Cultivating Muscles, Mentality & Cannabis w/ Giovannina Wise

As discussed in Episode 18 of the Wise Eats Podcast:

Do you struggle to lose weight and keep it off? Feel like you can’t make progress because of stress, peer pressure, or lack of motivation? Well, this article is for you, because my wife, Giovannina, lived that life for 10 years but finally broke free and made a permanent change to her physical and mental health.

Gio lost 39lbs in 2019 and has since fallen in love with weight lifting as an outlet for stress and building the body she’s wanted her whole life. In Episode 18, we discussed her weight loss journey and the factors that were most critical to her success.

Major change in 2019-2020

I inadvertently became Gio’s coach through leading by example. She has struggled with weight loss for 10 years, saw the success I had with my fitness, and wanted me to put her on a regimen. So, I finally did, and she took the ball and ran with it. Although I introduced her to some tactics that helped make her successful, the work she put in is what got her the results.

Gio finally made a choice to show up for herself every day, and when you do that, it will change your life and inspire others. I’m so proud of her for making the time to get her health in order and achieve her goals. And she didn’t use any diet fads, weight loss gimmicks, or tortuous cardio regimens to get there.

The Biggest Weight Loss Factor: Saying No

Wes: “What has been the biggest factor for your weight loss in 2019?”

Gio: “Several things I think. One of them would be saying no. That’s probably one of my biggest weight loss factors because that helped me stick to my routine. Stick to the things that I know I should be doing to keep myself healthy mentally and physically. Learning how to say no and not feeling bad about it is hard. I still don’t know how to do that, but saying no might be the biggest factor”.

Wes: “Saying no to?”…

Gio: “Saying no to food, saying no to people, different relationships. Saying no to routines that I used to think we’re healthy for me that are not. Saying no to some of my favorite stuff, you know, but saying no to some things that I thought I’d never have to say no to but it’s worth it in the end”.

The Importance of Weight Lifting

When I met Gio, she was not a weight lifter and had no desire to do it. She thought it was just a guy thing and wasn’t anything that would play a part in her life.

Well, times have changed.

After years of watching me lift weights, she finally decided it was something she wanted to try. “If you can beat em, join em”, she says in episode 18. Once she gave it a shot, it didn’t take long to start feeling and seeing results from it, and she ultimately fell in love. Today, she will tell you herself that she gets really mad if she doesn’t get her weightlifting session in.

Her favorite forms of exercise currently are walking and lifting weights. She ran into the same trap I did where she thought she had to run constantly in order to lose weight. Running is great if that’s what you love to do, but lifting weights and walking are far more effective. She would much rather do a fasted walk first thing in the morning and lift in the afternoon than ever go on a long run, and the results speak for themselves.

Struggles with Weight Loss Over the Years

Gio falling in love with deadlifts

This is not the first time Gio has lost a significant amount of weight. She had a major wake up call in 2011 when she stepped on the scale and saw 259lbs. She felt unhealthy and would often be in pain due to her lifestyle. Since then, it’s been a struggle to lose weight and keep it off. Over the past decade, she’s lost the same 20-40lbs several times by trying different regimens and diet fads, but this time, it’s much different. Finally, the weight loss feels permanent because the lifestyle she’s living is something she can sustain forever. She’s eating whole foods, staying hydrated, getting good rest, reducing stress, and resistance training.

Eliminating Stress

Walter, Marley, Cohen

Reducing stress has been one of, if not the single biggest, factor in making this lifestyle change. Here are several ways in which Gio reduced stress in her life:

  • Limiting toxic relationships
  • Using cannabis (Follow her @WiseGalsGrow on Instagram)
  • Exercise (Primarily fasted walks and weight lifting)
  • Spending time with our dogs every day
  • Creating more time for herself by learning to say no

I’m proud of the physical change, but more importantly, I’m thrilled with the mental shift. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been and it’s coming from the inside out. Muscles are just a byproduct of the happiness that is growing inside me as a result of taking care of my physical and emotional health.

Biggest Motivating Factor

Gio: “I want to be the best version of myself for me and for others. I really love giving to others and trying to figure out how I can do that has always been one of my main goals in life. The best way I can do that right now is to be an example to them and be the best version of me. I can’t give to others with my cup empty”.

“I want to see actual permanent change and to break the cycle of “this is hereditary”. Also, pregnancy may be a thing for me in the future, so I want to be the best version of myself so I can have the best delivery and be the best mom that I possibly could be”.

Consistency is Key – Developing a Routine for Life

In the beginning, Gio lifted 1-3 days per week. Some weeks she didn’t work out as many days as she wanted to or would even skip altogether, but ultimately, she stayed consistent and always got back to it. She wanted to start with a comfortable workload because she needed a routine she could stick to for the rest of her life. Now that she’s used to it, it’s much easier to show up because she’s actually enjoying the workouts more. Currently, she lifts between 2-5 days per week, which is perfect! Beginners and intermediates can make progress on very little time spent at the gym, which is why weight lifting offers such a big bang for the buck. The hard part is scheduling workouts and sticking to them.

Inspiration from Rachel Hollis

Gio: “That’s the hard part is learning that you can be in control and it’s not a selfish thing. That you’re controlling you and doing the best you can. Rachel Hollis got in my head this year so hard when she said that she stayed committed to a workout after going out with her girlfriends. She wanted to work out but put it off and went out with their girlfriends instead. But afterward, she came home and still got on the treadmill. One of her girlfriends asked, “really? why couldn’t you wait until the next day?” and Rachel’s like “because I told myself I would do it today”.

