Have you got ambitious nutrition goals for this new year? Whether you are looking to clean up your diet, lose weight, or finally get those 6-pack abs you’ve always wanted, read this first! No matter what your goals are, you can follow these steps to help guide your nutrition program.
Step 1: Identify Nutritional Deficiencies
The first step to any nutrition or diet program should be to identify nutritional deficiencies, more than 80% of the population has at least one. Until these are removed, the body simply won’t function properly – and that makes any health or fitness goal a lot harder. Common deficiencies include: not enough water, not enough protein, insufficient vitamin and mineral intake, and insufficient healthy fat intake.
Step 2: Understand Energy Balance
When our body digests the food we eat, energy is released in the form of calories. Our body uses these calories for body functions and stores the leftover. If there aren’t enough calories, processes that we don’t absolutely need to survive start to shutdown. Too many calories can cause the body to become resistant to important hormones, inflammation increases, blood pressure increases and the risk of chronic diseases goes up.
Step 3: Choose Foods With High Nutrient Density
Nutrient dense foods give you the most nutrients for the fewest amount of calories. As you can imagine, processed foods are so high in calories they aren’t going to give you much bang for your buck; one fast food meal has the same amount of calories as 18 apples! We can only eat so much in a single day; so to maximize the amount of nutrients you take in, it makes sense to spend your calorie budget wisely. The best way to do that is to simply eat the foods that carry the greatest amount and variety of nutrients.
Step 4: Figure Out What Works Best For You
There is no universal best diet because people have different body types, dietary preferences, dietary exclusions, budgets, knowledge, and time to commit. Most diets work in their own right because they raise nutrition awareness and attention, they focus on food quality, they help eliminate nutrient deficiencies, they help control appetite and food intake, they promote regular exercise. So the best diet to follow is the one that’s best for you. It will depend on your needs, your goals, your lifestyle and food sensitivities. You want it to be something that is sustainable for you, within budget, and includes foods that you enjoy, even if they have to be in moderation.
Step 5: The 6-Pack Trade-Off
Getting abs is a much bigger undertaking than most people realize. Alcohol, processed foods, and desserts all need to be severely limited if you’re trying to lose fat and show washboard abs. If you’re committed to making this happen then 90-95% of the time you need to eat protein and vegetables at every meal, include healthy fats at most meals, eat a small amount of carbs post-workout only, limit carbs at other meal, exercise intensely 4-5 times per week, and get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
Ready To Take On 2019 Like A Boss?
I know it’s a lot of information to digest, especially if you are just beginning this journey. Remember these steps are listed in order of priority. There’s no sense in thinking about what diet is best or 6 pack abs until you have first figured out what your deficiencies are and take steps to fix them, take a look at your energy balance and start choosing more nutrient dense foods over processed and low quality foods. Reach out to coach near you or contact me for support; I offer online as well as in-person coaching and I’m here to help. You got this!