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My 1,200 Calorie Meal Plan

meal prepAfter posting this pic of my fridge after doing meal prep for the week, a few people asked me to share what my normal day’s food looks like.

First, it’s important to know we all have different goals. Right now, I’m trying to reduce my body fat. I started at 18% body fat and I’m now down to 14%, but I still have to get even leaner for the LiveExercise shoot on August 21st. I’ve consistently lost about 2lbs a week, while maintaining muscle mass (according to the InBody body composition machine we use to track progress). I actually even gained a pound of muscle during the process.

My diet is based on 1200 calories a day. Right now I’m doing 7 cardios a week and strength training 4-5 days a week. With that said, here’s what I’ve been eating & doing…


yogurt parfaitAM WORKOUT
Mondays-Thursday I do a fasting cardio (no breakfast until after cardio).
(All I have prior to that is coffee)

BREAKFAST: (Budget: 200 calories)
5oz plain Chobani greek yogurt, berries & 3 T granola (198 calories)
OR protein shake with orange juice & protein powder (181 calories)
OR egg beaters with spinach & tomatoes (or 2 63 Calorie Quiche)


PinwheelsLUNCH: (Budget: 200-300 calories)
Pinwheels: 4 ounces of fresh lunch meat (rolled up) with 1/4 avocado or cream cheese
OR 4 ounces of grilled or smoked chicken with avocado, lime juice, garlic, tomatoes and salt
OR the above meat, avocado over greens with vinegar

SNACK (3-4PM): (Budget: 100 -150 calories)
100-150 calorie snack like 140-calorie progresso light soup, grapes & cheese stick, more pinwheels, 1/2 banana & 1 tsp peanut butter, or a few almonds.


Post workout protein shake (1 scoop) or one Cocotein protein drink by IsoPure (100-140 calories).


chicken and green beansDINNER: (Budget: 200 calories if I plan on snacking afterwards, 400 calories if I will not snack, or if I am good on my calories for the day)

Grilled Chicken with one green side (asparagus, brussel sprouts, broccoli, green beans, kale or salad greens). Read 25 Low-Cal Greens for more ideas. (200-250 calories)

Note: I season my greens a few different ways: #1 –  lemon juice, garlic, salt & pepper (tasty on cabbage), #2 soy sauce & olive oil (perfect on green beans), #3 Badia Complete Seasoning & olive oil (good on everything), #3 Steam with salt, garlic & butter spray, #4 Balsamic vinegar, olive oil & seasoning (great on asparagus), curry, stevia, olive oil & salt (yum on brussel sprouts) or #5 lemon juice, parmesan cheese & salt (yummy on broccoli). I grill and steam my veggies a lot. I personally like my veggies crisp and a little charred from the grill. 🙂


100-150 calorie snack (100 calorie popcorn, Veggie Straws, Weight Watcher’s Smoked Mozzarella string cheese, big dill pickle, cucumber chips in vinegar, hot tea, pretzel sticks or caramel rice cakes (minis). NOTE: I don’t need ANY of these snacks, but I budget in a salty snack because I enjoy it! 😉


Think about what you have to gainMy meal plan is based on a daily budget of 900 – 1200 calories – 1200 calories on days I exercise and 900-1000 calories on days I don’t workout. My goal for my substrates (protein, carbs & fats) for what I’m training for is 40-50% protein, 30-40% fat & 20-25% carbs. A simple 33/33/33 would be perfectly fine for most people (and you’d still get insane results). The more extreme split is VERY HARD for me. Every day I strive for this, and most days I miss it, but I learn every day and I do better than I would if I wasn’t trying! 🙂

Please realize this is not a prescribed diet. This isn’t a diet at all. This is what I am eating. I treat my body like a science project and adjust my food according to how I perform, how I feel and the results I’m getting. If I am low on energy, I boost my healthy fats or increase my healthy carbs. If I’m losing muscle, I check my LoseIt app and look to see if I need to increase my protein. However, I RARELY increase carbs – that’s one area I seem to have NO problem getting enough of! lol So far, at 1200 calories a day, I’m loosing weight and feeling great, so I’m pretty much sticking to the same things since I know they work for me.