“Wouldn’t you hate it if someone said they were gonna show up for you and didn’t? What if someone said they were gonna show up every day at a certain time and never did? What would your relationship be like with that person? Yeah, so I gotta quit saying no to me. Taking care of myself is most important but to not think of that as a selfish thing was a huge mental struggle”.

“But I’ve done way better with it because I think of it as breaking a promise to myself and I don’t want to do that. I was two and a half hours late to myself the other day at the gym. Two and a half hours late? There’s no way I would have stayed waiting around for a person who was late like that. And I did that to myself. I wouldn’t do that to anybody else. I’m gonna do that to me every day? No, it’s not nice. So, learning to be better. Not just to others but also to myself”.

Diet Lesson Learned from Cannabis

Gio: “One of the biggest things I’ve learned through this process is about measuring your food. I’ve done the kitchen scale thing before but the reason why that really stuck with me this year came from taking care of my cannabis plants. When I realized how important it was to measure their food and how significant that was for their life and vitality, why wouldn’t I be doing that for myself? Why wouldn’t I give myself the exact amount of food and water and nutrients that I need? How about doing it for myself and not just my plants?”

Quick Bites with Mrs. Wise Eats

Favorite Specific Lift?: Deadlifts
Second Favorite?: Incline Dumbbell Chest Press
Favorite Workout Music?: Post Malone
Your Current Exercise Routine?: I try to do at least 3 days per week and the program is called Thinner, Leaner, Stronger by Mike Matthews
Cardio Routine?: Walking every day. Fasted walks and walking in between sets.
Favorite Wise Eats Recipe?: Chicken Wise Rice & Sharpshooter Breakfast Salad
Favorite Un-Wise Choice?: Wally’s Frozen Custard
Favorite Healthy Food?: Apples. I love them and share with our dogs.
Biggest Lifestyle Change Surprise?: That I love lifting weights now more than shopping.
One Food You Love That You Never Thought You Would?: Breakfast salads with eggs in them!
Favorite Source of Inspiration?: Worship music and Rachel Hollis
Current Goals?: Lose another 20lbs and deadlift 200lbs in 2020.

Watch the full interview on YouTube at Wise-Eats.com/Episode18

Weight Loss Advice for Beginners?

I truly understand the struggle. Everyone’s journey is unique. I’m still learning every day, but for me, sustained weight loss required a complete mindset change and environment shift. As far as activity, walk as much as you can and lift weights. Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day, especially first thing in the morning. It sucks carrying water everywhere you go but do it anyway if you have to. Honestly, water, walking, and weed have been my favorite overall health-building tools.

Gio’s Quick Tips for Weight Loss

Here are some of Gio’s favorite weight-loss strategies:

  • Make healthy smoothies in the morning for breakfast
  • Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day
  • Go for fasted walks
  • Lift weights! (She’s usually in the 6-10 rep range for most exercises)
  • Keep track of your progress and continue to make “gains”, even if it’s just one more rep (she never thought she would EVER say gains). When you see on paper that you’re making progress, it’s a huge motivator to keep going.
  • Get extra steps wherever possible. Park further away, walk the dogs, talk short walks in between weight lifting sets. Walk, walk, walk!
  • If you have the patience for it, measure your food to know you’re getting exactly the right portion sizes. You can really have anything you want if you eat the serving size and move your butt!

Thanks for reading and, until next time, make wise choices!

Building Muscle, Fitness & Business w/ Bryan Parady

As discussed in Episode 19 of the Wise Eats Podcast:

Back in 2009, I was 270lbs and decided to improve my health.

Over the course of the next year, I lost 90lbs and changed my life forever.

The only thing was, now I was just skinny with disordered eating patterns and problem drinking.

Took many years to get here but I did it! And you can do it too!

I was lighter and somewhat healthier, but sick all the time and feeling miserable.

It wasn’t until I improved my nutrition and developed a consistent weight training program that I began to optimize my health and finally get the athletic body I wanted.

Today, not only do I maintain a healthy weight, but I’m in great physical shape also.

So, what I’m trying to get at here is that I went from being big and fat, to sick and skinny, to athletic and fit.

I suppose you could say that I went from skin and bones….to….bulk.

Our guest in Episode 19 was Bryan Parady, creator of BonesToBulk.com. He has an incredible story of going from “skin and bones” to muscular and fit, just like I did. We dish up exactly what inspired him to take control of his health and eventually launch Bones to Bulk along with plenty of other diet/fitness tips!

How Bryan Became Passionate About Health & Fitness

Bryan: “I was about 21 years old and not into fitness or health at all. I weighed 118 pounds. I was a tiny dude and somebody recommended I watch the Rocky movies. I’d never seen them and so I watched and absolutely loved them. I think I binged them all in one week. By the time I was done watching I was like I want to be buff. I want to look like Sylvester Stallone. So, the very next day, I went out to a sporting goods store, bought a bench and some weights and set it up in my house and just went at it!”

“I did every single thing wrong you can imagine from lifting to nutrition to everything. I just had no clue what I was doing. It was probably about six months in where I had been consecutively lifting four or five days a week and saw just absolutely no progress. That’s when it kind of came to a head. I was like okay I can either stop and figure out what in the world I’m doing or I can give up and so I was like let’s go all in let’s try to figure this out. That’s when I really started researching and getting into the nutrition side and how to properly lift and it was from that point that I began to start seeing change over the long term”.

