Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Establishing healthy eating habits for success in your weight loss and fitness goals.

Here's something I posted elsewhere last night, along with a link to my "Just eat healthy. What does that mean?" entry from a while back.

Don't set the standard too high as to what level of "healthy eating habits" you need to adhere to. Appropriate total intake, enough protein and fiber, your required serves of fruit and veg... other choices as best suits you. That's healthy enough. 

Now... we can think of any number of extra "but shouldn't they also?" type points as well, which are probably advisable. There's probably no limit on the amount of suggestions we could make for eating habits what would be helpful, beneficial and just simply put "a pretty damn good idea". Does that mean that any, much less all of them are crucial, though? Will the whole house of cards come tumbling down if we slip on just one these beneficial points, resulting in chronic ill health and out of control weight gain?

Absolutely not. Bizarre though, that we see such suggestions made so often and so frivolously on so many health and fitness type blogs and pages. It is highly irresponsible.

In my professional experience, I don't ask for any more than those few points listed in the first paragraph, and I consistently find that people will naturally gravitate towards including a greater amount and variety of the healthier choices of their own accord. As they see results from training due to now being adequately fueled, enthusiasm and self belief increases, so they start to adhere even more consistently, and start aiming for more "optimal" targets rather than merely "adequate". This is clearly a much better situation than clients being bullied and badgered into eating things they are not enthusiastic about, and made to feel guilty or ashamed if they fail to adhere.

My observation is that many coaches (or individuals without coaches) set impossible (and unnecessary) standards, and the end result is the opposite of what anyone wants. There are studies (damned if i can find the link right now) that confirm this; the more restrictions you put on people, the more likely they are to end up binging on one or more of the banned choices. This is counter productive, obviously.

Now if you are in the habit of "by default" hitting that appropriate total intake mostly from the more healthy choices that you find suitable... you're going to get results. You're meeting your requirements, so you're not going hungry and likely to give in and over eat later. You're meeting your requirements from choices that appeal to you, so you're not testing your willpower needlessly abstaining from enjoyable meals. It is merely a matter of getting organised, planning a day in advance, and before long your habits are in line with your requirements and you can do it on the fly by intuition. The odd day when you do go off the plan due to whatever circumstances is irrelevant in the context of habitually meeting appropriate intake by default the majority of the time.

In other words don't psych yourself out treating every choice, every aspect of your nutritional habits as "make or break, do or die". Set out to do the bare minimum, and you will succeed in your goals.