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Habit-Based Nutrition

Finally, we need to talk about nutrition. It might be the most important topic of them all. You can do all the training in the world, but if you have poor nutrition, you'll probably be disappointed with your results.

Nutrition can be a touchy subject. There are a lot of people with strong opinions and convictions. Check the nutrition section of your favorite bookseller and you'll find a book on just about every diet imaginable, and there is probably somebody who got miracle results from it. It can be frustrating to wade through all the conflicting information.

I'm not a Registered Dietitian or a Nutritionist, so I can only give suggestions. However, I recently became certified as a Precision Nutrition Level 1 Coach.

Precision Nutrition coaching is a habit-based approach to nutrition. We will start with creating good habits, and only after we have a solid base of healthy habits, will we look at specific levels of calories and macronutrients. Most people never need to go beyond the first level of habit building.

In the Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition by Precision Nutrition, many people run into one or more of the following limiting factors in each of these areas that sabotages their health, weight, and body composition goals.

  • Food Choices (I.e. Too many processed foods)

  • Eating Behaviors (I.e. Trouble recognizing hunger and fullness cues)

  • Exercise and activity (I.e. Not getting enough physical activity)

  • Recovery (I.e. Not getting enough sleep)

  • Food and cooking skills (I.e. Not having basic food preparation skills)

  • Life Skills (I.e. Making impulsive choices)

  • Mindset/Psychology (I.e. All-or-nothing thinking)

  • Environment (I.e. Unsupportive social networks)

If we build strong, healthy habits in the majority of these areas, we should see the success that we are after. Then we can start looking at body types, calorie counts, and macronutrient percentages if you want to obtain more specific goals, usually involving competition and sport. However, as someone moves into level 2 and 3 in the client coaching levels, the nutrition coaching will become more restrictive, and thus less sustainable for the long term. Level 1 foundational habits are the sturdy base that clients can return to on a regular basis.

Look, I understand that everyone has their own set of beliefs and values that will affect the way they approach nutrition, but I think there are a few things we can agree on, whether we are vegetarian, vegan, or meat eaters. In the book, Death by Food Pyramid, author Denise Minger identifies five things that healthy diets omit.

  1. Refined flour

  2. Refined sugar

  3. Industrially processed vegetable oils

  4. Chemical preservatives and lab-produced anythings

  5. Any creation in a crinkly tinfoil package, microwaveable tray, or fast food take out bag[1]

If you follow these five guidelines mentioned above, then you’ll be on the right track to getting lean and healthy. Here are a few other helpful tips that I picked up while reading the book, Fat Loss Happens on Mondays by Josh Hillis and Dan John.

  • Quantity equals your scale weight.

  • Quality equals your leanness and tightness

  • Ratios equal feeling full[2]

If you want to reduce your weight on the scale, then you better start looking at the amount of food you are consuming. Improving the quality of the calories you are eating will be the best strategy for reducing body fat. Identifying the amount of each macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein, fat) that is ingested will help reveal which type of macronutrient ratio for meals will leave you feeling full and satisfied. The only way to know the quantity, quality, and macronutrient ratios, is to keep a food journal. The food journal is going to be the most important tool for fat loss. Keep a food journal! I will leave you with two more things from the book. The two most important workouts for fat loss each week are:

  1. Journal Review, Meal Planning, and Shopping for Food

  2. Preparing, Cooking, and Portioning Food[3]

It’s always best to keep it as simple as possible. Here are a few more things to look at for building good nutritional habits.

  • Eat Mindfully and Slowly (recognize hunger and fullness cues)

  • Identify Emotional Eating (HALT - Hungry, Angry and Anxious, Lonely, Tired)

  • Create a Supportive Environment (supportive people and removing junk food from the home)

Make good nutrition a priority along with your workouts and mental training, and you will become unstoppable.

I offer Precision Nutrition Coaching as a stand alone service, or as part of the higher levels of superhero training. If you're ready for an integrated approach to training, mind, body, and spirit, apply now for Uncanny Online Superhero Training. Don't delay, the world needs you!

[1] Minger, D. (2013). Death by Food Pyramid. Malibu, CA. Primal Blueprint Publishing

[2] Hillis, J., John, D. (2015). Fat Loss Happens on Mondays. Aptos, CA. On Target Publications

[3] Hillis, J., John, D. (2015). Fat Loss Happens on Mondays. Aptos, CA. On Target Publications

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