Personal Training Experience

Bryan has been personal training for about 4 years and initially got into it because it’s something he loves and wanted to get credentials behind his name. He’s coached around 50 clients one-on-one and countless more through group settings. He offers personalized coaching and regimens on his website, BonestoBulk.com.

Check out the Bones to Bulk podcast! Highly recommended!

Biggest Mistake Among Fitness Clients?

Nutrition is by far the biggest mistake, especially when you’re trying to gain muscle. There’s a lot of misinformation in the weight loss realm, as well, but especially in muscle building. Most people think you just need to start drinking more protein shakes and get in the gym and that’s simply not enough.

Advice for Aspiring Personal Trainers?

Bryan: “Go into it open-minded and ready to learn everything you can. Usually, the agencies provide really good study material as far as getting certified and passing the exam. From there, it’s really a matter of taking what you know personally and applying it. It’s not so much having a lot of the head knowledge as having that personal touch. You know what you’ve been through and that’s really gonna draw people to you. You can google just about anything out there but having someone who’s actually lived the journey and walked through what you’re trying to teach others that adds so much. So, really dive into that aspect of it and offer yourself because people are gonna be drawn to your story and your personality and what you have to offer”.

Advice for Muscle-Building Beginners?

A common misconception I see is that to build muscle you just need to eat as many calories as possible regardless of the source. I used to have a bad sweet tooth and would just eat sleeves of Oreos at a time. Trying to break the mindset of “dirty bulking” is what I find most often with beginners. It’s not about just how much you eat but you’ve got to be eating the right things along with the right quantities.

Advice for Intermediate/Advanced?

Once you’ve lifted for a while your muscle building progress begins to slow a bit. Similar with weight loss. Learning how to figure out those fine tweaks to continue making progress is what I do most often with intermediate to advanced weight lifters. It ends up being small things like adding extra healthy snacks, focusing more on form, and slowing down on repetitions to increase time under tension.

One way to accomplish this is known as the squeeze method. This is where you squeeze the weights as hard as possible to increase blood flow and increase the muscle stretch. As we get more advanced, we focus too much on numbers and hitting a new personal record. Sometimes it’s better to lower the weight and pump out 10 really good, slow form reps.

Your Current Training Regimen?

Bryan: “I’m currently doing a push-pull leg split. So, I do six days a week push-pull-legs push-pull-legs and I vary my exercises from the first half of the week to the last half. Some exercises stay the same and some I switch up. I found it to be really good overall and it’s hitting all your muscle groups twice a week which makes a huge difference. It’s early on but so far I’ve really likes the results I’ve gotten from it”.

Your Current Fitness Goals?

2019 was rough. I suffered a pulled bicep tendon and then got really sick toward the end of the year. This year, I want to focus more on my overall health, avoid injury, and re-build my strength. I think listening to my body will make a huge difference. Being really in tune with each workout and how my body feels and responds.

What is Your WHY for Bones to Bulk?

I want to be a good example to my audience and represent what I preach. I also want to be a good example to my two daughters (seven and three years old). I have a home gym that I work out in and sometimes they’ll come out there to lift dumbbells and I’ll show them some things. My older daughter is already very conscious of what she eats, so, I want to be a good example to them and try not to force anything because it’s important for them to make their own decisions at this age. Also, I always say that I want to be one of those 80 year old guys who’s still crushing it in the gym.

Balancing Work, Family & Passion for Fitness

Balancing Work, Family, Passion

Strict time management and team work with my wife are crucial! We both work full-time and take care of the kids. Physical health is important to both of us which is critical to be able to handle the load. Each week, we have a meeting where we discuss everything we have going on for the week and plan it out. Then, usually on Saturday nights, we put the kids to bed and go to town working on our businesses. We find that time to be more rewarding than going out or watching Netflix.

Daily Routine?

Bryan and his wife

My day usually starts at 4am. We’re not always perfect with that! My wife goes to the gym while I spend some time reading and working on personal development. If that’s not done first thing in the morning it’s not going to happen. As soon as she gets home, I leave for work. I come home from work then hit the gym with the kids. Home from gym, have dinner, family time, work on our businesses, then go to bed pretty early.

A Normal Diet Day for You?

Who does that?

It’s a little different right now because I decided to go vegan for the month of January! But here is a typical day:

Breakfast: Oatmeal or granola with some fruit like a banana. Mid-morning I’ll have some berries and tree nuts.

Lunch: Pasta, chicken, homemade tomato sauce made with olive oil. Lunches are usually pretty calorie heavy. One of my favorite pastas is made out of soy beans which adds extra protein.

Snack: This varies quite a bit. Sometimes a protein bar or sometimes dates with peanut butter spread on them.

Post-Workout: Protein Shake.

Dinner: Lots of variety here. We do lots of stir fries. Chicken and veggies over rice or quinoa. We love to do turkey chili. Also tacos with beans, corn, chicken, or turkey with whole wheat tortillas and lots of veggies.

Snack: Toast with peanut butter and banana slices or a protein shake.

Quick Bites!

Biggest Factor Holding You Back from Getting Healthy?: My mindset. Lots of self-doubt and self-esteem issues.

Favorite Exercise Routine or Program?: Push-Pull Split and Chest/Triceps Day.

