Posted on: Wednesday, December 29th, 2021
Happy new year, friends. I know it’s just that time of year, but is it me, or has the Diet Industry REALLY turned up the heat on the new-year-grind-for-your-crash-diet crap this time around? They’re out there workin’ hard to sell us the next detox, superfood and 6-weeks to a 6-pack (riiight) program.
So, in honour of the turn of the calendar, let’s take the opportunity to tell diet resolution culture to take. a. seat. and walk through a few fundamentals that can be a reliable base for your healthy, *sustainable* and **NOT MISERABLE** nutrition plan for 2022 (and, hopefully, forever). Because health and fitness aren’t nearly as complicated as the Industry wants you to believe.
Diet bullshit usually comes in absolutes: “you must do/eat X” or “never do/eat Y”. What’s worse, those absolutes keep changing and conflicting to keep us confused and buying into their game. Diet programs, ‘superfood’ companies, they make money because they know you’ll be back. If those things worked, they’d run themselves out of customers pretty quickly.
Your takeaway here is that hard across-the-board rules, the “you musts” or “you can’ts”, the promised (usually way too short) result timelines, the products you need, are all MEGA red flags that what their offering is to take your money, and little else.
Now that we know what to avoid, here are three simple nutrition fundamentals that you can – pretty much – hold on to across the board.
The goal of your meals that make up the majority of your eating should be variety. If you look down at your plate and can identify a protein source, a carb source and a fat source, and also see some colour from that produce, keep doing just that. Over and over and over.
And if you got that down and you’re ready to level up? Focus on building in a variety of foods within those groups every week. I like to do that by cycling my prepped protein sources throughout the week and trying to get at least 4 different colours in my produce choices every day. Working in that variety will make sure you’re getting a good mix of macro and micronutrients and that, on the whole, your meals balance out without having to worry too much about each meal’s individual makeup.
Remember when the diet industry insisted we needed to stop snacking to reach our nutrition goals? Well, we’re putting that bad advice to bed and – better – suggesting that it can actually HELP you reach those goals.
How many times have you decided to not eat between lunch and dinner and then ended up eating way more, or way differently, at dinner than you planned? Regular snacking between meals helps us avoid big cravings and the blood sugar dips that lead to panicked food choices, and can keep us feeling satiated and safe from thoughts of restriction that work against our efforts, too.
That said, there are certainly some guidelines you can put around your snack choices – a chocolate bar, for example, may not do too much to help with that blood sugar crash – so if you’re interested in learning more, send us a quick hello and we’ll hook you up with a rad freebie about it!
Okay, okay: this one isn’t about food, sure, but it is critical to your nutrition plan just the same. We can be totally nailing the food we’re taking in, but if your body isn’t in a place to use it and play along, it’s a lot of effort for not a lot of good.
Here’s why it’s important: when we’re stressed, hormones like adrenaline, cortisol and ghrelin (the hunger hormone) spike big time and that hormone high affects the way our bodies manage the food we take in. For example, increased ghrelin means a higher than usual appetite, and increased cortisol inhibits our muscle protein synthesis (which means our lean muscle tissue breaks down at a quicker rate than we can build it). Yikes.
Similarly, when the quality and/or quantity of sleep we’re getting doesn’t match what we need, it also affects our hunger-regulation hormones. Sleep also offers the body and brain time to restore and recover and adapt to the changes we’re trying to make with food and movement. Basically, without these things managed, a lot of our effort on food goes to waste.
It’s pretty simple, and it doesn’t require a new program or a cupboard full of supplements, but don’t let that fool ya, either: simple DOES NOT mean easy. It’s normal if putting these fundamentals into practice feels tough. If you’ve ever tried to change up your habits, you know there is a big gap between knowing what to do and, well, actually doing it.
Building and maintaining your personal nutrition system is about developing consistent, sustainable daily behaviours that impact your “energy in” and “energy out” in whatever way suits your life, your body and your goals. If you can devise a way of eating that meets your targets, feels good AND can be done in a way that feels pretty effortless, you’ve found the golden key.
And if this is the part you get stuck time and again, we can help! Our group mentorship program, The Rebel Method, is open for registration now and our first small group of 2022 kicks off January 27th – you can check out more here.
(and – psst – if group stuff just really isn’t your thing, check out our options to work on it with a coach one-on-one).
Basically, friends – we hope you go into the year clear on what you want and not being misled on what it takes to get there. Eat a variety of nutritious food in types and amounts that make you feel good, find ways to keep that consistent, and make room for lots of rest and laughs along the way. Voila!
A big, big virtual hug for a very happy 2022.