Stage 1 – Start Keeping a Nutrition Log
Take inventory of what exactly you have been eating and just how much. Make this a fact-finding mission. Record everything. Everything you eat and drink. It’s important that you see the eating patterns and rituals you have. This is an eye-opening experience. Understanding your dietary routine is an important step to understanding how to create new lasting changes.
Use this log to also track how much water you’re drinking.
Stage 2 – Exchange
This is something you will do a little at a time. Don’t attempt to make massive changes at once. Have a few simple food exchange goals for each week.
Each week you can use your previous week’s nutrition logs to take a look at what you can tighten up on. What one or two foods can you swap out for a cleaner and more balanced nutritional option?
For example, an excellent way to limit sugar & starch is to replace them with foods high in fiber. Breakfast is a great place to start. Cereals, donuts, pancakes, and hash browns can be replaced with rolled oats, brown rice, or other high-fiber grains. These grains can then be naturally sweetened by combining them with fruit, Greek yogurt, and/or almond milk.
Training hard requires a good amount of protein, but it doesn’t need to be high in fat. Look at what exchanges can be made to swap out high-fat meats with lean cuts of meat and/or protein-rich plants.
Dressings add a lot of calories that don’t usually provide much nutritional benefit. By exchanging high-fat dressings with olive oil, coconut oil, and flaxseed oil you are getting more of the healthy fats needed to balance your diet.
Another way to enjoy your food without excessive calories is to replace butter and mayonnaise with your own veggie spread. Beans, hummus, and avocado can be both healthy and tasty substitutions. You’re not getting off calorie-free, but these calories are packaged with great nutrients.
Stage 3 – Monitor Energy & Attitude
An excellent nutrition program will provide you with the energy to do the things you want to do. When you are getting all your nutritional needs met you will also find that you have a positive outlook & attitude towards your meals.
We have a responsibility to ourselves to strive for the best health we can have in all areas of our life. A goal to lose weight or get shredded should not result in a nutritional approach that causes us to become sick or result in emotional mood swings. It’s equally important to take care of our minds as we are looking to change our bodies.
You will know your nutritional plan is successful when it provides you the energy and focus to take charge of life and feel good about the choices you make.
The right balance of healthy nutrients gives you energy and a feeling of physical health.
As you start down this path to improve your nutrition you will undoubtedly incorporate many nutritional strategies. Some of those could just be things you do for a limited amount of time to produce a specially intended result. Fundamentally you should always come back to my three-stage nutritional strategy in order to make sure the plan you’re following is structured for long-term success. Fasts, fat blasts, shreds, and peaking plans have their place, but a healthy lifestyle change takes time.