Favorite Specific Lift?: Bench Press or Standing Overhead Press

Favorite Healthy Recipe?: A chicken-pasta-hummus recipe:

  • Cook spaghetti and chicken separately. Have those ready to go.
  • In a big frying pan, mix some pasta sauce with a cup of hummus
  • Dice grape tomatoes, spinach, garlic, mushrooms and add to pan
  • Mix in pasta and chicken
  • Sounds kind of weird with the hummus but it’s delicious!

Favorite Un-Wise Choice?: Either pizza or soft baked chocolate chip cookies.

Favorite Recipe for Success?: Consistency. Breaking a habit for just one or two days can easily turn into weeks or months. So, whatever your goal is, just stay consistent with it.

One Item in Your Kitchen You Can’t Live Without?: Food-wise it would be whole wheat pasta. Tool-wise it would be T-Fal pans. Nothing sticks to them and they’re not too expensive.

Favorite Source of Inspiration?: Gary Vaynerchuk. I also love audiobooks. I really enjoyed Bear Grylls’ book called “Mud, Sweat and Tears”.

Favorite Workout Music?: There’s so many. Imagine Dragons, Red, Skillet are a few.

One Song You Refuse to Take Off Your Playlist?: Spaz Out by Army of the Pharaohs.

Food You Recommend to Clients Most Often?: Quinoa. Very underrated health food. Great source of complex carbs and protein.

One Last Piece of Advice?: Don’t feel like you need to have everything together before you start. When I start a project, I want everything figured out before I ever start it. That’s usually so detrimental because we’re never gonna have it all figured out before we start. We learn so much as we go, so take what you already know and get going. Once you do, you’ll be amazed at how things begin to snowball and you’ll begin to learn new things and it will also give you the confidence to just keep growing and learning.

Also, don’t ever think you’ve arrived or “made it”. There’s always more to learn, not only in fitness but in anything.

Your New Year’s Resolution?: I have lots of things I want to accomplish with my family and finances, but for fitness I want to be in the best shape of my life at the end of 2020.

You can follow Bryan Parady @BonestoBulk on Instagram or at BonestoBulk.com.

“No matter what obstacles are in your mind, what things are stressing you out or you feel like you just can’t overcome…you CAN accomplish ANY goal that you set your mind to. You’ve got this!” – Bryan Parady

Submit questions, comments, feedback to WiseEatsPodcast@gmail.com or to @weswisefitness on Instagram. Thanks for watching, listening, reviewing, liking, subscribing, and sharing. Be good to yourself, be good to others, and make wise choices!

What I Eat in a Day – My Daily Diet Routine

As discussed on Episode 13 of the Wise Eats Podcast:

MY DAILY DIET ROUTINE

To give you an idea of the Wise Eats diet plan in practice, let me run you through a typical day for me as it relates to diet.

PRE-BREAKFAST

When I first wake up, the first thing I do is get hydrated. You can see exactly how I do this in my recipe video, “Always Workin’ Water”, available at Wise-Eats.com/water. Usually, I’ll follow hydration with black coffee, sometimes with MCT oil, and a fasted walk, core workout, stretch, or foam rolling. I’m a huge fan of coffee so go check out Wise-Eats.com/Coffee to see my favorite blends. Four Sigmatic sponsor!!

BREAKFAST

My first meal of the day is usually scrambled eggs with some sort of vegetable, potato or rice, and spices. If I skip on the egg scramble, I’ll do a salad, smoothie or the power oatmeal. Whatever the meal is, I always plan it ahead of time, especially if I know I’ll be on the go. That’s why food prep is so important. If you don’t give yourself healthy meals to choose from, you’ll end up in a situation where your starved with nothing on hand, forcing you into poor dietary choices. And that won’t be anyone else’s fault but your own. So, take control and be accountable.

LUNCH/DINNER

Lunch and dinners are pretty interchangeable. For me, it’s typically a salad made with spinach or kale mixed with a lean protein like chicken, sardines, or salmon. Our other favorite proteins are grass fed steak, wild caught fish, and ground turkey. Then, I add some combination of spices, peppers, beans, cucumber, pickles, olives, dried cranberries, shredded almonds, pumpkin seeds, tomato, feta cheese, onion, and hemp seed. For dressing, I’ll use extra virgin olive oil, liquid aminos, balsamic vinegar, salsa, or even pasta sauce. Sometimes, I’ll throw on some fresh fruit like apple or blueberry and don’t use dressing at all. Salads are terrific because you can rotate ingredients to enjoy a variety of flavors, while getting the benefit of many different nutrient profiles and all major dietary needs in one meal. I used to think of salad as just a pile of iceberg lettuce with some chicken, shredded cheddar cheese, some crotons, maaaaaybe a cucumber slice, and a pile of ranch dressing. Well, those days are long gone. Salads are your one-way ticket to better health if you make them a staple in your diet and get creative with the ingredients. Aside from salad, we’ll do some type of stir fry or ground turkey chili, and for a side we’ll have baked potato, quinoa or rice. To get an idea of these meals in action, go to Wise-Eats.com/Recipes and you’ll find a complete list of recipes broken down by category.

