Linda Wooldridge – What I Eat in a Day

Being a fitness instructor, it is inevitable that someone will ask you what your diet is like or what I would eat in a day. Just like I am a bit reluctant to tell people exactly how they should rotate my workouts, I am also reluctant to go into exact diet plans. I feel that diet and exercise are definitely a very personal thing and because everyone has individual needs what works for me will not necessarily work for you.

Ultimately I love food and I am not willing to be 5% skinnier by living 95% of my life in a restrictive, obsessive way. I am well past the age of caring what other people think about my body and as long as I am happy in my own skin and most importantly fit and healthy, I know I am doing something right.

Having said all that I will share with you the guidelines I follow in order to stay healthy, have enough energy for my workouts and lead a happy, balanced lifestyle!

  1. I follow the 80%-20% rule – 80% of the time I eat healthy, nutritious food and 20% of the time I eat treat foods. Another way of looking at it is I get 80% of my calories from healthy food and 20% from treat food or I eat 80% of my calories from 'clean' foods and 20% from more processed foods. 

  2. I don't cut out any food groups. I am not gluten, fructose or dairy intolerant so I still eat these daily.

  3. I try to eat protein with every meal.

  4. For me eating enough protein is the biggest challenge in my diet. I am just not a meat lover so I tend to get the majority of my protein from grains, legumes, eggs, fish and dairy with the occasional chicken or red meat dish thrown in. 

  5. I don't deny myself small treats even on weekdays. I will usually opt for something clean, such as homemade, healthy cookie dough, fruit and greek yoghurt, rice cakes with peanut butter and 100% fruit jam and protein balls, but if I feel like it I will have a few squares of chocolate, a biscuit or slice of some kind or if I want something savoury I might have some potato crisps or sour cream and chive flavoured rice cakes with melted cheese in between. Generally I will eat these after dinner.

  6. I don't have cheat days as such, but I do allow myself cheat meals on the weekends or for special occasions. If I have a cheat meal I tend to eat less calories the rest of the day to compensate.

  7. Drinks – I don't drink any sugary drinks such as soft drink or juice. I stick to water or herbal tea with a hint of honey if I really want something sweet. If I have tea with milk I will sweeten it with sweetener such as Stevia rather than sugar.

  8. Portions – I try not to overeat, but I do believe in eating healthy portions so that I don't end up snacking too much in between meals. My main meals are usually around the 500 calorie mark.

  9. Calories – I don't count calories as such, although I have used My Fitness Pal to work out how much minimum protein I should be eating and also to get a rough idea of how many calories I tend to eat in a day. In general my daily intake is just under 2000 calories, although on some days it does go up to around the 2500 mark. I am quite small at 5ft 4" and weigh around 115 lb or 52-53 kgs so being able to eat that much food is purely the benefit of a fast metabolism and high muscle mass. Everyone is different so use an online calculator to work out what will meet your daily needs.


What a typical eating day looks like for me (approx. 2000 cals)

On waking - 2 cups of coffee with semi-skimmed milk and 1/4 cups of overnight oats – I have these totally plain just soaked in water. This is purely to put something into my stomach before my workout.

Breakfast - 1/2 cup dry oats made with water, 1/4 cup blueberries, a splash of coconut and almond milk, 1 tsp of coconut blossom sugar, 1 tbsp of natural peanut butter no added salt or sugar

Morning Snack - I don't always have a snack before lunch because the oats keep me pretty full, but if I do it would be a protein ball or a banana

Lunch - 1 cup of soba noodles with 125 gram tinned tuna fillets, 1/2 cup of mushrooms or some other vegetable, a sprinkle of sesame oil and oyster sauce. Sometimes I will have brown rice and quinoa instead of the noodles. In summer I tend to have big salads with tuna in them and perhaps a crusty bread roll with butter on the side.

Afternoon Snack - If I didn't have a protein ball for the morning snack I will have one in the afternoon, otherwise fruit or sometimes vegetable sticks with hommus. If I am filming I might have a protein shake or protein pancake afterwards.

Dinner - This varies a lot. Lately it has been lentil dahl and basmati rice, white fish fillets with salad and rice, chicken curry with rice, homemade beef burgers, Asian style soup with dumplings, chilli con carne with rice. As you can see I love rice. I am half Chinese so it's in my blood! I try to add vegetables into everything I cook too and if I feel I haven't had enough greens I will eat a bowl of salad before dinner.

Evening Snack - As already mentioned above this can vary from: healthy cookie dough, fruit and greek yoghurt, rice cakes with peanut butter and 100% fruit jam, a few squares of chocolate, a biscuit or slice of some kind or if I want something savoury I might have some potato crisps or sour cream and chive flavoured rice cakes with melted cheese in between. It is generally a small snack not more than 200-300 calories worth.

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