In the last article we looked at why there is no one single diet plan that works for everyone. The reason being that we are all unique meaning our bodies have completely different nutritional requirements. It is a big decision to embark on a major body composition change, whether that is weight loss exercise or muscle gain and a big commitment to decide to want to dial in your nutrition to improve athletic performance. It is also a significant investment to employ the services of a coach to guide you through the process, so it goes without saying that many people recoil when they are told that EVERYONE benefits from starting with the most basic strategies.
‘What do you mean I have to pay $150 to be told to drink 2 liters of water per day, put my electronic devices down before bed and measure out portions of food using the palm of my hand???’ Where is the magic pill, powder or potion? Where is the machine that makes the body fat magically disappear? I want to skip that stuff and go straight to a super strict macro plan. Trust me I have heard it all. We want glamor, we want something dramatic and bold but here’s the thing, if you skip over the basics, if you ignore the habits and behaviors that form the foundation of long term lasting change how do you expect to succeed?
Behaviors are a person actions – things we do consciously. Habits are routines of behavior and once established are often done unconsciously. By focusing our efforts on developing a routine that supports our nutritional goals and practicing good behaviors that allow the habit to become unconscious, we ultimately get to a place where we are making good choices without having to think about it. Voila you have your secret to long term healthy living and lasting results.
Let’s say you decide to dive straight into an advanced and strict macro plan with no previous nutrition experience. One day you have pizza and beer for dinner then you wake up and all of a sudden you have to live by a set of numbers, carry a food scale everywhere, log every bite you eat, read food labels, quit takeouts, drastically cut alcohol, start saying no to dinner with friends because you don’t know exactly what you ate to the nearest gram…. How long do you give yourself before overwhelm sets in and you quit?
You see the problem with this scenario is that you tried to go from zero to hero. Firstly there was just way too much change all at once and secondly you never gave yourself the chance to practice making better choices or to learn what a ‘serving’ of chicken or broccoli even looks like. By starting with a simple form of food scale – the palm of your hand, you can begin to get an idea of portion control. By becoming mindful of hunger and fullness cues and considering the how, what, when and why behind your nutrition you can begin to develop better eating habits. By practicing eating out and trading fries for a side salad, asking for dressings and sauces on the side and saying no to the second drink you begin to develop those all important behaviors that build the foundations that support your nutrition goals.
Just as the saying goes – you can’t out exercise a bad diet, you also can’t demand first rate results out of your body if you don’t work on other key factors like sleep and hydration. It may sound silly having a sleep protocol but did you know that it has been proven that consistent lack of sleep can cause weight gain? So when I preach about starting out with simple strategies it is really a means of pressing the reset button and setting you up to have the potential to get to succeed in the longterm and proceed to more advanced levels if required.
So you are still questioning the cost of a coach? Well change is hard and sometimes complex. The role of the nutrition coach is to guide you at a pace that works for you taking into consideration your environment, experience and goals. Your coach is there to pick you up and dust you off when you feel like the task ahead is too big, your coach is there to reframe situations that cause emotional eating responses and ultimately your coach is there to teach, guide and support you through a journey that will involve trial and error. Your coach is a key member of your tribe of supporters so don’t think of her as an expense, more a great investment!
For more information on the Gravitas Nutrition program including details of challenges and workshops visit http://gravitasfitness.com/nutrition