From Coach Maddie:
5 Tips to Stay on Track with Your Nutrition
We all can relate to, what I like to call, the “food rollercoaster.” It usually looks something like this…
Friday: “I am going to start eating better”… “I will start Monday, then I can eat all the things this weekend.”
Monday: “egg whites for breakfast, check, salad for lunch, check, chicken and veggies for dinner, check” aka winning status
Thursday:” I have done SO good all week, I think I deserve a donut…or maybe three” 10 minutes ….“Well I have now failed, I shall eat whatever I want and start again on Monday.”
Getting caught in this endless cycle can make it nearly impossible see results and can lead us feeling defeated. Here are 5 tips and tricks to help you stay on track and to get off that rollercoaster.
- Make a Goal and Share it
When I was growing up if I was caught doing something bad my mom would ask “why did you do that?” my usual response was “I don’t know” then my mom would say “if you don’t know why you are doing something you shouldn’t be doing it!” True point mom. If we say we are going to eat healthier but don’t know why it is very likely we will throw in the towel a few hours in.
Think about why you want to make better food choices. Short term goals or what I like to call surface goals, (lose 20 pounds, drop three dress sizes) are good but we need to take it a step further. Why do you want to lose 20 pounds? So you can play with your kids on the playground, join a kickball league with your friends, get off certain medications? These deeper goals are likely to keep us more motivated.
After you have set your goals, write it down. Did you know you are almost 50% more likely to complete your goals if you write them down regularly? Then share it with someone, it’s always good to have an trusted friend to encourage you.
2. Swap it Out
Making the decision to improve your nutrition and setting goals is a great start but let’s be honest those cravings can be no joke. Pizza and ice cream and beer oh my! Are there some foods that seem like they would be impossible to give up? If so is there a way you could prepare it to better line up with your goal?
Use the swap it out method. Instead of linguini use spaghetti squash, fried chicken wings try baking your own, swap pizza with a cauliflower pizza crust…I hear they are even starting to sell these as select grocery stores. While these may not taste exactly like the “real” thing it is a good practice to start changing your habits and taking control over what you are eating while still enjoying your food.
3. Add Flavor
Eating healthy never has to be boring. Plain chicken breasts and roasted broccoli every meal gets old fast. When you are cooking make sure you are using a variety of spices, fresh herbs, make your own marinades and sauces. I personally think cilantro makes everything taste better, though I hear there are people out there that think it tastes like soap… so if that’s you find your own favorite herbs and spices.
Testing out new flavors and foods can keep you out of a rut and keep you looking forward to your next meal.
“Failure to plan is planning to fail.” We all have experienced getting home late from work, starving and then left nothing prepared…never good. Pick a day or two out of the week to plan what you will be eating. Prepare those foods as much as possible. Maybe you find prepping all your meals on Sunday for the week is best, or maybe you prefer to cook dinner every day. Chop any vegetables ahead of time, thaw out your meat, use your crockpot. These are all things that will set you up for success.
When eating out think ahead. Think of places you can go where you can make better choices for yourself. You can look at the menu beforehand and chose what will be best for you. If you are going out with others make restaurant suggestions that will help you be successful and still allow you to have a great time with your friends and family.
5. Change your Mindset (Throw Away All or Nothing Thinking)
We are all human and we all encounter different things everyday a birthday, a celebration, stress, busyness, the list goes on. When we eat something that we consider “bad” let’s not give into the mindset of “I have failed therefore I must give up.” Food is food, there are foods that make us feel our best and foods that don’t. Stay focused on that. If you chose a food that left you not feeling great that’s okay, next time chose a food that will nourish you and give you energy.
One tip I like to give people is to look at the food you have eaten over one week rather than meal by meal or day by day. Did you make choices that will lead you to your goal at least 80% of the time that week? That’s awesome! If you fell short think about what you could have done differently and make those changes to tackle the next week.