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How a trainer stays in shape part II: The diet

Posted by Elizabeth Comeau  October 3, 2012 07:00 AM

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RyanHealy100.jpgRyan Healy is a personal trainer for the Lynch/van Otterloo (LVO) YMCA in Marblehead. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA, and earned her BS in Exercise Sports Science from Elon University. Find more posts by her in conjunction with the LVO YMCA at She can be reached at

Remember; please consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Last week, I posted about my personal workout routine that helps keep my body and mind healthy and fit. This week I’ll be covering what I eat that helps me do the same. Similar to my exercise routine, this way of eating is what suits my body best and is based on education, observation, and self comparison of different methods of eating. There are numerous ways to eat for health and fat loss, and here is what I do.

Before I get into the content of my meals, of equal importance is how I dine. Instead of wolfing down my food in a matter of minutes as is becoming more common these days, I take my time to eat slowly and savor each bite. It gives more satisfaction to each meal, and I end up eating less because the feeling of fullness or satiety in your stomach takes about 20 minutes to kick in. The New York Times had a great article that addressed the many benefits of slow eating. I do my best to stay mindful as well and eliminate any distractions such as TV, computers, and phones; staying focused on enjoying the food in front of me while seated. This well-supported style of consumption helps increase awareness of satiety levels so I’m not mindlessly grabbing seconds and I can stop eating when I’m no longer hungry instead of stuffed. Counting calories isn’t essential for me when I chew slowly and follow this guide for portion sizes.

The content of the food in my diet is also very important to me. In general, I choose whole foods that are minimally processed, have little to no added sugar, and make me feel good -- not only while I’m eating them, but for hours later, too. Foods that leave me lethargic, bloated, or fighting off a headache later are not in frequent rotation. When buying fruits and vegetables listed among the dirty dozen, I choose the organic versions and the meat and dairy I buy come from animals that were not treated with antibiotics or hormones when possible.

An average day of eating might look something like this:
Meal 1: Scrambled Eggs and Fruit

  • 2 pastured or omega-3 eggs

  • ¼ cup egg whites

  • ½ cup cooked broccoli

  • ¼ cup cooked spinach

  • 1 ounce cheddar cheese

  • ½ cup strawberries

Meal 2: Pumpkin yogurt parfait

  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt

  • ½ cup canned pumpkin

  • 1/8 cup walnuts

  • 1 tbsp cacao nibs

  • Pumpkin pie spice to taste (mix all ingredients together)

Meal 3: Chili

  • This recipe is delicious and I enjoy it after a workout
  • Meal 4: Chicken, veggies, and “dessert”

      • • 1 cup roasted brussel sprouts

      • • 1 cup kale chips

      • • 4 ounces of baked chicken

      • • ½ apple cut into slices

      • • 1 tbsp almond butter for dipping with apples

For more information and recipe ideas, my favorite healthy cookbook is Gourmet Nutrition.

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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