6 SUCCESS TIPS: STARTING A NEW NUTRITION PROGRAM
Starting a new nutrition program can sometimes be frustrating, challenging and confusing. We know – we’ve seen it with both our fitness retreat guests and our coaching clients. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, improve your health or achieve a sport performance goal, it’s likely you’ll need to make some changes to your diet. Change can be hard but there are some easy ways to avoid having difficulty with nutrition obstacles. Get on the right track from the start with these success tips.
Maybe You Know, Maybe You Don’t Know, Maybe You Need A Refresher – Often times we hear from out clients this phrase, “I know.” It’s pretty common in almost any situation – nutrition or otherwise. When learning something new, we tend to “I know” it in order to avoid facing the reality of a situation or to push away a concept that we don’t like. Consider this: Maybe you don’t know. Maybe you’ve heard what you’re being told before but maybe you don’t really know it because you haven’t actually practiced it. You might not know it well enough to have success with it. Or, maybe the information is a refresher. You’ve heard it before, you understand the concept but is it all bad to get a refresher? Not in my book. Sometimes hearing or reading information in a different way may resonate with me where as when I heard it the first time, it didn’t. Bottom Line: If you’ve got room for improvement, maybe it’s worth a listen and a chance.
Match Your Behavior To Your Goals – I’ve actually done a complete blog post on this topic. I can’t stress enough how important this is. It’s not about what you say you’ll do but about what you actually do! People fall short in this area all of the time. Example: A guy wants to lose 100 pounds. He joins the gym and works out twice a week. He ignores proper eating habits though. His behaviors, while positive in terms of movement, are still inconsequential considering the goal. His behaviors don’t match his goal so how can he possibly succeed?
Understand That You’ll Have Ups and Downs – It’s healthy to have relaxed goals from time to time. I’m sure you’re probably shocked at that but we’re talking about our body – not a robot. Sometimes, we need a little wiggle room. It’s ok to be very strict about your goals but it’s also ok to relax them from time to time. Consider periodization for nutrition like you would for exercise, for example. Instead of killing yourself by pursing full on fat loss for 52 weeks straight, you might think about periodizing your commitment. Try 6 – 8 weeks of full on fat loss mode followed by one to two weeks of a more relaxed way of eating. This can be a much better approach psychologically and physiologically. The best part is that you can plan your nutrition commitment around big life events, vacations and family get togethers.
Start Small If Necessary – Rome wasn’t built in a day! It’s not realistic to think that you’re going to change your life overnight. Rather than flipping the switch completely, a slow roll out may be the way to go. If your diet is far from optimal right now, if you’re overwhelmed by new information or if you resist change, you might think about changing one thing at a time. For Example: If you hate vegetables and never eat them, start by adding just one serving a day into one meal. If you’re an overeater, rather than counting calories, start by chewing your food completely. And if you’re totally lost, check out our Health & Wellness Coaching services and we can help you make the necessary changes that are doable for you right now.
Start Basic – Don’t jump the gun here. If you are someone who has trouble getting in 3 balanced meals a day or don’t even know what that means, then you need to start with a more simple approach. If you’re someone that doesn’t normally drink enough water or inhales food in your car rather than enjoying a meal that you can taste, it might be best to start with the basics. Balance your meals, drink enough water so your urine is light yellow or clear and eat slowly so you can chew completely and taste your food. Basic guidelines to balance your meals are below.
Protein = Size and thickness of the palm of your hand (1 palm women, 2 palms men)
Carbohydrates = 1 Cupped hand women, 2 for men (starchy carbs like potato, rice, pasta)
Vegetables = 1 Fist for women, 2 for men (If it’s green and leafy – there are no limits – eat up!)
Fat – 1 Thumb for women, 2 for men (nuts, avocado, oils, butter)
Track What You’re Doing – You’ll never know what’s working and what isn’t if you don’t track what you’re doing. Whether you use a paper journal or a journal app on your phone, it’s really important to jot it down. Now, do you need to get obsessed with journaling? No, absolutely not. But, if you’re making changes, you probably want to know how they’re affecting you if you’re investing time and energy to change in the first place. I recommend journaling the following information:
What you ate + when (approximate amounts)
How much liquid you drank and when
Workouts and when you did them
Jot down any differences in how you felt after a meal (increase in energy, decrease in energy, sluggish, digestive issues, etc). This can be a window into what foods you can tolerate and which ones you don’t.
Mood – how you felt at the beginning, middle and end of the day. You might not track all of it but you might reflect back remembering that you felt happy or annoyed after you ate a full plate of spaghetti for example.
Every few days and at the end of each week, take a peek back at the information you entered. You might start to see patterns forming about what you ate, when you ate and how you moved your body. They usually correlate to digestion and mood related issues (good or bad).
Try our Balanced Eating Journal to track your progress.
Starting a new nutrition program is a process. There is no black and white when it comes to you and nutrition. What works for one person may not work for another because we all have different needs, different ways that we react to food and different goals. Be patient with the process, be patient with yourself and reach out for help if you need it.
Best In Health & Wellness – Margot
*Don’t forget, we offer Health & Wellness Coaching (from the comfort of your own home) and can help with any needs or adjustments that you need.
**In addition, attending one of our fitness retreats can reboot you both physically and mentally. Submerge yourself in health and wellness to get the jumpstart you need!
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