May 10, 2011

The Shanahan Plan

I've been wanting slash NEEDING to revamp my diet pretty hardcore lately, considering my meals are considerably not meals at all, and I live off of Cheerios and brussels sprouts. Not appetizing, now is it?

Enter Terry Shanahan. Terry is a certified metabolic typing advisor and works with Crossfit athletes. His repetoire of clients includes everyone from NCAA Division I athletes, Vegas showgirls, body builders, average Janes like myself, and someone else you might have heard of: the King of 3-pointers, Kyle Korver.

Obviously I'm pretty psyched right now because I'm a huge Bulls fan! I cannot take credit for finding Terry though -- I actually heard about him through Kyle's brother, Klayton (he's the Division I athlete I was referring to earlier. By the way, ladies, there's a picture of Klay up on Terry's website. I'm not trying to make you blush or anything Klayton, but you're looking real good in the photo. Just sayin'.) Anyway, back to the point. Klay had commented on a video of Terry's, which happened to come up in my newsfeed, which introduced me to the gloriousness that is Coconut Oil, and I did a post on it. And the rest was history!

Here's Terry's video on making five meals in 20 minutes.  Sold!

I spoke to Terry a week or so ago and first and foremost, he's a really great guy. Besides that, he's also very informative and he knows so much about food that it blows my mind. The guy is an encyclopedia! We chatted about what I wanted to achieve with my body and whatnot, and then we got down to business.

The first thing Terry does during consultations is he has you fill out a New Client Input spreadsheet, where you divulge personal information that you'd rather not let other human beings see, i.e. how much you weigh and your eating habits. Yes, he has you fill out this form and you have to record what you eat on a daily basis. And most importantly, you have to be honest. That was the humbling part. I assure you, my sheet included comments like, "I know this is terrible," and "I can't believe I eat like this," and "I feel like SUCH A FATTY!"

Then, yesterday, we chatted for about an hour and as it turns out, my diet is pretty crappy. I'm eating okay foods, but I'm not eating the best quality of food. And there is A LOT I have to learn.

I'm not going to give away Terry's entire livelihood because if I posted it on here, why would people hire him? I'll outline a few key points he made to me yesterday.

Terry as a lifestyle coach more than anything. He guides you in terms of diet and excercise, but he also is very imformative and helps you to understand why you're making the necessary changes.

We're starting off slow, so Terry recommended that I:
  • Eat a protein for every meal
  • Stop counting calories!
  • Change up my workouts

All of these things will be significant changes in my life, and I'll tell you why in this post.
Regarding my eating habits, here is what I sent Terry for my meal journal. It isn't pretty.

Click to enlarge

As you can see, breakfast consists of grains and coffee, my lunch always varies, but it includes chicken and a salad of some sort, and my snack is, yet again, made of grains; I skip dinner for the gym and then eat veggies for a late dinner. By the way, my coffee consists of soy milk, creamer, and brown sugar cubes from Whole Foods. I take the term "Would you like coffee with your milk/sugar?" to a whole other level.

What Terry told me about my diet is that it's not that I'm eating terribly, but I'm eating a lot of grains. The thing about grains, which, Terry, please correct me if I'm wrong, is that they raise my blood sugar, which will cause my Insulin to rise (because insulin is what helps to levels out your blood sugar and regulates carb and fat metabolism), which creates Cortisol, which stores fat. Now a healthy amount of Cortisol is okay, but if your Insulin and Cortisol get out of control, then essentially "shit hits the fan." And since I'm eating grains like bagels and Cheerios for breakfast and snacks, Terry was surprised that I'm my size at all. Not to mention the sugar that I put in my coffee or those cupcakes and cookies at the office I'll nom on regretfully happily. I need to replace these grains with protein (chicken, eggs, whatever) and a healthy fat, like an avocado slice on my eggs for breakfast.

Note: if you want a healthy alternative to coffee, try green tea.  If you must have coffee, Terry recommends coconut milk from Whole Foods with a Stevia packet in the coffee instead of cream and sugar.

Now that I'm divulging my eating habits, T, you should be aware that I'm also addicted to Starbucks' chai lattes and consume at least one a day. So I'm basically going into retrograde and starting lent all over. As you can tell, I am sugar FIEND. I love sweets! So this will be a huge lifestyle lift for me if I want to ensure that I stay healthy, both physically and mentally.

Yes, mentally. Terry also informed me that while changing your eating habits will improve performance and body composition, it will also help you emotionally! PRAISE THE LORD. Every woman should try this just for that aspect alone! And now that I think of it, most of you men should do it too...

There is a rhyme and a reason to this. Cliff Notes version: basically, by keeping your Cortisol and Insulin under control, it will keep your neurostransmitters in line as well. Thinking that depression, anxiety and whacked out mood swings are "a part of life" is archaic thinking, because it's not. And it has a lot to do with what you're eating.

Anyway, on to calorie counting: every girl has or will do it. Terry's recommendation? STOP counting! This is huge. I know approximately how many calories are in everything I eat, so when I hit the gym I know how much I need to burn. But what he emphasizes is that it's not how many calories I consume, but what I'm consuming. So I'm throwing all my old habits all the window and starting anew.

Now for the workout.   Here is what I sent Terry:
Click to enlarge

As you can see, I'm doing a ton of cardio.  Sometimes, if I wake up early for the gym, I'll go back to the gym at night to take a cardio class.  This might sound psychotic, but I am by no means obsessive about my weight.  Although now that I look at this chart, maybe I am?  I don't think about my weight that much people! To be honest, I enjoy getting up early and working out, and at night I get bored, so the gym seems like the most reasonable option. 

Terry's advice?  He wants me to lay off the cardio.  Assuring me all girls have this misconception, cardio isn't the only way to get fit.  You know when you see those skinny people who are flabby at the same time?  Kind of gross.  So instead of hitting the elliptical five times a week and taking all those cardio classes, he wants me to switch it up:  three days of cardio (only), two or three days of strength training (only).  "But Terry, I'm not trying to look like a professional basketball player!"  Again, Terry assured me I won't look like a man.  Like any woman, I worry about bulking up since I want to get lean.  He let me know that because of my new eating habits that I will be leaner than ever and won't have to worry about getting buff.  Then again, this is because Terry has tailored this regimen for my goals. 

He's been so helpful just in the past two phone calls and I can't wait to see how this next week goes.  The thing about your health is that it's yours.  It varies from person to person.  What might work for me might not work for you, so I encourage you to contact Terry and let him walk you through your body goals. 

Also, Terry is always looking for new opportunties, so if you have a business pitch, send it his way.  (Sorry, the PR side of me is coming out!)

This morning I woke up and made myself eggs with a slice of avocado and some pico de gallo on top.  It was delicious!  I ate it around 8:00 and it's almost 10:30 and I'm feeling really alert, happy and most importantly, full!  Especially since before I'd eat around 9:00ish and be starving by 10:30.

At the end of this I will be posting a before and after photo with my results.  I couldn't bring myself to post the before photo right now.  Not that I think I look bad or anything, but yeah, I'm critical, and I'm a little more shy than one would think. 

Can't wait to see where The Shanahan Plan takes me!

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