Aim to Eat Just a Little Bit Better
Was eating better on your list of resolutions this year? Did you commit to finally make this the year you followed through? How's that working for you? If your answer is not so well, you're not alone. I think I can help.
Not surprisingly, health goals topped the list of New Year's resolutions for 2021. Just over 45% of those polled listed a healthy pursuit as their top priority and half of them felt confident they would succeed.
Despite the optimism, statistics indicate that by February, 80% of the population will discard their resolution, despite their best intention.
During my years working as a nutrition coach and personal trainer, I had hundreds of conversations about health. In one year alone I had over 700 one-on-one conversations about food and exercise. I've answered a lot of questions and dispelled more myths than I can count.
There was one frequent question I always answered with "no."
Maybe this will surprise you, but the question was, "will you just give me a meal plan?"
While I understood the longing behind this question, I knew that a meal plan wasn't the solution to the weight loss conundrum so many were facing.
I knew this was a short-term fix to a long-term problem. It was the easy way to make a quick change without doing the harder work of learning how to make better decisions that last.
The bad news is, health changes take time. Much longer than 21 days (one of the most common myths I dispelled). Often, they can take a year or more.
But hang in there!
The good news is, learning how to make better decisions about food and exercise is a life-time skill that will improve your wellbeing and your life in general. And you can make small shifts that will help you feel better immediately.
Step one to lasting change is actually more simple than following a meal plan.
Ready? Here it is:
"Improve the quality of the food you're already eating."
Consider how you can you make what you're eating and drinking now just a little bit better.
Some examples of this include:
- Swapping a can of soda for a sparkling water
- Eating full-fat greek yogurt instead of a low-fat one (your body needs the fat)
- Enjoying a whole fruit instead of juice
- Make your favorite muffins instead of purchasing a pre-made one
- Drinking a glass of water before a second glass of alcohol
Don't get me wrong. What you eat matters!
But the nuances of what you eat are specific to you. They are customized. Only you have the answer to what foods best serve you. They revolve around important questions you must discover through a very intentional examination process.
How do you do this?
Here are 5 things that matter when deciding WHAT to eat:
- How your body responds to certain foods (energy, mood, clarity, etc).
- How you feel when you eat certain foods (satisfied, digestive discomfort, bloated, etc).
- How you feel when you're stressed... and how you eat as a result.
- How you sleep... and how it impacts your cravings.
- What you're telling yourself about your body when you eat certain foods.
As a coach, my goal is to help you determine what to eat. I can guide you through a process of discovering what foods are best for you. And I love to do that.
But if you start a conversation with me by asking me what to eat and in what amounts, even if you use the word "please," I'll do you a favor by saying no.
There is no "right" answer. There is no perfect diet plan that's just out of your reach.
If you don't believe me and you ask another expert who will answer this question for you (spoiler alert... you will because there are plenty out there), I have one word of advice for you.
Run. As fast as you can. Save your time, money, energy, and heartache. If someone doesn't know you and your life like you do, they do not have the answers you seek.
Yes, there are nutritional principles that will help you. And a good coach can help you discover the ones to apply and discard based on your unique life. A good coach will take time to listen. And a great coach helps you learn to listen to your own needs before unlocking the nutritional "whats."
Ultimately, you hold the answers. Your body, your story, your past speaks to you. Every single day.
It's time to listen.