As a nutrition and fitness coach, I have the opportunity to work with people as they work to transform their wellness habits. When it comes to nutrition, there are common struggles I’ve noticed amongst my clients.

Focusing on Restriction Instead of Moderation

In the case of someone trying to lose weight, there is a tendency to focus on restriction. This is completely understandable and seems logical to do but it is not the most sustainable way to reach your nutrition goals. This shows up in a few ways. People severely restrict the amount of food they are eating which leads to hunger pangs and binge eating. People try to eliminate things completely from their diet thinking that one food or one particular food group makes them gain weight. 

Resolution: To overcome this challenge, it is important to have an understanding of the food you eat and focus on portion control. In actuality, you can eat anything you want to reach your nutrition goals. But, there are foods that will make it easier or harder as you work to change your body.  

Trying to Outwork/Exercise a Bad Diet 

With the presence of tools to count calories during exercise, there comes the idea that because I burned a certain amount of calories, I can eat a particular meal. The problem here is that the calorie counting devices are not completely accurate. {Insert statistic} The technology in this space is improving but these devices are best used as a way to show that you completed a workout. I’d caution against a 100 percent reliance on data.

People think they have a complete understanding of what they are eating each day and often forget to count everything they consume. (everything counts and overeating what you burn is a lot easier than you think!)

Resolution: To overcome this challenge, think of a way to keep track of what you are eating to get a complete understanding of what you eat in a day. I’d suggest keeping some kind of food journal. Photojournaling is the easiest to implement. Additionally, if the majority of your foods are unprocessed/minimally processed and have low caloric density, the need to stringently track them becomes less necessary.

Trying to Eat Well 100 Percent of the Time

Yes, the more you comply (i.e. eat wholesome and minimally processed foods), the faster you will see results. But, in actuality, life happens and things come up that make it hard to eat the healthiest meal. You have things like happy hours, dinners, celebrations that often involve food and drinks given our social nature. These are times when you may not have complete control of the things you consume. Living with these moments is completely ok. Cutting yourself off completely from these things can lead to binge eating and drinking. This behavior could also contribute negatively to your mental health. Overthinking about each thing you consume and whether you should eat it can be a mentally draining process.

Resolution: If you have something that is not best for your nutrition goals, just make sure the next meal is better! That’s it. Don’t think all hope is lost for that day/week/month. Remember that you are on a journey to transform your body. The current state of your body did not happen overnight and it’s going to take some time to get to sustainable long-term change. Consistency ALWAYS trumps perfection! Over time all the small decisions you make (good/bad) will lead you closer or further away from your goals.The majority of the time you want to consume minimally processed foods that provide your body with the nourishment it needs. Ideally you want to aim for a 90/10 or 80/20 split instead of trying to eat perfectly 100 percent of the time.

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