When I reach maintenance, I like to continue this format during the week (with a little more room for extra fun calories) and have a cheat meal once a week. It’s all about checks and balances. The more you learn to maintain balance, the happier and healthier you will be. Some people cheat a little everyday but never cheat big (this is more me). Other people like to be strict during the week and cheat big on the weekends (this is more Steve). The key to success is finding what you can live with long-term because fitness isn’t supposed to be something you do for a season, it’s a lifestyle. Sure, you can lose weight for a competition or photo shoot, and have extreme moments, but you should be programmed to go right back to a healthy balance of a healthy diet and lifestyle you can maintain long-term. 🙂


Mexi-Mango Pulled Chicken and Salad Bowl

I experimented in the kitchen Sunday to create a new pulled chicken that would taste great alone – or in a meal. I came up with this sweet and spicy pulled chicken recipe. Use the pulled chicken in burritos, salads, rice bowls (recipe also below), flat bread pizzas, wraps or sandwiches.  Here are my 2 recipes!

Mexi-Mango Pulled Chicken Crock Pot Recipe

  • 8 Chicken Breasts
  • 1/3 Cup Water
  • Mex-Mango Pulled Chicken 2 T Olive Oil
  • 1 Package of Lipton onion soup mix
  • 1 Cup Diced Mango
  • 1 Cup Mango Peach Salsa
  • 1 Diced Onion
  • 1 Small Can Green Chilies
  • 2 T Lime Juice
  • 2 T Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Fresh Minced (or pureed) Garlic
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 T Curry
  • 1 tsp Chili Pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3 T Stevia
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp Cracked Pepper

peach mango salsaPlace chicken in a crock pot (choose your setting, low or hi, based on desired cook-time). In a separate mixing bowl, mix all the other ingredients together. Scoop out approximately 1/3 of the mixture and add to the chicken for cooking. Once the chicken is almost done, remove 1/2 the excess juice and place in a separate container (I use this if I feel I need to add moisture back in after pulling the chicken). Put the broth aside.

Finally, add the remainder of the seasoned mixture in with the chicken for the rest of the cook time. When the chicken is tender, pull the chicken apart until the chicken is well coated with the seasoned mixture. If the chicken is nice and juicy, you can discard the broth – or use it for a great stater for soup using leftover chicken and adding your favorite vegetables.

Mexi-Mango Chicken Quinoa Bowl

Mexi-Mango Chicken BowlHere is what I made for dinner last night. TOTALLY YUMMY! Totally healthy!

Layer ingredients in a bowl in the following order:

  • 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup Black Beans
  • 1 T Sour Cream
  • 3oz Grilled or Pulled Chicken
  • 1/2 cup shredded Lettuce
  • 1/4 Sliced Avocado
  • 1/8 cup Finely Diced Onion
  • 1/4 cup Finely Diced Mango
  • 2 T Peach Mango Salsa
  • 1 T Curry Hot Sauce (or your favorite sauce)

Dust a bit of salt & garlic powder (optional) on top and add a pinch of lime juice over the avocado for zest!

Approximately 367 Calories: 30g protein, 37g carbs, 12g fat – getting almost a perfect equal balance of calories from each substrate.

Mex-Mango Chicken Bowl Nutritional Information

Who says dieting has to be bland?! Not me!! 🙂

CARBS: Eat Them or Avoid Them?

I’m dedicating this week to diet and weight loss. Whether you are dieting for the first time or you are just wanting to tweak your diet, I will be giving you tips to help make dieting easier and more rewarding. 

Carbs Are Evil
The media has plastered a message across the globe that carbs are bad. So much so, some people are terrified of them. Ironically, those same people are eating the heck out of carbs and just don’t know it because they aren’t one of the obvious “bad” carbs. Sure, french fries are carbs but so are fruit and veggies. The problem is, many people are eating too many unhealthy carbs and not enjoying the benefit of the heathy ones.

Food = Fuel
Before you can even think of changing your food habits, you have to change your mind. From this day forward, start thinking of food as fuel. Although food does taste good, it’s purpose is to fuel you. How your body runs is determined by the food you eat. If you eat like crap, you’ll feel like crap – and you might not even realize it because you’ve never eaten healthy enough, consistently enough, to tell the difference. Start asking yourself “what does my body need?” instead of “what does my tongue want to taste?”. When you give your body what it needs, you will find you’ll feel better and feel more satisfied.