DESSERT

I have a bunch of recipes over on the website, like Banana Bread, Coconut Oil Chocolates, the Muscle Milkshake, and many others that are all made with wholesome ingredients. Just remember that it’s still dessert at the end of the day and should be enjoyed in moderation. That said, I have dessert pretty much every single day. Usually, it’s chocolate protein pudding, a bowl of Greek yogurt, or a protein shake. Sometimes it’s as simple as some apple with almond butter or some frozen fruit. I always switch it up depending on where my calorie count is for the day, and usually aim for something high in protein. So, dessert is my last meal of the day, and that’s what a typical diet day looks like for me. Hopefully, that gives you some ideas on ways you can make some changes to your own diet. I’m by no means perfect, and try to get better every day. The bottom line is that the more ways you can get whole foods in their most natural states and from good sources, the better you’re going to feel, and the healthier you’re going to be.

7 QUICK DIET TIPS

  1. DON’T OVERHAUL YOUR DIET. Add one thing in or take one thing out. Pop, fast food. Add in veggies, drink more water. Keep it simple at first. Don’t have to change everything at once, just gotta start somewhere.
  2. STAY HYDRATED. Most overeating comes when you’re dehydrated or bored. Keep drinking water and stay active. Go for walks between meals and don’t hang around the kitchen.
  3. COUNT CALORIES/KEEP A DIET JOURNAL. Can’t recommend this enough. If I were to train any one person today that would be the first thing I would tell them to do. How can you know where you’re going if you don’t even know where you are currently?
  4. AVOID BUYING FOODS YOU TEND TO OVEREAT. Peanut butter, dates, popcorn, other snacks. Even greek yogurt!
  5. VISUALIZE YOUR FITNESS GOALS. Is this food going to bring to closer to or further away?
  6. FIND SOME CONSISTENCY. With diet you have to find consistency somewhere in your life. My diet is pretty clean most days of the week. It can’t be a little bit of this today and a little bit of that tomorrow. You need to have a period of time when you’re only eating real food, otherwise you’ll never achieve any sort of consistency with your diet.
  7. IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO GET STARTED. It took me until age 25 to finally wise up and get serious about my health. My Dad was stricken with diabetes and had a leg amputated before he decided to quit drinking, quit smoking, and start eating healthy. At age 55, he lost 60lbs and cured his diabetes. Work with another guy near retirement age who’s just now starting to work out and get in shape. Riding his bike, lifting light weights, and taking charge of his health. Change is possible no matter what your age, weight, or fitness level. Sooner or later, your health is going to become your #1 priority, so why not start today before it’s too late?

For a deeper dive into healthy diet philosophy, check out the Wise Eats Diet Plan.

Submit questions, comments, feedback to WiseEatsPodcast@gmail.com. Thanks for watching, listening, reviewing, liking, subscribing, and sharing. Be good to yourself, be good to others, and make wise choices!

The Wise Eats Diet Plan – Change Your Diet, Change Your Life

As discussed on Episode 12 & 13 of the Wise Eats Podcast:

In this article, we’re diving deep into diet philosophy and exactly the types of foods you should be eating to lose body fat, build lean muscle, and optimize your life. This is Part 1 of the Wise Eats Diet Plan. Among the topics discussed:

  • The Wise Eats Diet Philosophy
  • My Personal Diet History & Relationship with Food
  • The Foods We ALL Should Be Eating & Avoiding
  • Best Sources of Carbohydrates
  • Grocery Shopping Tips & Tricks
  • Importance of Hydration
  • Macros: The Best Sources of Proteins, Fats, and Carbs
  • Cooking Tips
  • Ketogenic Diet
  • Supplements
  • Seven Quick Diet Tips!

For an example of my typical diet day, head over to Wise-Eats.com/Ep13DietRoutine

Recipes Mentioned in This Article:

WELCOME TO THE WISE EATS DIET PLAN

What’s up wise guys and gals? Today, we’re diving deep into diet philosophy and exactly the types of foods you should be eating to lose body fat, build lean muscle, and optimize your life. This is an important topic to me because there’s so much confusion these days. So many diets to follow and so many workout regimens to choose from. So many greedy corporations trying to sell garbage and lies and personal agendas instead of educating people about what actually works. But I’m hoping to change all of that with Wise Eats. We’re bringing it back to basics – telling you the tactics that will truly help you become the very best version of yourself. We’re all different with varying nutritional needs, beliefs, and goals, but no matter what YOUR diet philosophy is, there are some simple truths that apply to all humans in general, and that’s what I want to get into with today’s episode. We’re not talking shortcuts or quick fixes here. No pills, no potions, no macro restrictions, just what works coming from someone who has overcome some of the worst diet habits imaginable.

WISECHOICENATION.COM FOR A FREE GIFT

Before we dive in, head over to WiseChoiceNation.com and subscribe to my free newsletter, if you haven’t done so already. When you do, you’ll immediately receive a welcome e-mail containing the full list of Wise Eats Approved Foods, Drinks, and Supplements. Building your diet based on these real foods will help you lose weight, build muscle, increase energy, fight depression, prevent disease, and feel amazing. So, get over to WiseChoicenation.com right now, sign up for free, and get that list of approved foods delivered instantly.

THE WISE EATS DIET PHILOSOPHY

Now, the idea behind the Wise Eats Diet Plan is a real simple philosophy that you may have heard before and that is to EAT REAL FOOD. We eat for optimization, plain and simple. No soda, no processed foods, no junk food, take out, or added sugar. Of course, we all have these things from time to time, myself included, but as a general rule, you want to be consuming foods from whole sources, because the nutrients you fuel your body with make up your physical appearance, attitude, mental clarity, energy levels, creativity, mindfulness, and so much more. Literally your entire existence is defined by the things you put into your body. When you put in nothing but junk, that’s what you’re going to get back out. Tired, sick, depressed, and worst of all, imprisoned both mentally and physically from lifestyle-related choices.

