A lawyer’s long hours, stressful cases and demanding clients aren’t conducive to making healthy food choices. But the fact is, if you want to lose fat, gain muscle or simply be healthier, you probably need to make some changes to your diet.
The challenge is that most of us don’t realize how poor our diets really are. And the hard truth is that even if you are finding time to exercise, you can’t exercise away a poor diet.
Even the best diets will fail if we don’t stick to them for the long haul. You can’t go from jogging a 5K to running an Ironman overnight. The same is true for changing your diet if you want to achieve steady, healthy and sustained change.
But here’s the good news: I recommend these additions to a daily diet to help you reduce body fat, gain muscle and become healthy, strong and fit from the inside out. When working with my clients I look for vital things missing from their diets before I even begin to hack away at the things that need to be reduced, like over-processed foods, alcohol and fast food.
You can’t get fit or healthy if you are malnourished. Most of the lawyers I work with tend to be one or all three of the following:
- Protein deficient.
- Micronutrient deficient.
Here’s what I advise:
Drink more water. And measure it. Most of us think we drink tons of water. But when we actually measure it out many of us are falling short. I recommend getting a 1-liter bottle and filling it up. Don’t refill it until you completely drink it all.
Are you drinking at least 2 liters per day (or about 1 liter per 1,000 calories)? If not, address this first. The cells of your body (including those in your brain) cannot function without proper hydration. Water will make you feel better, look better and think better. (Can’t bear the thought of all those trips to the bathroom? Odds are you probably sit too much and could use the extra time on your feet to extend those hips and move around.)
And yes, you can drink sparkling. And yes, you can put some fruit in it. No, you can’t put Nutella in it.
Add a protein smoothie. Include a superfood protein smoothie to your daily routine as breakfast, a snack or before dinner. Most people are not getting enough protein. And if you’re killing it in the gym and breaking down muscle, your body needs it to recover. And even if you’re not trying to get bigger, your body still needs adequate protein. So this is the one area where I typically see the need for supplementation.
Here is my favorite recipe for a protein smoothie to drink while I’m walking to work in the morning. Honestly, it’s delicious, will keep you satiated, and it’s full of nutrients.
- 2 scoops protein (any will do but I like Bio Chem Whey Vanilla).
- 1 scoop Amazing Grass Green Superfood.
- 1 banana.
- 2 handfuls of spinach.
- 8 oz. water.
- Flax seeds, chia seeds or nut butter.
Eat a veggie bag as a snack. Big surprise, most of us aren’t eating enough vegetables or getting enough fiber. And most of us fall prey to the office munchies and end up mindlessly eating garbage like chips, cookies or some other snack devoid of nutritional goodness. So everyday, to avoid the cravings for junk, I eat a sandwich-sized bag full of raw vegetables with as many colors as I can squeeze in there. Eat whatever veggies you want: carrots, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, zucchini—whatever you like and try different things. It will keep you full and fill your body with micronutrients.
Let me be clear. I do this everyday. And I hate it. Seriously, I do not really enjoy all the chomping. But I do it. Because it’s good for me. And when it’s all over, I feel good. My body feels good from the nutrients and hydration and my ego feels good because I did something awesome for myself. So if I slip up later and eat a cookie or a slice of pizza at least I know I put the good stuff in first. I recommend prepping your bags for the week on Sunday and grab and go every morning.
Try these and let me know what you think. I’ve seen many clients implement these small things into their lives with success. They look better, feel better and are healthier.
Jonathan Jordan is a personal trainer, nutrition coach and corporate wellness consultant in San Francisco. Check out his blog JJ Fit 24/7.