. V3S Female Elite VitaCube is about as complete as you're going to find.
In terms of snacks, my favorite are the muscle-builder bars. This little bar packs a lot of nutrition with protein, a little carbs, and a little fat. For women who want a little more lean mass, I'd recommend Creatine Chews. It's got plenty of creatine and it even tastes like Sweet Tarts.
Monica's Inside Advice
There's nothing wrong with trying out different diet plans. Just because one diet doesn't work for you doesn't mean you should quit trying to lose weight altogether. If nothing else, dieting teaches you discipline. Whenever you start a new diet plan, you should pay attention to how it makes you feel. Try to write everything down in a log book.
For example, try the Zone Diet for 6 weeks to see if it works. Then, try the Atkins Diet for six weeks and see how it compares.
The main thing you need to remember is discipline and consistency. You've got to stay with a program for a minimum of six weeks. Two or three weeks is not enough for your body to adjust to a new diet. You have to train your body to stay at a lower body fat level, especially if it's a new level that it hasn't been accustomed to before.
I know what my body craves. It craves sugars and starch. I also know that these things keep me chunky. Once again, the real trick is consistency. I eat "clean" about 75% of the time. Since this can be really tough, I give myself little breaks here and there. For instance, I treated myself to a rich dessert yesterday at a restaurant.
Don't be afraid to splurge once a week, maybe on the weekend, and eat something sinful. It will help keep you honest for the rest of the week. Not only that, it will help prevent your body from falling into a regular pattern.
I try to eat protein with every meal, whether it's chicken, turkey, tuna or a protein shake. If you're like me and travel a lot, there are a couple ways to make sure you're never without protein. For example, I always pack some canned chicken/tuna in water. It's really convenient.
Whey protein is also really easy to take. My favorite is Universal's Orange Cream Super Whey Pro. Instead of taking the whole bottle, what I do is spoon out measured amounts of protein into little plastic baggies and take them with me wherever I go. That way, I can be sure to get a lot of protein. I usually want at least 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight. When I'm training intensely, I take about 1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight-up to 200g per day.
The reason why women need more protein is because without adequate amounts, their bodies will eat away lean mass, especially when they diet. And with less lean mass, your metabolism slows down.
Water is a must. Proper hydration is critical for staying in top shape. Personally speaking, I drink at least a gallon of water per day. No matter where I am, I have water handy. I also keep it next to my bed so that I can drink from it in the middle of the night. I have a bottle in the car, and another one in my gym bag. Wherever I am, I have water.