Part 3: The Power of Food

By Lindy Olsen | Images by Dallas Olsen

Let’s get started.  For those of you who missed the last two issues of Oxygen, I’m going to take you on a journey so you can get yourself back into great shape. Whether it’s to lose those last 5kg or to simply feel healthier and fitter, you can use my principles to help you reach your goals (without torturing yourself in the process). No, you don’t need to go on some fan-dangled diet or eat at some rabbit café!  I’ve promised you before, and I’ll keep promising you: you can have your cake and eat it too… literally! All you’ve got to do is work smarter, not harder, and you’ll be surprised how quickly the little things add up!

The whole purpose of sharing my personal transformation journey with you is to show you exactly how important the three parts of your program – nutrition, training and cardio – really are. Great nutrition can give you great results and - as you can see from my progress shots - following my 7 Rules for Success and eating lots of fresh vegetables, complex carbohydrates and lean protein has allowed me to lose the excess pregnancy weight fairly well. However, I’ve still got a way to go if I want to reach my personal goals to tone up, and feel fit and strong again. I want to be able to keep up with my little girl who is already super demanding and full of energy!

Oh, and just so you understand how important the rules are, most people can achieve the health and body composition they desire just by following these seven rules alone. No kidding! In fact, I’ve spent months just supervising clients’ compliance to the rules. Sure, it works, but it’s an expensive way to learn. If you can do it on your own, you’ll save money and become accountable to yourself - and that’s a powerful weapon to have in your health and fitness toolbox.

Okay, so before you start eating this and eating that, you’ll need to have an understanding of the rules you can view them here and you’ll need to know how to apply them to your everyday life. By doing this, eating well becomes easy instead of an overwhelming ongoing headache!

Now that you can see first-hand what nutrition alone can do,  here’s exactly what I’ve been eating:

Meal 1: Breakfast – ½ cup oats with 1 scoop of Musashi vanilla WPI protein powder

Meal 2: Brunch – chia chicken, kumara and kale by Fresh Meals 2 You

Meal 3: Mid-afternoon – barramundi and salad by Fresh Meals 2 You

Meal 4: Snack – a bar of white chocolate most days. Obviously vegetable sticks with a natural nut butter, tuna on rice cakes or a piece of fruit is a much better choice, but I promised you I’d be completely honest.

Meal 5: Dinner – super lean and clean eye fillet and greens by Fresh Meals 2 You

To help you get started on creating your own meal plan, I’ve put together a shopping list of some of my favourite items:

Grocery List

Meat and dairy:

·     Extra lean beef
Chicken breasts
Smoked turkey breast
Salmon fillet
Eggs (carton) or liquid egg whites
Small amount of cheese

Vegetables and fruit:

·     Triple-washed raw spinach
Whole mushrooms
Red onions (Spanish)
Fresh red tomatoes
Fresh garlic
Granny Smith apples
Frozen blueberries (bag) Fresh where possible
Frozen raspberries (bag) Fresh where possible
Lemons (4)


·     Coconut water
Steel-cut/wholegrain oats
Oat bran
Golden flaxseeds
Extra virgin olive oil
Butter, coconut oil or spread
Cooking spray (canola or olive)
Lemon juice (1 bottle)
Salt and pepper
Garlic powder
Fajita seasoning
Aluminum foil 

The 21 superfoods to add to your trolley (if they’re not already there)


1.       Lean red meat (93% lean, top round, sirloin)

2.       Salmon

3.       Omega-3 (eggs)

4.       Plain yoghurt (lactose-free if you can find it)

5.       Protein supplements (milk protein isolates, whey protein isolates or rice protein isolates)


Veggies and fruits:

6.       Spinach

7.       Tomatoes

8.       Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower)

9.       Mixed berries

10.   Oranges

Other carbs:

11.   Mixed beans

12.   Quinoa

13.   Whole oats

Good fats:

14.   Mixed nuts

15.   Avocadoes

16.   Extra virgin olive oil

17.   Fish oil

18.   Flaxseeds (ground)


19.   Green tea

20.   Liquid exercise drinks (quickly digested carbohydrate and protein)

21.   Greens+ (vegetable concentrate supplement)


We all enjoy different foods so it’s extremely important you design a meal plan that suits your tastes and lifestyle. I can’t stress enough how important it is that you enjoy what you eat. If you don’t like your meals, you won’t maintain your new lifestyle, and that’s the whole idea of the seven rules: it’s a LIFESTYLE that should eventually become second nature. So if you want to enjoy amazing results long-term, create a plan that makes you think ‘YUM!’

