When it comes to improving your nutrition, it is easy to fall into information overload. Everyday companies try to persuade you to buy their products, promising a new you with little to no scientific backing. Today, we are going to focus on 5 areas that work. Let's get into 5 ways to drastically improve your diet.
1. Log Everything
Tracking what you eat in a food log can be a big eye opener. Often people say they eat well but after reviewing their food log they can see issues. We often like to highlight our successes and downplay or forget about the bad. Looking at your log and reflecting on what you ate can be a sobering experience. Keeping a log can hold you accountable, even if you are the only one who is going to see it. You are much less likely to eat that donut if you know you are going to have to write it down after.
The more specific you are with your log the better.
Logging portion size, calories, and time of day eaten should be incorporated.
This can tell you if you aren’t eating enough during the day and having a giant meal at night.
Or maybe you’re snacking all day.
Getting more specific and making a note of what you were doing and how you felt around the time of your meal can be telling.
There is a lot of psychology behind eating.
Maybe you ate while watching TV not out of hunger but out of boredom. You might find you tend to eat more/worse in the presence of company versus alone.
Keeping a food log everyday can be cumbersome but checking it every so often for 3 consecutive days can be a great way to check up on yourself.
There are many programs and apps like My Fitness Pal that can give feedback but a notebook or excel sheet works great also.
2. Eat more Vegetables
Many of our foods in America are calorie dense, yet lacking nutrients.
This leads us to eating a lot of “empty calories”. These are calories that provide us with energy but not many vitamins and minerals to support all the important functions in our body.
Therefore, we tend to be a country that is overfed, but malnourished. Vegetables are extremely high in vitamins and minerals, and generally low in calories. Some vegetables improve brain function, other eye sight and some have compounds that even destroy cancer cells.
Food was the first medicine.
Eat a wide array of vegetables and you’ll find you have more energy, are sick less often, and feeling great.
Aim to eat a vegetable with every meal. In my opinion there is no such thing as a bad vegetable. If it’s not poisonous, eat it!
3. Drink more water
Eating more vegetables and drinking more water may seem like no-brainers, but most of us do not get enough.
Being properly hydrated is so important for almost every process in our body. Our bodies are approximately 65% water.
Dehydration will cause:
- Decreased cognitive function
- Decreased performance and recovery after a workout
- Poor recovery
A decrease in just 1% of your body-weight in water will cause a decreased athletic performance leading to a decrease in your fitness results.
That means if you are a male who typically ways 200lbs when properly hydrated and you show up to the workout or athletic event at 198lbs you will not perform as well.
The typical recommendation for water intake has been 64ounces or 8-8 ounce glasses of water per day but it depends on body weight and activity level.
The body’s thirst mechanism is not a good measure of when to drink. The sensation of feeling thirsty does not kick in until you are already somewhat dehydrated.
So, when you feel thirsty you are already late.
4. Set yourself up for success
“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail”
It’s very important to put yourself in situations that are going to help you achieve your goals.
In terms of nutrition this might mean:
- Eating something good BEFORE you go out with friends
- Packing healthy meals for the week in Tupperware on a free day.
- Making healthy lunches for work instead of eating out.
- Making a healthy grocery list before going to the market, and then sticking to it.
- Eating before you go grocery shopping so that you are not making bad choices because you are hungry in the store and not thinking clearly.
5. Get a coach
Trying to improve your diet on your own can be tough.
Having a coach can hold you that much more accountable.
A coach could be as simple as someone like a friend or spouse willing to look at your food logs.
Just knowing that someone besides yourself is going to be “grading” your food log can make you eat healthier to get a good grade. That can be a great route for someone who has a problem with junk food or bingeing because even the most uninformed person can point out those bad things.
But to really improve your diet, seek out an experienced nutrition coach with a formal education in the field. It is the coaches job to dig to the root of your problems and be there for you through the entire process.
There are 168 hours in a week. Your performance coach or trainer may see you for 6 of those.
What you do with the other 162 hours when you’re not in the gym is where the money is made!
Nutrition coaches must delve into what you do outside the gym in all that time. Many people find that they have been exercising hard and consistently but are not losing weight. In those cases, almost always, their diet is the weak link.
Let a nutrition coach take you to the next level.
Click below for more information on our November Nutrition Program!