Nutrition Madness: 4 Food Strategies To Jumpstart Your fat Loss
Organic or grassfed?
Low fat or full fat?
Will red meat kill me?
To kale or not to kale?
Needless to say, things can get pretty confusing when searching for information on diet and nutrition. Creating a plan when it comes to food can seem more like waging a war between good and evil, but most of the time every one is pretty confused on just who is batman and who is the joker. One day eggs are great, the next day they are the next silent killer. One morning mangoes are horrible, by nightfall a nutritional study pops up that shows they have several health benefits.
Before you go all AWOL on me, take a seat, maybe dump a cup of cold water on your head to cool off and beat on your chest wildly with both fists. Let me attempt to simplify this whole process for you. Hopefully you didn't really just dump a cup of water on your head and go all Donkey Kong on me. That could look pretty strange in public.
I'm all about keeping it simple when it comes to these kinds of things. Lets break it down into two components: quantity vs quality. When it comes to changing a number on the scale you need to focus on your quantity or take in more/less calories. When you are concerned with changing your body fat percentage you should focus on the quality of the food that you take in and increasing your total body strength. If you are looking to alter both the number on a scale and your body fat percentage then focus on changing both quality and quantity.
This is obviously a very simplistic way of looking at things, but its made things a little more tolerable already hasn't it?
Now that we have got that out of the way, you may be wondering one thing: how should you go about adjusting your quality and quantity?
The answer to that question is: it varies. We are all unique individuals with different strengths and weaknesses. With these differences in our strengths and weakness also come our likes and dislikes of certain foods. Some struggle with chocolate cravings, while others live and die by the vegetable. Following are 4 strategies that could help you get moving in the right direction and take control of your nutrition whether you are into Paleo or thrive with cheat days.
1. Play The Numbers Game
If you are confused as to where to start I recommend starting out with this strategy. It is pretty simple and to the point. I always say that if we can keep things simple then why in the name of SojiFit would we make things complicated (that sounded cooler in my head). In the first sequence (focus on building one of these habits each week), Start with 0.75 grams of protein per pound of body weight, get the calories to where you are losing at least 1 lb a week, and focus on consistent journaling of your food. Online food apps like myfitnesspal work well here because all of the numbers are laid out for you. After reviewing your journal at the end of the week, find out what did work or what didn't work (did you lose, gain, or remain the same) and adjust. Once again, remember your scale weight is effected by the quantity of food you eat (calories), while your bodyfat percentage is effected by the quality of food you eat and how strong you are (that's why lifting weight is hyooooooooge). If you can get the protein and calories right you will begin to see results. If planning and preparing are an issue, you may need to try that strategy first and return here when you are more comfortable.
Once you get the habits in the first sequence down, begin to now focus on the quality of the carbs that you are consuming and the amount of good fats that you are taking in. This strategy is the fastest when it comes to getting results.
2. Plan And Prep
When it comes to nutrition most people fail before they even get started by not setting themselves up for success. We all have a limited reserve of willpower. Especially at the end of the day after dealing with crying babies (or bosses), traffic, flying squirrels or whatever else life has to throw at you. You are much more likely at these points of high stress to open up that pack of Oreo cookies and do a line.
If you plan and prepare for these moments ahead of time then you are much more likely to stick to your guns. Knowing what you are having is not half the battle, it is the battle. With this strategy you will focus on building the habits of planning , shopping, cooking, and food Journaling. You want to choose a day where you will have the time to get all of this done in bulk, so that your week is smooth sailing (i.e Sunday, Monday, or whatever day works best for you). Take a week to focus on building each habit. After you have mastered them, begin ti focus on hitting your daily protein number, tracking the total numbers of calories you have consumed, making sure you get good fats into your diet, and enhancing the quality of your carbs.
3. Wage The One Meal Battle
For many going cold turkey and switching everything all up at once can be pretty difficult. With this eating strategy you change one meal at a time. You can start with the meal that gives you the most problems: breakfast, lunch, or dinner. At first focusing on changing one meal a day can seem insignificant, but I want you to look at it in a different light. Think about how changing a breakfast on a Monday really means changing 52 breakfasts per year. Building this small changing and sticking to it leads to long term change. Long term changes lead to results! If you change breakfast on only one day, focus on one upping that change in the following week. At each of the meals that you change focus on getting protein, good fats, and the quality of your carbohydrates.
4. Mindful Eating
As opposed to focusing on macronutrient numbers, this strategy focuses mainly on food quality and your relationship with food. The focus is shifted from weight to health, but you still must track what you eat. Not doing so is like paying your bills without knowing whats in your bank account. It just doesn't work if you are looking for positive results with your health.
There are two sequences of habits to focus on with employing this strategy. In sequence one, You will work on keeping a gratitude journal, a food journal, eating slowly, and stopping eating when you are 80% full. In the gratitude journal you will focus on writing one thing everyday that you appreciate about your body. Recognizing what you currently love about yourself puts you a in positive frame of mind.
In terms of the actual eating, many times it takes our mind and our stomachs some time to get on the same level. So if you are eating like this:
you are probably missing the signals from your body that its satisfied and you are over eating. Slow your roll! Don't confuse being "stuffed" with being full. Most people who are "naturally skinny" or lean eat healthy, natural portions that don't have them feeling like they will burst at the seams. If this is an issue for you then you will have to practice stopping at 80%, even if it means going against your urge to wipe your plate clean.
In the second part of the sequence (after you have gotten the habits above ingrained), Focus on hitting your protein number (0.75 x goal body weight), make sure you are getting good fats at most meals, and focus on improving the quality of your carbohydrates.
The War On Food....
doesn't need to be a crazy uphill battle if you find a strategy that works for you. The strategy that works best can also change based on where you are in your journey. Figuring this out sooner than later is crucial. These are all points that I discuss with my online coaching clients. Many times we don't understand our own strengths and weaknesses and that is where having a coach can provide some clarity.
What diet you follow depends upon your own personal preferences and goals, but the above strategies help to put things into a frame work that can help you to stay on track regardless of how you eat.
What are some strategies that you use that help you stay on track? Did any particular strategy above resonate with you?
Drop a comment below and talk with me!
If you are having personal struggles with this issue and need assistance, feel free to hit the contact button on the home page and shoot me a message. I am always willing to help!
If you know of anyone struggling with establishing proper nutrition send them this article. Heck share it on all of the social network interweb media space (or whatever the cool kids are calling it nowadays!)