By: Tatiana Britton
As a health and fitness coach of 5+ years, one of the most common concerns I hear is “My diet needs a lot of help, but I have no idea where to start”. Perhaps you have come to me regarding this or you are struggling with this exact problem right now. If so, you can testify to the feeling of being overwhelmed, confused and completely lost when it comes to fixing the messy diet. It does not have to be this way. Improving your eating habits can be extremely simple (I did not say EASY… I will not promise that) when broken down into achievable steps. So where DO you start?
My advice for anyone wanting to clean up their diet is to START SMALL. If you try to log your food, increase your water intake, eat all the fruits and vegetables, avoid sugar and processed foods, never eat out at a restaurant again when you’ve been doing the exact opposite, you will fail. It sounds harsh, but when you bite off more than you can chew (no pun intended) you will quickly find yourself back to where you started. Check out the three simple steps below to get started on getting your diet on track.
Log your food
There are many food tracking apps available for mobile devices, that are free and easy to use. The most popular one out there, and the one I recommend for my clients to use, is MyFitnessPal. If you prefer to write out everything you eat, then I recommend you go get yourself a journal that you will be excited to use so that it doesn’t end up lost or in the bottom of your bag with crumbs all over it. Start by logging ALL foods and beverages that you take in. Using a food scale will help you get as accurate as possible with your entries. If you do not have a food scale, then you can start by simply measuring the foods you are eating and inputting them into your app. This is an important step, because when clients come to me desiring help, but I have no clue where they are at now, it is very difficult to help them.
Focus on your water intake
If you are already an H20 lover, then this may be something you have already tackled. Chances are, if you are needing help within your diet, you may have some weaknesses with sugary drinks or heavily caffeinated beverages. If you consume a lot of sugary and caffeinated beverages, rather than trying to ditch them all cold turkey, focus on the easier controllable factor: Consume ½ your bodyweight in ounces of water, every day. A gallon is a great goal, but for some it is not achievable. Start your day with water, take a water bottle with you everywhere you go, and if you are still consuming those other non-water beverages make it a habit to drink at least 12 ounces of water before and after. When you have the water intake down, you can begin thinking about limiting and ditching the other refreshment choices all together.
Identify foods to avoid
Once you have successfully tracked your food for at least 2 weeks, you can start to identify some needed behavior change. This is where you look at that soda or donut you consume everyday and decide that needs modified. Remember, start small. Pick one food you know needs eliminated from your diet and start there. If it is that daily soda, start by having one soda every other day. When that becomes a habit, drop it down to one a week. When that is instilled, get rid of it all together or let yourself have one once in a blue moon.
These changes may feel miniscule or like they do not matter, but they will and DO add up to BIG results. These results will also stick around for life. When you create habit change it turns into behavior and lifestyle change(s). It no longer will feel like a chore or a “diet” it will just become your normal eating style! If you need additional help with your nutrition, us coaches at Pulse Fitness are here to help you.