One of the absolute hardest things as a coach is getting our clients to change their diets. For whatever reason—lack of time time, motivation, willpower, or a massive sugar-addiction—it’s much easier for people to commit to a gym routine than it is for them to stop eating processed foods, or to break their overeating habit.
I’m not suggesting there’s a magic-bullet solution; we believe in different strokes for different folks, but here is some FOOD for thought—and various options and resources—if you’re struggling to change your diet. Hopefully one will resonate with you.
Precision Nutrition’s idea of changing one habit at time really resonates with us and is the program we'll be incorporating into the community next. Check out their website here: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/one-habit
The idea here is not to overwhelm a person with grandiose and sudden changes in their lives; instead, long-term success comes from focusing on changing one small habit at a time.
In a nutshell, the change they suggest looks like this:
- Choose one habit/task per month (It could be something like not letting yourself drink alcohol during the week, or not letting yourself have seconds at dinner). It’s important to choose an easy goal at the start, and it’s important the goal is measurable.
- Write down your plan, which will clearly state what your goal is each day and each week.
- Announce your goal publicly: The more people you tell, the more you will be held to account.
Develop a healthy relationship with food
- Keep track and report your progress.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received about nutrition is from a Registered Dietician and professor at the University of Western Ontario Jennifer Broxterman—also the owner of NutritionRx (http://www.nutritionrx.ca).
She reiterated the importance of developing a healthy relationship with food.
What does this mean?
“If you’re questioning whether you have a good relationship with food, think about your relationship with water. You drink water throughout the day, but there’s no pressure about how much to drink or when to drink. You drink when you’re thirsty,” Broxterman said. “Most people have a natural relationship with water.”
She added: “If you’re thinking about food every 5 minutes, if it’s always on your mind, and you’ve lost that natural ability to listen to your body, then you probably don’t have a healthy relationship with food.”
One way to help become healthier is to stop labelling foods as good foods and bad foods, and to stop beating yourself up when you mess up, she explained.
“One of the things I often tell people is it’s a lot like brushing your teeth. Everyone has forgotten to brush their teeth here or there, but you normally don’t beat yourself up about if. Not brushing your teeth once doesn’t lead to a spiral effect of not brushing your teeth for a week. But that often happens with food. Someone ‘cheats,’ and then this spirals into a week of bad eating,” she said.
While Broxterman believes it’s important to eat whole, unprocessed foods most of the time, she believes it’s equally as important to indulge guilt-free here and there. The guilt-free part is the key, she said.
It’s the wanting what you can’t have philosophy, she explained. Preventing yourself from ever having a cheat meal will only lead to obsessing about all the food you can’t eat more than you should.
The point is, if you mess up, forget about it and move on.
1-on-1 Nutrition Coaching
If you’re the type who needs one-on-one in-person coaching and someone to hold you accountable, then maybe it’s worth considering joining the next Nutrition 101 program or working directly with your Coach for Life.
The Nutrition 101 program is the evolution of multiple Lose the Vest experiments where we tested different dieting strategies with students and Nutrition 101 has been the best sustainable practices that have come from those experiments.
Save the date of Sept 7th (6:30pm) to attend the Nutrition 101 Seminar and Sept 12th to join the full program. More details to come soon.