Every year we all take time to outline our goals for the new year and set resolutions. For many people, these resolutions are around dieting or exercise or “getting healthy”. Anyway you slice it, many of these goals will revolve around your nutrition.
We have been around the block and have seen a lot of goals and resolutions set over the years and we have learned a few things that can help you with your new year AND your new decade.
Here are 4 nutrition mistakes to avoid in 2020.
1. Play the long game, even if it is more difficult.
That which comes easy, doesn’t last. That which lasts, doesn’t come easy.
Between our senior leadership and our coaches, we have coached about 10,000 people over our careers and we have seen on common theme among all of our clients who have had long term success. Don’t take shortcuts, work on building sustainable, lasting change right out the gate.
Many people will jump into a nutrition plan and focus on “hacks” or “special benefits” of certain diets, without really understanding the fundamentals of why a diet works.
For example, if you choose to use a ketogenic diet and see some initial weight loss, you might think that it is the carbohydrates you removed that were really at play, when in reality you have lowered your calories and started eating more vegetables.
The same thing might be said for a low-fat diet. You might lose 10 pounds in the first two months on a low-fat diet and assume that the fat itself with the major thing driving your results, when in reality you are consuming fewer calories and eating substantially less.
You can use a variety of diets to achieve your goals but understanding exactly how they work and why they work is much more important than which specific diet you choose.
2. Consistency is more important than perfection
Let’s objectively look at how the body handles food and how consistency is far more important than perfection. Let’s also use the holidays as a prime example of this.
Many people will get overly anxious about the holidays, parties, or big events where they might eat a lot more than normal and have it be a source of stress. The idea that you need to be perfect with their dieting to see results is a common theme around this time of year.
Let’s play a scenario out here. Imagine you have Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day Dinner, and New Years eve. Now imagine you set no real limits and you overeat for each meal.
What is the real math there? Well, if you are pretty aggressive, maybe you get an extra 2,000 calories per day on those days, which means you get ~4,500 to 5,000 calories total on those days. What happens? Well, first your body adjusts a bit and some of those 2,000 extra calories get burned off. So maybe you store 1,000-1,500 for each day. That means about 4,000 calories are stored at those meals. That is one pound…. one. Not 10, not 15 pounds. One. One pound can get handled in one week of being back on track.
Ok, crisis averted.
Now assume you spend the rest of the year being with 15-20% of your daily calorie deficit target of 500 calories per day. Over the course of a year. The major events over the month long holiday season maybe set you back 7 days out of 365 in the year, or about 2%.
3. Not every battle needs to be fought.
Pick your battles wisely
This is one of the biggest pieces of advice we give our clients is that we are playing the long game here and that for sustainable, meaningful results, you should pick your battles wisely. You only have so much cognitive energy to devote to your eating habits that you should prioritize the big chunks, and sometimes the little things have to go.
Let’s use an example from one of our previous clients to highlight this.
One of our clients travels a lot for work and ends up eating food at airports quite often. They try and pack snacks to take with them as often as possible, but sometimes it just isn’t feasible and they end up having to grab snacks or full meals at the airport. They indicated they would often spend 20-30 minutes looking at protein bars, snack packs, or restaurant menus to see what would fit their coaching recommendations and it was making travel a headache.
We worked through this problem by giving them a priority of things to focus on. We told them to look at food options with the following hierarchy:
1) What are the total calories and do those calories fit into your daily plan?
2) Is this a food I would enjoy eating and would satisfy me?
3) Is it reasonably priced? You don’t need to pay $5 for a 100 calories protein bar at an airport if you can get a decent snack for the same price and will leave you more full.
4) Are the macros reasonable enough?
That was it. Just find something that has a reasonable calorie count, would satisfy you, and seems like it has reasonable macros. No need to pick a big battle over the airport food. Just get to a working solution and move forward.
4. Find a support network.
Your nutrition habits are heavily influenced by your environment, including your social circle and network. Finding people who have the same goals and values around their nutrition can be invaluable for your progress.
Another way to improve your support network is by hiring a coach (shameless plug here, as we are world class at what we do). A coach can not only provide you with a plan that fits your goals, change the plan based on your life, solve problems for you, but will also be the biggest support tool you can have and will also be your biggest champion. Having someone in your corner can make your nutrition journey in 2020 substantially more successful.
Macros Inc offers a private client support group as well as the support of your coach & all Macros Inc staff. You can learn more about Macros Inc coaching here.