How to Fix a Broken Diet
Explaining proper nutrition from the so-called experts out there usually amounts to quick soundbytes:
- “Eat less. Move more.”
- “Stick with eating whole foods.”
- “Don’t eat anything from a bag or a box.”
All really are great advice, actually. But, they only scratch the surface on how to apply real-life approaches to diet and nutrition.
Real humans need more than the quick slogan and marketing pitch. It takes a real focus on a variety of factors and personalizing a program to achieve positive results.
Here’s the cold-hard truth: At the end of the day, all diet plans will end up plateauing and leading to stalls in progress. This leads to a crossroad that is so very important. When we hit that roadblock, it takes the knowledge and skill to learn how to avoid falling off of the wagon altogether.
I know. I’ve been there. I didn’t plan to be overweight and out of shape. I didn’t want to be considered on the obese side of the BMI (body mass index) scale. I wasn’t hoping my doctor would have a conversation with me about dropping pounds to feel healthier.
But it happened. And it happened because I wasn’t listening to my own body and applying the right tweaks at the right time. So as a result, I fell off the wagon and let poor habits take over.
Let’s learn from my mistake to help you get back to the positive side on the results meter when that nutrition plan feels like it’s breaking down.
First step in this process is to figure out where any nutritional deficiencies may exist, attack them and eventually remove them.
Ever been here before: “Man, the scale read that I’ve put on 10 pounds. I need to drop some weight!”
Of course, we all have.
But what is the usual gut reaction that we have here … what is the first step we usually take? We cut carbs. Cut fat. Start jogging. Stop eating so much.
Now, on the surface, this looks like a brilliant approach that will have you back in those pair of jeans in no time. But, the problem is that this is not sustainable long-term. And while it may work right away to help you look better, it is definitely not a solution to feeling better.
By making these drastic changes, we are likely starving our body of the adequate nutrients we need to truly look, feel and perform at a peak level. Nutritional/Dietary deficiencies are actually pretty common. Most of those can be lumped into the following:
- water (dehydration)
- vitamins and minerals
- essential fatty acids
Oh. Well that’s fine, you may say, because I’m Paleo or Vegan or [insert diet plan here]. And that may very well be fine and dandy. But, energy levels, strength, appetite, even mood, all hinge on getting those essential nutrients. So you may be perfect in your approach by following those diet plans to a tee and still feel like crap because you still aren’t hitting the nutrients your body specifically needs.
So how do we get the nutrients we need in order to be successful? Great question.
Without getting too sciency, we attack this through proper programming and portion controlling. And before I lose you with with fear of calorie counting guilt. That’s not what this is about.
Seriously, does anyone hate that as much as I do? Let me stop eating right now because I hit my limit and I’m not allowed to take one more bite? Yuck. No thank you.
Through the Precision Nutrition school of thought, we let your body do the talking and eliminate the need to count calories.
And the crowd goes wild.
Proper nutrition coaching will work with you to develop a program that shows the right foods to eat and in how many doses. It’s a like a prescription for looking and feeling like a badass. Instead of counting carbs and calories, we simply this with an approach that breaks it down to servings we can all understand. For example:
For a female looking to lose weight, we may program something like this:
- 1 fist-size serving of protein
- 1 fist-size serving of vegetables
- 1 handful of starchy carbs (whole grains, potatoes, fruit)
- 1 thumb-size serving of essential fats per meal
Of course this is very generic, and things may change in terms of specific goals and training schedules and everything. But, you hopefully get the point.
Take a mindful eating approach to the above meal by eating slowly and consciously (not just scarfing it all down) and letting your body tell us when enough is enough by stopping the meal once we hit 80% full. Yes, it takes practice. But, overtime, this becomes the new normal and leads to action plan for a lifetime of success and health.
A meal full of nutrients. Closest thing to a “balanced diet” you’ll get.
From here, we can start to dive into some of the additional variables that will be personalized for each individual and each goal. Things like meal timing, carb cycling and workout nutrition all help put the final pieces of the puzzle together for a robust nutritional plan.
But it starts with building a true coach-to-client bond that will allow us to take into account these very key factors:
- listening and adapting to individual needs and goals
- lifestyle – family, schedule, work, stress all play a role here
- working together to personalize the right plan that works specifically to meet your goals and is based off personal lifestyles and schedules
- tracking progress carefully in order to course correct where necessary
Once we realize how difficult it is to be fit and healthy, it all becomes pretty easy.
Yeah. I just dropped a soundbyte on you there. But, I follow that up with saying RealFOCUSFitness is here to help with our online coaching program designed to work hand-in-hand with you to personalize a plan for success.
Your friend and coach,
Pete Cataldo, CFT, CTT, PN1