What are Carbs Good For?
Carbohydrates are one of the best sources of fuel – that’s why athletes carb up before their big day. You don’t see them loading up on chicken and steak before the race, you see them eating a big bowl of pasta and bread. Carbs fuel you to work, play and train well. However, how much energy do you need to sleep? What kind of carb-loading do you need to snore? None! Yet, this is when many people eat the biggest, high-carb meals.

Carbs: It’s All About WHEN You Eat Them
This graph will give you a visual of how you can fuel your body through out the day. First, there’s protein (in red). Protein is so important, but it’s not a great fuel source – however, it’s essential for muscle repair, which is primarily done while we sleep. Fat (yellow), is a good lasting energy source, should stay consistent throughout the day. It also helps slow digestion, helping us stay fuller longer, as well as absorb more nutrients. Lastly, carbohydrates are your best source for fuel. Since you don’t need a lot of fuel to sleep, I recommend decreasing carbs at night.  (This doesn’t mean you don’t have ANY protein or carbs during at those time, you just don’t need as much)

The Good News
If you thought you were going to have to give up pasta and potatoes – think again! You can eat all your favorite yummies during the morning and daytime (as long as they are within your caloric budget for the day) and just cut them back at night. So instead of eating that salad at lunch, eat your higher carb meals, like sandwiches,  wraps, pasta, etc) during the day, saving salads and greens for the evening. You’ll have more energy during the day and you’ll be less likely to store fat from unused carbohydrates at bedtime.

Tips for Meal Planning 

Low Calorie Vegetables (great for dinner sides)
Dark Green Veggies are always a safe bet!

Mustard or Turnip Greens
Green Beans
Egg Plant
Sea Vegetables (Nori, etc)

High Carb Foods (best for breakfast, lunch & snacks)
TIP: If it’s light in color doesn’t mean it’s light in calories.
Sweet Potato
Whole Grain Pasta
Whole Grain Bread
Rice (white & brown)
Beans/Chick Peas/Black Eyed Peas
Whole Grain Cereal
Cream of Wheat

Remember, dieting is all about calories in vs. calories out. If you have never counted calories before (and even if you’re stubborn and don’t want to count calories) be sure to read yesterday’s 7 DAY DIET: How to Make Your Own Meal Plan blog. This blog will help you learn how to get started. 

NOTE: Another great time to have protein is RIGHT AFTER a workout. There are a lot more tips to share, and as with everything, exceptions to the rule – so please realize I’m trying to keep things simple. More tips to come!


7 DAY DIET: How to Make Your Own Meal Plan

So you’re committed to working out. Whether you just joined our Boot Camp program or you are training on your own – you’re dedicated to getting results. What about your diet? (sound of car skidding to a stop here)

Yes, I said “Diet”. When I speak of diet, I’m not talking about a fad, a quick fix, or a miserable period of time you starve yourself in order to lose weight. I’m referring to managing your calories and nutrition.

Excuses, Excuses
Do you know how many excuses I hear when I ask someone if they know how many calories they eat? First they tell me HOW GREAT they eat. Then they tell me WHAT they eat. Then they tell me how HARD they work in the gym. They’re doing everything they can BUT counting calories – and most people don’t know where to start.

Weight loss isn’t about how healthy you eat, what you eat, or how hard you work in the gym. Although all those things are awesome, weight loss is determined by how many calories you are eating PERIOD. If you aren’t losing weight the way you are eating now, then you are eating too many calories – plain and simple.

How Bad Do You Want It?
Working out is hard, but it’s the easy part when it comes to weight loss. You can’t rely on exercise alone for weight loss. Although exercise is awesome, exercise makes you hungrier so many people just replace the calories burned exercising by eating more – and they don’t even know they’re doing it. It’s similar to getting a raise and ending up just as broke as before. You can’t say where the money went, but it’s gone. Unless you BUDGET those calories, you can’t count on everything just magically balancing out like you want it to.