WHAT IS REAL FOOD?

So, what exactly is real food? It’s things that come from the Earth, not a science lab. Things that were alive at one time. Fresh fruits, vegetables, free range chicken, grass-fed beef, wild caught fish, nuts, seeds, and grains. We want foods that are raw, organic, and as close to their natural source as possible. Farm fresh and locally sourced. That’s real food. Potato chips, cookies, cheez-its, and monster energy drinks are not real food; they’re poison. They’re scientifically engineered, modified in a lab, then loaded with chemicals, additives, preservatives and fillers. They’re marketed to generate profits but provide no real value or life force to your body. Now, this may seem like common knowledge to you, but it wasn’t always obvious to me.

MY DIET HISTORY & JUNK FOOD ADDICTION

Back in my mid-twenties, I didn’t understand what real food was. I’m sure I had a general sense of what was good and bad for me, I just didn’t pay it much attention. Back then, buy-one-get-one free whoppers from Burger King were life. I would buy entire large pizzas for myself, usually 2 at a time, spread over breakfast lunch and dinner. My most prized kitchen utensil back then was my fry daddy. French fries, mozzarella sticks, fried mushrooms, chicken nuggets, and bosco sticks were all I knew. My life was a constant cycle of junk food. At 270lbs and miserable, I stumbled across a fitness article very similar to the podcast episode I’m recording today. It told me to ditch the junk food and processed food if I wanted to change my body. Imagine that. I wasn’t going to get into great shape eating McDonalds and Taco Bell all the time? Get out of town! Call me naïve, ignorant, or just plain dumb. I simply didn’t realize the impact my diet was having in all areas of my life. Now, I understand proper nutrition, and hope this message can impact someone else who may be in the same spot I was.

FOODS TO FOCUS ON

So, what kinds of real food do we want to consume? Starting with the most important, it’s vegetables in all forms, especially green leafy ones. There are literally an endless amount of benefits for eating green vegetables, like fat loss and disease prevention, but they basically turbo charge your existence. For most of my life, I rarely ate vegetables outside of an iceberg lettuce salad. Today, I have smoothies, salads and stir fries made with all kinds of greens like kale, spinach, and broccoli. Any way I can think of to add vegetables to my diet, I do it, and the health benefits are dramatic! Just try a google search on any way to improve your health and fitness, whether it be getting better sleep, preventing cancer, fighting disease, becoming stronger, or feeling energized, and eating vegetables is going to be very high on the list of ways to accomplish these things. It simply helps with so many different areas of life. It took a long time for me to get used to it, but now I have them with nearly every single meal and can’t live without them. I know if my junk-food addicted self can grow to love vegetables, ANYONE can.

FAVORITE CARBS

My favorite carb sources other than vegetables include oat bran, quinoa, white jasmine rice, sweet potato, and fresh or dried fruit. One of my favorite easy carb recipes is the Slammin’ Sweet Potato which you can find at Wise-Eats.com/SweetPotato – Baked in coconut oil with cinnamon – the perfect complement for a lights out delicious meal!

FOODS TO AVOID

Now, I talked a little bit about the things you should be eating, but how about some of the things you should NOT be eating? For starters, eliminate fast foods, completely. No Taco Bell, Burger King or McDonald’s. I can already hear the 2009 version of myself cringing at the thought of eliminating fast food. But, it happened. I went from having fast food pretty much every day for most of my life to  barely touching the stuff. These days, it doesn’t even register to me as food. Of course, the idea of fast food sounds pretty good when I REALLY think about it, but then I just have my normal, delicious, healthy food that I prepared ahead of time and forget all about it. It’s simply not worth it to poison myself when I know the negative effects it will have on my mood, energy levels, and focus. Of course, I do eat out from time to time or for special occasions, but almost never fast food, it really is the worst of the worst. It’s usually some combination of refined flour, high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavor and colors, trans fats, salt, genetically modified toxins, petroleum products, cow feces, and antibiotics. Your body doesn’t even recognize these foods as fuel, so instead of digesting them, it stores them away as excess body fat. I cringe when I think that I’ve lived more than 2/3 of my life eating these types of foods on a regular basis. These days, my cheat meals consist of home cooked food or a dinner out with my wife, where I’ll fully enjoy myself for one meal then get right back to normal eating afterward.

PROCESSED FOOD

Another poison disguised as food that you should avoid as much as possible is processed food. Chips, cookies, cakes, and snack foods are off limits. If you are buying something packaged, check ingredient lists and avoid chemicals you don’t understand. If it has some type of health claim like low calorie or low fat or low sugar on the package, don’t trust the marketing. Read nutrition fact labels and choose foods with simple ingredients. Educate yourself and take accountability for the things you’re putting in your body. When you sign up for my free newsletter at WiseChoiceNation.com, you’ll instantly receive a list of foods that I recommend as part of a normal, healthy diet.

GROCERY SHOPPING

Now, let’s talk one of my favorite past times: grocery shopping. I used to get everything done at the big supermarkets like Meijer or Wal-Mart. Now, I only go there as a last resort. First, I hit local farmer’s markets as much as possible. Fresh, local produce is the way to go. The closer to the original source, the better. We live in a suburb of Detroit and have a farmer’s market that meets two days per week to offer fresh vegetables and farm fresh eggs. This market was there my whole life and I never took advantage of it! Finally, a couple years ago I decided to try it out, and have been hooked ever since. I try not to buy my vegetables anywhere else. Next to growing your own, I think these markets are your best option. So, find out where your local markets are if you don’t know already. It will be a game changer.

