As a professional in the fitness industry and someone who has worked with hundreds of women to transform their health, I have observed that the greatest frustration and landmine plaguing the journey’s of most people is the subject of nutrition:
What to eat?
How much to eat?
Willpower/‘motivation’/controlling the cravings!
And while we are constantly bombarded with diet industry information about the latest trend/fad/miracle, that is (at best) contradictory and (at worst) downright dangerous, it’s no wonder that so many are left confused, skeptical and running a hamster wheel, when all they want is to BE HEALTHY, GOD DAMN IT!!
I am in the middle of further developing my skills, knowledge and expertise by pursuing a Master Nutrition Coach certification, so I thought that I would share with you my biggest learnings so far, which have really just reinforced my findings from my own personal weight loss journey and walking the path with other women going through theirs!
Read on to get some clarity around the biggest nutrition head-scratchers…
1. WHAT TO EAT?
Ok, the diet industry tells us that we need to cut out a specific food group or eat more protein or eat aaaaaaall the fat or never enjoy treats ever again in order to reach our goals, when the reality is much more common sense than we realize:
Eat a balance of macronutrients, eat lots of vegetables, drink lots of water and eat the cake when you REALLY want to eat the damn cake!
Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat all serve a particular purpose in our bodies so in order to function optimally, we need all that these foods have to offer. The struggle often lies in how much of each food group to eat… hold fire… we're getting there.
You’ve seen the #eattherainbow hashtag, right? Yes, it’s cute, but it’s also solid advise! Eating a large variety of vegetables gives us DENSE nutrition i.e. lots of nutrients without a lot of calories = win!
We should be drinking half our body weight in oz of water per day (e.g. if you weigh 200lbs, you need AT LEAST 100oz of water daily, more if you exercise and/or live a very active life). “But, Sabrina, when I drink lots of water, I need to pee constantly!” Suck it up, buttercup! Embrace the urination exasperation and just do it!!! It’s important for your physical and mental health.
When you focus on eating balanced macronutrients, lots of veggies and drinking enough water, you’ll find yourself ‘crowding out’ the bad and replacing it with all the good – there is just no space in your belly for more when you are eating the right things! That being said, if you want some chocolate or a cupcake or maybe a chocolate cupcake ;o) you can certainly enjoy that 2-3x per week and not derail your efforts! You just have to, again, watch that the one brownie doesn’t turn into the entire tray which then turns into a whole weekend of gluttony! Know yourself; knowing your triggers and planning/adjusting for them sets you up for success rather than frustration and defeat.
2. HOW MUCH TO EAT?
The struggle is real, I know! Portion Control is not sexy, nor is it obvious.
Restaurants/food labels cannot be trusted to be transparent on what the correct portion size is – have you ever polished off a bag of crisps and then looked at the nutrition panel to see that you just consumed enough for 4 people in the space of 10 minutes and you were actually just contemplating what you could eat next?! Since when is 10 crisps enough for anyone?! #majoreyeroll
So, I know that guidance around portion control is important – even if you eat “healthy food”, if you are eating too much/not enough, the body will react accordingly by holding onto your food and storing it as fat. That does not work for our weight loss goals, now does it?!
What’s more, appropriate portion size is different for everyone depending on goals/timeline/current weight/genes! What works for homegirl next door will not necessarily work for you so seeking guidance around what YOU need is important if you are serious about achieving your goal and maintaining it for the long term.
Guys… tough love Sabrina is going to come out for just a second here, ok? You ready?
Willpower is a muscle that needs to be trained in order to get stronger, so train that shit! Motivation is an emotion so pull up your big girl panties and do it whether or not you ‘feel’ like it! Cravings are a response to our sugar addictions – walk through the fire until they subside and focus on crowding out the bad with the good! Remember, committing to your health does not mean that you can never again enjoy your fave things, it just means that you are no longer willing to let them control you.
Ok… I’m back!!
But seriously, it’s not all that complicated, is it? I doubt that anything I’ve said here is new or groundbreaking information – we all know what to do, really, it’s just the actual doing that get’s us, am I right?
That’s where having guidance, support and someone to hold you to your shit comes in!
I’m always here for you – when you are ready to throw that hamster wheel out for good, you know where to find me.