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you get started, and to come back to so you stay on track with your journey:

Reviewing the 7 rules:

When did you last eat?
If it’s been longer than two to four hours it’s time to eat.

Where is the complete lean protein?
If you haven’t got any, find some, about 20-30g for women and 40-60g for men.

3.         Where are the veggies?
Are you about to eat two to three servings of veggies? Prepare them any way you like, but eat them with every meal. (One serving is about half of a cup.)

4.         Where are the carbs?
If you have fat to burn but haven’t just worked out, put down the starchy carbs (pasta, bread and rice etc.) in favour of a double serving of fibrous carbs (fruits and veggies). Yep, even at restaurants.  If you have just worked out, a mixture of starchy and fibrous carbs is ideal.

5.         Where are your fats coming from?
You need some healthy fats every day: olive oil, mixed nuts, avocados and flaxseeds/flaxseed oil.  Spread them throughout the day but most of all make sure to add them in.

6.         Are you drinking water or green tea?
Avoid the calorie-containing drinks: send back the soft drink, sweetened fruit juice, and anything else that contains a lot of calories - or switch juices for unsweetened varieties.

7.         Are you breaking the 10 per cent rule?
Are you breaking any of the rules above?  If so, GREAT, but count this meal as part of your 10 per cent, log it, and get back on track with your very next meal.  After all it’s the rules to have whatever you like, 10 per cent of the time.

Despite what many modern-day diets tell you, I don’t believe in cutting out food groups. Each food group has important nutrients to help your body thrive. By cutting them out completely you could be starving your body of the very nutrients it needs to repair, refuel and replenish itself. By all means, if you have medically diagnosed allergies or intolerances, then avoiding foods is crucial. However, if this is not the case you could be doing you more harm than good. Take carbs, for example: your brain and muscles mainly use glucose (broken-down carbs) to function, so your body literally NEEDS some form of carbs to get both mentally and physically stronger. Fats also play a vital role by providing essential building blocks for the cells in our body. They carry vitamins to where they need to go and help to keep our body and mind happy and healthy. Sure, fats are calorie-dense and there are bad fats (saturated and trans fatty acids), but if you stick to eating one to two servings of fats high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids each day, your body will reap the benefits.

You’ll notice that in each of my meals I aim to include some form of protein, whether it’s whey protein powder, chicken breast, lean red meat or white fish. Salmon is also great choice, packed full of healthy fats.  Proteins are dubbed ‘the building blocks of life’ for good reason. The body needs protein for the most basic functions of life, including to breathe! Muscle contractions require protein, and breathing needs muscle contractions, so without proteins, we would literally stop breathing! Plus, they’re essential for building and repairing our body tissues, including the vital metabolism-boosting, butt-shaping, arm-sculpting muscles we work so hard for at the gym. As our body can’t make many important proteins from scratch, we need to get them from our food. If we don’t, our body could break down that precious muscle to keep our body functioning properly. By providing your body with a constant source of protein throughout the day, you make sure your body has enough building blocks to repair itself and all of that resistance training doesn’t go to waste.

With my progress so far, you can see how you can transform your body with food alone. Without weight training and cardio, though, you may find that you don’t get the results you were expecting, and fall short of what you’re truly capable of. You will probably also find you hit a plateau and the results stop coming. If that happens, it’s time to add in some strength training to build some lean muscle. This will shape and tone your physique and kick that metabolism up another notch to burn any unwanted fat still clinging on.


So the next step on my journey back to my pre-baby body is adding in resistance training. I must admit, it has been a struggle, but that’s what I want to show you all. I may have five world titles under my belt, but that doesn’t mean getting back into training is easy – it’s hard for EVERYONE, including me! To see just how hard, click here to check out my first training sessions back post-baby.

Next issue, I’ll show you the awesome results nutrition AND resistance training can get you! Until then,