What makes a successful nutrition program? Three things:
- Improves Health
Mind, body, and soul. Health encompasses all three of these components and your nutrition program should positively impact all.
- Improves Performance
Whether you are an elite athlete, an average joe fitness person, or a mom just trying to get better in every day life, the program should help improve performance.
- Improves Body Composition
That may include decreased body fat, increased muscle mass, and generally looking good for you!
Look good. Feel good. Do good.
What are some tips to help ensure success in your nutrition program?
- Match your behaviors to your goals.
Honestly evaluate if your behaviors are moving you closer to your goals. If not, something needs to change, either the behavior or the goal.
If I'm looking at fat loss as a goal, I can't realistically expect successful results if I continue to eat poor food quality choices, drink an abundance of alcohol, and get limited amounts of sleep. Those behaviors will not help me get closer to my goals. Or if I have a nutrition plan that I only really follow 3 out of 7 days per week, I can't expect reasonable progress.
- Maybe you don't know.
When I started on this journey, this was a HUGE one for me. I needed to to come to this realization before I could move one step forward towards my goals. I have a degree in health and fitness. I have a solid foundation in my education in this area of expertise. But you know what? I DIDN'T KNOW!! Sometimes you have to drop the pride, ego, and the "I KNOW WHAT TO DO" attitude for a bit to see what you really don't know.
If what you know and have been doing isn't working, then maybe you don't know! Maybe you need another set of eyes and a professional to help develop a new plan and help you along the way?
- Start small and slow.
I think many people lose it right here. They are motivated and excited to reach their goals, and they try to GO-BIG or GO-HOME. If you go all in with extreme efforts in one area, you aren't likely to set yourself up for long term, sustainable habits.
If my previous eating habits consisted of a 1000 calorie diet with limited amount of carbohydrates (because people say carbs are bad, right?...sarcasm), then I wouldn't want to go ahead and now try to consume 1800 calories and bring back all the bread, because that is now what it looks like I should do. Your digestive system and your body would probably rebel against you and ask, "WTF are you doing to me?!!" (cue: run to the toilet, and/or possible rapid fat gain)
Small, incremental steps that produce steady progress, set you up for long term success. Don't overwhelm yourself with extreme behaviors that are hard to maintain for lengthy periods of time.
- Understand that peaks and valleys are part of the process.
When you first started your nutrition program, maybe fat loss was your initial goal and you were really successful in attaining that goal. Now what? Do you feel comfortable living the lifestyle and way you want to live now that you've reached that goal? Can you go out for ice cream and date night, and it doesn't wreak havoc on your body or sense of well being for the next 3-5 days? Maybe your goals have changed? Maybe you've attained the fat loss, but now you want to focus on strength gains?
You have to realize that goals change and sometimes you have to prioritize one over the other for a certain period of time. That is ok! It's better for your overall health to change things up and figure out what is important right now. You'll have different priorities, stalling at the scale, hurdles with the strength gains, personal records, and everything in between. It's all part of the process!
- Measurements vs. Expectations
Initially, you'll likely see good progress with your nutrition plan over a reasonable amount of time. Realize though, that the body doesn't always follow a linear line towards your goals. Sometimes it appears to yo-yo and we get frustrated with 'lack of progress,' but it may not be that it's lack of progress, and your body is changing internally, we just can't see it. This is why I like to look at a variety of factors when evaluating progress that include performance, sleep patterns, hunger levels, progress pics, etc. A comprehensive evaluation isn't always objective. Sometimes we have to ride it out to let the internal changes do their thing. If you trust the process, are patient, and continue to do the work necessary, you will see change!
- Are you understanding reasonable progress?
You start off on a new nutrition program, and instantly you are losing weight rapidly. Or maybe you're the one not seeing the huge drops at the scale? Then after a period of time, it seems to plateau or slow down. At times, when you are waiting for these changes to happen, progress can seem slow or not happening.
It's important to learn to celebrate the little wins that occur and be patient. I know we all hate that, but many times, time is the factor and you usually need to allow more of it.
And many times, the scale is NOT the best measurement tool for progress. I've seen people fluctuate as much as 3-5lbs in a day. That can be due to inflammation, sodium consumption, bloating, hydration levels, not having that digestive track cleared out (if you know what I mean), females at different times in their cycle, etc. There are are variety of factors that can affect that number on the scale. Remember, there are many other tools to evaluate progress.
Celebrate the daily successes! Did you hit your macro plan right on? Did you get all 3L of water intake in for the day? Did you avoid the pizza for the week? Are you finding BALANCE in your eating habits? Do you feel more energy regularly? Are you eating more than you ever have and feeling great? Whatever it is, celebrate the steps that are getting you that much closer to attaining those goals. Those little steps are getting you closer to where you want to be!
A successful nutrition program is one that can work within your lifestyle. Yes, it will take work! No, there is no magic pill or overnight success. Consistent, daily, small habits that work within your life, will help you be successful in reaching your goals.
Are you looking to get your nutrition dialed in? How can I help you reach your goals? Click HERE to contact me.