1 Day Commitment

Give me just one day to journal you regular eating habits. You can’t really know what to fix, if you don’t know what’s wrong. Write down everything you eat normally all day long, without modifying portions or foods. Write down exact measurements, including sauces, dressing, drinks, toppings, vitamins, coffee creamer, etc. Using a calorie counter or google, tally your calories for the day, taking a mental note whether this is truly a normal day or not.

Analyze Your Results:
1. Was was your total calories? (most diets are 1200-1500 calories for women, 1500-1800 for men)

2. Where you are getting most of your calories from (carbs, fats, protein). 
3. How many grams of protein are you getting? Most people are very low in protein.
4. How often did you eat? Eating 5-6 times a day boosts your metabolism.
5. Look for high-calorie mistakes.Was it food choice or portions? 

Getting Started: Your 7 Day Commitment

So you want a meal plan? Of course you do! I’ll give you a meal plan if you will give me 7 days to prove you really want this.  Anyone can count calories for 7 days. Right? Listen, if you TRULY want to get results, you must quit avoiding the inevitable. You may have gotten by with reducing portions, cutting fat, or limiting carbs in the past, but it’s time to take it up a notch. The only way to get guaranteed results is to have accurate information. NOTE: Weigh yourself on an empty stomach on Day 1 and Day 8. Dedicate the next 7 days to managing calories.

10 Quick Start Tips To Calorie Management:
1. Sign up for a free online calorie counter or phone app like LoseIt, MyFitnessPal or FitDay.
2. Before you eat ANYTHING, look it up first. 
3. Aim to keep meals between 300-400 calories each and snacks 100-150 calories.
4. Eat 5-6 snacks and meals per day.
5. Try to get .5 – 1.0 grams of protein per pound of ideal bodyweight a day.*
6. Eat whole foods (meat, vegetables, etc instead of casseroles, etc.) Keep it simple by eating simple.
7. No guessing. Everything must be measured or weighed. We always underestimate portions. 
8. Don’t eat at any restaurant that doesn’t offer nutritional information.
9. Eat prepackaged meals & snacks, if necessary, to simplify things at first.
10. Be honest. If you ate something you shouldn’t have, input it anyway. You need to see it in black & white.

Your New Meal Plans
At the end of your 7-day commitment, look at the days you felt, and ate, your best. Use these days as templates for the next 7 days. YOU just started your own meal plan! (I promised you a meal plan didn’t I? Yes, I’m sneaky like that!) Most of us are creatures of habit and eat the same thing often. Are you ready to do this for another 7 days? The longer you manage your calories, the more meal plans you will have to choose from the easier it will get!

*PROTEIN: If you are working out, a woman who wants to be 130lbs would shoot for 65-130gms a day. I personally prefer to eat 75% to 100% my body weight in protein, which would be 97.5gms to 130gms). Using that formula, a 180lb man would shoot for 135-180gms of protein a day. 

SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG to get low-calorie food & snack tips and more this week!

Food – Keep It Simple Stupid

Managing calories can be pretty overwhelming in the beginning. Looking up calories online, counting calories, looking at grams of protein, etc – it can honestly be pretty taxing ….BUT don’t give up!! Maybe you are making things too difficult. There is an easy way to learn how to manage calories and it’s called keeping it simple.

You’ve probably heard the saying “KISS = Keep It Simple Stupid”, well this DEFinitely applies with diet. The more ingredients you add in a meal, the harder it is to manage. The more you eat out, the harder it is to manage. And the harder it is to manage, the more likely it is you will give up.

Here are a Few Tips to Keeping Your Diet Simple, Stupid! 🙂

1.) Eat whole foods. Choose one meat and 1-2 veggies for basic meals. Flavor with Read the rest of this entry

New Diet Software Does More than Count Calories

“Just tell me what to eat.” People tell me this time. Although I want people to learn how to eat healthy, telling people what to eat isn’t the answer.  Writing out a list of foods for someone is like giving someone a test answer key – it doesn’t do the student any good and is only a temporary fix for a problem that needs a permanent solution.

There‘s more to managing your weight than just eating a certain list of foods. Understanding calories and nutrients are very important factors when it comes to reaching your goals. Living by a list of foods is limiting – but helping someone understand why he or she needs to eat a certain way is very freeing. People need a solution that offers both guidance and education in one single diet program.  Read the rest of this entry

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