How many times have you started a workout program, put in weeks or months of hard work and sweat, only to make little to no progress toward your goals?
Have you ever experienced the holiday meal hangover? This might include feeling like you need to let out your belt, take a nap, or even like you’ll be sick.
Do you get colds often? Feel sluggish and tired? Feel sad or depressed?
What do all of these scenarios have in common? Food! Nutrition plays an undeniably important role in our health and fitness. Nutrition is often the limiting factor that prevents us from achieving our goals. We eat 2, 3, 4 or more meals per day, 7 days a week. Those numbers add up quickly. This means that even small things can add up and lead to either great success or prevent us from progressing.
Unless you live under a rock, you have undoubtedly seen or read many different videos or articles related to nutrition. It’s hard not to get sucked into the catchy headlines. Fix your diet in 30 days, eat like your caveman ancestors, avoid carbs, avoid fat, avoid protein, the list goes on and on!
With all of the “information” and “resources” people are often left either confused or religiously dedicated to one single approach. With all the conflicting information, it’s easy to lose sight of the simple answers that produce the best results.
Arguably the single most important concept of nutrition that will lead to long term success is sustainability. What I mean by this is simple – ask yourself this question: Can you maintain your current nutrition approach forever?
Assuming that the approach you are taking is working, then it comes down to your ability to maintain that approach long term. Once you change it up, you will likely backslide. This is why diets fail. Sure, you can lose weight by a drastic change, like giving up ALL forms of sugar. BUT,can you realistically do that forever? Chances are slim.
So regardless of the approach you choose, you must be able to sustain it for the rest of your life, in order to maintain its results.
The next most important quality of nutrition practices that will yield the best results is convenience. If the approach you select is too complicated, then you will be far less likely to see success over the years. You must find an approach that you can implement on a regular CONSISTENT basis in order to have long term success.
When we choose the approaches that don’t follow these two rules, we are left with feelings of restriction, lack of motivation to continue, hunger, disruptions in mood, and many other deleterious situations.
Regardless of your specific goal(s), a successful nutrition program will always be centered around whole, minimally processed, foods. It will contain a variety of produce, lean protein, and healthy fat sources. As you might imagine, the balance or ratios of these items will fluctuate depending on the individual and their goals. This is precisely why no one single approach will fit everyone. There will certainly be similarities among the different successful approaches, but there will also be some specific differences as well.
Another key to successful nutrition is awareness! Do you really know what’s in your food? There are about 10 teaspoons of sugar in a 12 ounce soda. A pint of beer can have about as many calories as a slice of chocolate cake. And peanut butter has twice as much fat as it does protein (and usually added sugars too). Take the time to investigate what’s in your food, that way you can make informed decisions.
Variety is also a key component in a successful nutritional approach. If you eat the same thing over and over, you might see results, but you will also likely get sick of it and fall off the wagon.
This leads to the next great strategy: get back on the wagon as soon as possible! Too often a small slip up leads to a major relapse. Have you ever said, “I messed up on Friday dinner so I’ll just get back on track Monday”? Instead, get back on track with your very next meal!!!
Hopefully by now you are beginning to see that to be successful in your nutrition you need to build a toolbox of skills and habits. This is what will lead to real, sustainable, long term success! This also means that your approach to nutrition may vary over time, but the skills and habits won’t.
If you need more guidance and want to develop a specific approach to your nutrition, please ask! I have been certified with Precision Nutrition for more than 7 years and I’m currently in the process of completing their advanced Level 2 nutrition coaching program. I would love to assist you in developing a nutrition program that will help you in achieving all of your goals!