MY FAVORITE SPOTS TO SHOP

My top three places to shop other than farmer’s markets are Costco, Trader Joe’s, and Amazon. When I do go shopping, I stick to fresh produce sections and avoid the middle aisles where most processed junk is located. The bulk of your time in a grocery store should be spent in those outside sections where the fresh produce and meats are located. I stay away from the majority of frozen items unless it’s produce or meat. Frozen dinners and packaged snacks are loaded with sodium, refined sugar, preservatives, and additives. I know because I used to eat them every single day multiple times a day, and they were a staple of my diet when I initially lost 90lbs. Sure, low calorie foods can help you lose weight no matter how processed they are, but all they’ll do is leave you skinny and sick just like they did me.

HYDRATION

You can’t talk diet without touching on hydration. Because I exercise in some form every single day, I usually have about a gallon and a half or more of purified water, but I challenge any person, no matter their fitness level is, to get at least a gallon per day. That might sound outrageous to some, but it’s not hard when you make it a priority. Back in the day, I hardly drank water at all – just pop, Kool-Aid, and fruit juice. I remember as a kid constantly waking up in the middle of the night so miserably tired and thirsty. I’d get up out of bed, do my sleepy eyed, zombie walk to the fridge, and suck down a heaping glass of ice cold kool-aid, Hi-C fruit punch, or Boppin’ Berry. It was the best thing ever, and I was completely oblivious to the toll it was taking on my body. Those were the good old days! But nowadays, water is automatic, and it’s my #1 priority when I wake up each day. By the way, the home filtration system I use is called the Berkey, but there are less expensive options out there. If water quality has not been a priority for you up to this point, it’s time to Wise Up.

MACROS

The three dietary macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Your diet should include various possible amounts of each of these depending on your goals. In general, your total calorie intake each day should be made up of about 15-20% fat, 30-40% protein, and 30-50% carbohydrate. I’m a 34-year-old male, 6-foot-tall, about 200lbs, with very active lifestyle. I’m lifting weights 3-5 days per week and stay pretty active on my off days. In order to maintain my current weight, I need about 2,900 calories each day. In order to gain weight, I need to bump that up to around 3200 calories per day. In order to lose body fat, I need to drop that calorie amount to about 2,600 calories per day. Obviously, your body has different requirements than mine. These numbers are just estimates that will fluctuate based on your individual characteristics, goals, and genetics, but it’s a great place to start. There are many resources out there that you can use to estimate your required calorie intake based on your goals and the macro amounts you need to hit in order to lose weight or build muscle.

CARBS & KETO

In Part 1, I touched on carbs and my favorite sources, which are fruits, vegetables, jasmine rice, potatoes, and oats.

Carbs are a bad word nowadays because keto is the hotness right now, but I believe healthy active individuals should be eating healthy carbs, period. I love eating carbs and feel amazing when I have them, so that’s my preference.

My understanding is that following a keto diet can help curb cravings and provide some mental clarity. I know it’s also popular because it does result in rapid weight loss initially, but often it’s only temporary and there’s often a massive rebound effect when you come off the diet where you’re cravings intensify and your appetite skyrockets. I can’t speak from personal experience, but that’s what I understand about keto. The bottom line is that the fitness and nutrition experts that I trust do not recommend keto. A healthy balance of all the macros coming from real food combined with good sleep, exercise, and stress management are the keys to unlocking all of your fitness dreams.

If keto helps you get closer to your fitness goals, fantastic, but you shouldn’t be worried about whether you should be on Atkins, or paleo, or carnivore if you’re not even eating at least three servings of fruits and vegetables a day or going for daily walks or exercising a few days per week. Stop focusing on all the nitpicky stuff like fad diets and start doing the legitimate fundamentals that actually matter like getting good sleep and meditating and drinking tons of water and avoiding sugar. If you sleep well, exercise regularly, eat plenty of vegetables, and avoid sugar, it really doesn’t matter what diet your following.

PROTEIN

Protein is extremely important if you’re looking to lose body fat and/or build muscle. Most adults looking to improve their body composition want to aim for about 1g per pound of body weight. My first recommendation to any person trying to improve health, lose weight, or improve their physique would be to increase protein intake. I always make sure I get enough protein for the day whereas my fat and carb intake will fluctuate. My favorite sources include chicken, fish, sardines, ground turkey, steak, tofu (beware of estrogen), eggs, beans, black bean pasta, Greek yogurt, chicken broth, cottage cheese, and whey protein isolate.

FAT

Dietary fat is very healthy but also the macro most easily converted into body fat, so be careful. I usually keep fat intake as low as possible because it’s really easy to overdo it. My favorite sources are almonds, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, peanut butter, feta cheese, sardines, walnuts, flax seed, and chia seed.

Balancing these three macronutrients is critical for accomplishing your fitness goals as efficiently as possible. When I first lost 90lbs, I focused strictly on total calorie intake, and it worked. I only had a general sense of the amount of protein, fat, and carbs my body required, but because I was taking in less calories than my body required, I lost weight. Now that I’m focused on improving performance and building muscle, macros are much more important to me. If you understand your needs ahead of time, you’re going to have a huge advantage.

