Diets are confusing. Nutrition is not.
Here are some bullet-proof methods to clean up your dinner plate.
1. Track your food intake for 3 days
A great accountant will analyze your budget by performing an assessment of your income vs expenses..Your nutrition intake should be treated with the same diligent approach- for just 3 days to get a “snapshot” of your diet. Most people eat the same foods, around the same times everyday. Heck, I have coached clients who ate the same breakfast for 20 years. We are creatures of habit, use a notepad, an app like myfitpal . I like using myfitpal because it calculates all your macros for you. Be honest with yourself about your portions, if you are unsure what a 1/2 cup chips looksike, snag a measuring cup and stuff them in there.. You will be surprised at how much you eat.
2. Identify your biggest demon
After you finished tracking data for 3 days, compare all your data..What are some commonalities?
Do you notice a lot of bread in your diet? Are you eating 500-1000 calories AFTER dinner? Is your breakfast a doughnut and coffee? Do you eat too much processefood? Are you eating ravenously at 3pm? Do you not eat fruits and veggies (fruitsnacks and veggie crisps do not apply). Identify the junk or the lack of nutrients (veggies, fruits, seed, and lean meats) in .
3. Coax the Demon out – Not slay it If you are eating too much processed food, excessuve breads, pastas, cookies and cake, cutting that stuff cold turkey will most likely make you sick and nauseous. You will binge eat it on (sugar) to satisfy the deprived craving, then you feel defeated and depressed, and wallah, the cycle continues.
Remember..coax the demon , not slay it. This means to gently scale down the bad stuff. If you are eating 2 slices of toast every morning , just cut it down to one for a week. Next week, replace that 1 piece of toast with a healthier version of that toast ( alternative breads) or explore different breakfast options like fruits, oatmeal with protein , or even a protein drink. The key is to gently wind the demon down over the course of 3-4 weeks. If you want a sustainable weight loss, your “weening off” period must be slow, deliberate, and planned.
COMMON DEMONS ( bad eating habits, emotional eating, lack of vegetables)
EXAMPLE A: I Eat like total crap at 3pm -sugar, salt, coffee, soda- I am scrambling for sugar
- Solution: Check your hydration levels. If protein and water are scarce , chances are your insulin levels are not stable and sending fake hunger and chemical cravings (sugar/salt/caffeine) into a tailspin.
- Action: Buy a 40oz nalgene bottle. Fill it with some ice and purified water. Slice some lemons, limes, and make sure its all finished by 3pm. If the cravings are still there, have on hand a 1/4 cup homeade trailmix (72% dark choc, almonds, sunflower seeds). If homeade is not an option, buy a healthy trailmix of dark choc, almonds, etc , and ONLY eat a handful…eat is slow, wash it down with more lemon water.
Example B: I dont eat any vegetables
- Solution: Sneak them in to pre-existing meals at any level. If you eat snacks with dip, throw in like 4 baby carrots, and 1 celery stick. Its small and manageable. Repeat this 2x a day. When the snack attack hits, eat yoour veggie stash first, then your debauchery potato chips. IF you drink protein shakes, why not add in a small pinch of frozen spinach? Its tasteless and packs a serious nutrients like iron, magnesium, and potassium..
- Action: Pack snacks of veggies with you all the time. Make it a game. Always have them handy. You get bored on your commute and a bag of broccoli is there, most likely, you will eat it. Stash some apples, broccoli and cauliflower in your commute bag.
Example C: I eat when I am sad, upset, or lonely
- Solution: Emotional eating can effect anyone and its best to understand that you are NOT ALONE, and emotional eating is a pattern behavior, meaning – when we are triggered we have a set pattern. The first step -is to recognize the emotion and allow yourself to feel sad, upset, or lonely without the food as your companion. Be your own companion, if you feel you are not strong enough that day to be your own companion without food, then call a friend, text someone, or remove yourself from the kitchen.
- Action: Have a solid emotional eating pattern plan. Start with an app or note marked “emotional eating” in your phone that you must report too before eating your emotions. Personally -I like using an old school Mead Notebook. Write down how you are feeling, what is it about, and what you CAN do it about it. Sometimes just “brain dumping” your ideas and emotions onto paper can help visualize and understand the situation and make it more controllable. After your emotional “brain dump” give yourself 1 minute of deep breathing with your eyes clothes before you decide to eat.
Cleaning up your diet is a lifetime habit adjustment. Life is full of rollercoasters and obstacles. The key is to be AWARE of your intake, make small changes to your demons over time, and understand the roots of your behaviors. This 3 step method I use with all my clients in the infancy stages of our online coaching program. Try this out for a week and let us know what tips worked for you!