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Nutrition for Athletes

Alright, here we go... the nutrition post.

By now you've probably gotten past all the New Years resolutions, fallen off the wagon possibly, or tried some ill advised crash diet (looking at you keto, paleo, gluten free, sugar free, whatever) and gotten basically nowhere. It's time to look at things more practically.

Nutrition is an elephant, and a large one with big tusks to boot. There is no one way to eat that elephant, you can basically start anywhere, but one thing is for can only eat one bite at a time. The fitness and wellness industry has spent billions to convince you there is only 1 way to do it, and it costs $X, and only we can provide it. Not true, and most of these "solutions" are jumping a few steps in order to show some quick gains. Here's how we normally advise nutrition coaching:

1st: Do you know why you want to change your nutrition habits?

If it's to lose 5-10 lbs for beach season, or "my doctor, significant other, or someone else said I need to eat better" these are real reasons to do it, but they aren't going to keep you going when it gets tough (and it will). I suggest looking a little harder for the answer. When I get these I ask again, why do you want to lose weight? Then depending on that answer, ask why can repeat that process as long as you get a new answer and somewhere along the line you're going to run into the real reason. That true reason is going to be what keeps you going, how you stay motivated, and what allows you to mess up, but come back.

2nd: What are your hard no's?

If you love ice cream, great! I do too, and I'm not going to give that up because it makes me happy. Maybe you love bread, or cookies, or soda, all of those things are perfectly acceptable to have in your nutrition plan. The trick with those items is to make them a part, but not the whole. When it comes to ice cream, I buy the good stuff, and I eat it over 4-5 sittings. The good stuff allows me to feel satiated sooner and I'm not as tempted to binge. I also allow that only after I've eaten dinner and am fully hydrated. It's ok to say "no, I won't live without this food". In fact you'll likely have better success allowing it into your life than if you tried to eliminate it altogether.

3rd: Who is in your support network?

As much as we would all love to have our family and friends on board with all of our decisions, that's simply not the case. These are the people we rely on and trust the most in this world, and if they aren't on board with your desired changes it's going to be an uphill battle. When I decided to change my own nutrition, my wife was very supportive, we ate similarly and it opened the door to helping each other make good choices. These same people are the ones that will hold you accountable as well, it may be jokingly, or a little more direct, but since they know you best, they know exactly how to push your buttons, use that.

4th: You will slip, how well do you handle mistakes and setbacks?

It's impossible to be perfect. We all struggle to be better, but no one, not one soul is perfect at this. It takes a lot of patience to be kind to ourselves, to look at that empty plate of cookies, and to move forward. But, guess what, when something is in the past we can't change it. All we can really do is recognize that it happened, and return back to our plan the next time we eat. I used to encourage "cheat days / meals", but I have gotten away from that in favor of this idea. You will slip, that's ok, you'll probably not feel great if you've been consistent with your plan for more than a couple of weeks, and that will be a good reminder of why you made those changes in the first place. Once you've taken that moment to forgive yourself, get back on track the next time you eat.

Nutrition is a lot like learning to walk. Not a single one of us popped out of the womb, jumped up on 2 legs, and ran around the delivery room. It took years, a lot of falling down, some crying, and help from your most trusted supporters to master it. This is no different, it will take longer than you think, and if you're lucky, you won't ever truly master it. Life is meant to be lived, and food is a huge part of that, so enjoy what you love, and embrace practicing good habits.

If you would like to learn more about how I coach nutrition you can set up a free call with me through this LINK.

Enjoy the journey.

Coach Chris

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