In the past, I haven’t been too obsessed with macros, I just focused on real food. I believed that by eating a variety of healthy foods in moderate amounts, you’re likely going to end up fulfilling your requirements. Just because you didn’t get enough healthy fats in on Monday, doesn’t mean you can’t make up for it on Tuesday. To an extent, this philosophy works, but it’s very easy to overeat this way. Over time, I have learned that you can eat very clean and still gain excessive weight, so getting a handle on your total calorie intake and macro ratios is really useful when you want to fine tune your eating habits, accelerate progress, and change body composition. In general, I keep my dietary fat moderate, about 40-60g, protein intake at about 1g per pound of body weight, and the rest of my diet is made up of healthy carbohydrates.

COOKING

Everything we prepare is done in the oven, on the stove, or in our Blend Tec blender. No fancy gizmos or microwaves. We actually haven’t owned a microwave in years and don’t miss it at all. We either heat everything up on the stove, in the oven, or eat it cold. Actually, some food is better cold, so don’t hate.

For high temperature cooking, we use olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil. Avoid refined vegetable oils, since those are inflammatory and low in omega 3’s. You’re going to run into those a lot when you eat out also.

BATCH COOKING

One tactic that I’m a big fan of is batch cooking. I don’t just prepare one meal. I quadruple the recipe to have for multiple meals. Make the most of your time in the kitchen by multitasking. This works especially well if you lead a busy life or work a full-time job, which most of us do. This way, your meals are always ready to go, leaving no excuse to eat out or buy from that vending machine or catering truck. I’ll usually steam a large batch of frozen vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower rice. Then, I’ll bake a few chicken breasts and have those chopped up ready to go. Then, I’ll make a starchy carb like white jasmine rice, quinoa, or potato. Once you have food prepared, sticking to your diet goals is a breeze. Grab a little bit of this, a little bit of that, reheat on the stove with a little avocado oil and some fresh greens for a quick, convenient, healthy meal any time. One hour or so of preparation one day can set you up for several days’ worth of delicious, healthy, and convenient meals. Very often, our lunches and dinners are just stir fries of stuff we already have prepared and ready to go.

SUPPLEMENTS

The bottom line when it comes to supplements is that you truly don’t need any of them. You can do just fine by eating healthy foods and exercising regularly. That said, supplements can help you achieve your goals more quickly and conveniently. Because I’m lifting weights often, I use several different proteins, including whey protein isolate, pea protein, and casein protein. The brands I currently use are Naked and Legion Athletics. For strength training, I take 5g of creatine in my post workout drinks to help speed muscle growth and recovery. Black coffee w/ MCT oil is my favorite pre-workout. Most other pre-workouts are just overhyped, overpriced junk. Once in a while, I’ll use Legion Athletics Pulse, so if you’re really deadest on taking a pre-workout, that’s the one I recommend. I try to stay away from it because the stimulants tend to affect my sleep. If you’re going with a pre-workout, beware of ingredients and go with a company that you trust.

On a daily basis, I usually take a fish oil, multivitamin, and vitamin d. Sometimes before bed, I’ll take broccoli sprout tablets or magnesium. But, most of these nutrients can be covered through a healthy diet. Supplements are good for optimization, but you don’t really need them. The truth is, the best supplement you can take is a diet that is rich in a variety of earth grown foods and vegetables. This isn’t the sexy answer, but it’s true. Supplement companies won’t make any profits by selling kale or olive oil, which is why so many different pills and powders exist. Block all of that fancy marketing out of your mind and know that real food is the supplement that actually works!

7 QUICK DIET TIPS

  1. DON’T OVERHAUL YOUR DIET. Add one thing in or take one thing out. Pop, fast food. Add in veggies, drink more water. Keep it simple at first. Don’t have to change everything at once, just gotta start somewhere.
  2. STAY HYDRATED. Most overeating comes when you’re dehydrated or bored. Keep drinking water and stay active. Go for walks between meals and don’t hang around the kitchen.
  3. COUNT CALORIES/KEEP A DIET JOURNAL. Can’t recommend this enough. If I were to train any one person today that would be the first thing I would tell them to do. How can you know where you’re going if you don’t even know where you are currently?
  4. AVOID BUYING FOODS YOU TEND TO OVEREAT. Peanut butter, dates, popcorn, other snacks. Even greek yogurt!
  5. VISUALIZE YOUR FITNESS GOALS. Is this food going to bring to closer to or further away?
  6. FIND SOME CONSISTENCY. With diet you have to find consistency somewhere in your life. My diet is pretty clean most days of the week. It can’t be a little bit of this today and a little bit of that tomorrow. You need to have a period of time when you’re only eating real food, otherwise you’ll never achieve any sort of consistency with your diet.
  7. IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO GET STARTED. It took me until age 25 to finally wise up and get serious about my health. My Dad was stricken with diabetes and had a leg amputated before he decided to quit drinking, quit smoking, and start eating healthy. At age 55, he lost 60lbs and cured his diabetes. Work with another guy near retirement age who’s just now starting to work out and get in shape. Riding his bike, lifting light weights, and taking charge of his health. Change is possible no matter what your age, weight, or fitness level. Sooner or later, your health is going to become your #1 priority, so why not start today before it’s too late?

Thanks for reading the Wise Eats Diet Plan. Take at least one thing from this article to improve your habits going forward and contact me below to let me know what it is! Now get out there, eat something fresh, do something good, make wise choices.