Creating a Successful Nutrition Plan (Part One)
Sticking to your nutrition plan should easy enough, given the wide access to quality information and expert knowledge afforded to us by the internet. However in practice we know that’s not always the case. In the next couple of minutes of reading, we’ll do our best to change your outlook on nutrition and help to ensure you stay the course long term.
Nutrition can absolute minefield, with the wide array of fad diets, buzz-words and dieting terminology (some of which is useful, some complete garbage) regularly thrown about, so it’s no wonder a majority of people feel overwhelmed by it all and struggle to get to grips with the fundamentals.
Don’t eat after 6pm
Boo-tea and magic pills
Celebrity endorsed fat burning coffee
There’s a lot of conflicting advice and information out there and plenty of sharks whose sole motivator is to part you from your hard earned money, not giving any concern for your long terms results or health. This all too often results in many would be dieters losing motivation, getting poor or short lived results and often ending their latest journey more confused than when they started.
Here we offer some quick tips to help you stay the path and get to grips with managing your nutrition for the long term, without the pain of hard dieting or emotional trauma of continually failing on your mission to improve your body composition and health.
*There is one caveat here: IF you are cutting weight for a fight, getting in shape for a shoot or a bodybuilding show then the following doesn’t apply, the extreme nature of the end goal does dictate that your approach will have to be more methodical in nature and probably will require an extra degree of sacrifice.
Your journey will suck for a little while, you should expect some discomfort as that’s the reality of things when it comes to rapid fat loss. But for the average gym goer looking to add muscle mass or lose some fat, those extremes shouldn’t make you feel like a dog on heat every time you see a pizza on your Instagram feed.
You shouldn’t have to eat a salad at dinner because you are “on a diet” and you certainly don’t need to hit up a family event with your Tupperware of chicken, rice and broccoli in hand.
There are two main things that matter when it comes to your nutrition, and they are relevant regardless of your goal:
Consistency and Sustainability
If your plan doesn’t encourage those two key things, then you are setting yourself up to fail.
You need to be able to quite simply stick with the plan, enjoy the plan to an extent and be able to still love your life and be able to have a good time at social situations (remember those) and be comfortable you can make good choices when needed, and not over-stress at the slightest indulgence.
Your plan needs to make you feel great most of the time, and provide you with everything your body needs to recover, rest and most importantly still get results.
To kick it off there is the acceptance phase: accepting where you are right now and knowing in your mind you are making a change and that it’ll take time. Addressing fundamental behaviours and attitudes towards nutrition won’t necessarily happen overnight.
Then comes the plan itself: we know what typically happens when you go to the extreme of cutting out everything you now deem as unacceptable.
Rather than allowing yourself to indulge on a little bit of “unhealthy” food or alcohol from time to time, like a sensible plan should incorporate, following an all or nothing approach tends to end up with you knee deep in Pringles tub’s as soon something comes up in life that changes your mood or upsets your routine. Beyond this, F*ck it mode often ensues and the diet is no longer.
So how do we make your plan sustainable?
Start slowly for one, focus on the basics and keep it simple.
Get the important stuff in check:
- Fruit and Veg
If this is new territory for you, then you have to accept it’ll take time. You didn’t get where you are right now overnight, therefore change won’t happen right away but at least you won’t feel like a failure after “falling off the wagon” for the umpteenth time.
When you begin to understand and implement the fundamentals of a good diet, if you have patience, and you make small changes consistently, that’s when the magic happens.
Starting slow, keeping track of what and how much you are eating means you can then start to adjust things based on how you “feel” and what you “like”. Your body is a clever thing, it’ll tell you when something isn’t right or when you are doing well so learn to listen to it.
Many of us like a beer or a meal we know we shouldn’t, that’s a fact of life and allowing for that when creating a plan is important, drastically improving your chances of being consistent. The odd alcoholic drink or meal to look forward to, incorporated as part a flexible dieting approach, will help to avoid everything feeling unnecessarily restrictive.
Yes, it’ll take longer to see drastic fat loss results (versus removing anything enjoyable and aiming for an unsustainable calorie deficit) but it’ll be far simpler to stay the course, and much more likely to result in long term change.
Do the important stuff, have some of what you like and enjoy a lifetime of feeling great rather than weeks or months of misery only to quit and feel like you have failed, to then restart they cycle AGAIN for your next event or holiday.In times like these it’s more important than ever to keep on top of both your physical and mental health, so why not make it as easy as possible and set yourself up for success. This may take some time (patience remember!) and it can realistically take months to make drastic changes, but adopting a more long term and realistic approach can provide you with lasting results.
Providing yourself with the knowledge and tools to better maintain eating habits and ultimately a new approach of lifelong good eating is certainly a worthy goal and one that deserves spending some time and energy on achieving.
In part two (coming Monday) we’ll look more closely at the steps needed to structure your plan and create the environment that will see your body and health change for the better for life.