If you do only 2 simple thing to improve your nutrition ... make it these two simple things.
After receiving my Personal Trainer certification, I learned that in order to keep my certification active, I'd need to earn a certain number of Continuing Education credits. And since I love learning and could seriously be a professional student for the rest of my life, I got excited about the opportunity to learn about some of the topics not covered (or not covered thoroughly) in my Personal Trainer training. First up ... nutrition! And not just for my clients, but for myself, as remaining balanced is something I struggle with on a daily basis also. Food is hard. Food is complicated. And the fitness and nutrition industries make it even more complicated!
"Only eat these 7 foods to get the body of your dreams!"
"Are you using the RIGHT carbs to fuel your workout?"
"How are you recovering from your workouts? If it's not with our product, it's the wrong way!"
"Can't lose those stubborn last few pounds? Cut these 32 ingredients from your diet and add in these other 17 ingredients!"
"Complete our 21 day cleanse and drop 20lbs ... but you'll gain it all back and then some on day 22 because you've starved yourself and white knuckled your way through it ..."
PHEW! I mean, no wonder so many of us yo-yo our way through "diets" and other fads. We keep searching and searching for that ONE diet that's going to be the right one for us - and yet we keep not finding it. Sure, some might work for the short term, but at best they are not maintainable, and at worst they are very damaging to both our physical bodies and the mental attitudes we end up taking towards food. And that ain't good.
So, I delved into some nutrition training. Going in, I expected it to be very heavy and in-depth and "sciencey", and I expected to be able to come out with THE exact and perfect formula for optimum nutrition that I could then pass on to my clients (and use for myself). And what I ended up learning IS the perfect formula for my clients to obtain optimum nutrition - but, much to my surprise, it's nothing complicated at all. In fact, it's the simplest thing ever. Whaaaaaaat?!
Are you ready? Here we go ...
Step One: Address any macro or micro nutrient deficiencies. Oh, and you don't even have to worry about trying to figure out where you're specifically deficient, as study after study has shown that most North Americans (so this is likely going to apply to you too) have the greatest deficiencies in: water, vitamins & minerals, protein & essential fatty acids - and having deficiencies in these areas can affect things such as hunger cues, metabolism, appetite, strength, endurance and functionality of the Central Nervous System. And yes, ideally one would achieve consuming all the required nutrients through eating "whole foods" (whatever that even means anymore) ... but let's be honest ... if we could accomplish this through eating "whole foods", we'd already be doing it. So, you know, while you're learning to adjust your food choices, pop a supplement. It might not be ideal, but it's better than nothing at all! Take a regular multivitamin and some fish oil tabs (or flax seed tabs if you're a vegetarian / vegan) and that should address most, if not all, of the most common multivitamin and essential fatty acid deficits and help your body function as it should.
Second, drink more water. You don't have to measure it or hit an exact amount (for now), but just simply increase your intake. Take a large water bottle to work and fill it in the morning and have it empty by the time you leave. In a couple of weeks, endeavor to drink 1.5 of those bottles of water while at work. Keep increasing. Drink a glass of water when you get up in the morning. Take a bottle of water with you on walks / runs. Have water available for yourself when sitting in traffic. Finding ways to add more water to your day is not difficult, and the results could be astounding.
As for adding protein, that's easy too. If you eat meat, add a little more lean protein or eggs into your day. If you're a vegetarian, eggs are a good source. If you're a vegan, adding some more lentils or beans into that salad, or a vegan protein powder into your shake, are easy ways to get in a bit more protein into your body on a daily basis.
These are relatively easy fixes you can literally start doing today that can have a huge effect on your overall health and your ability to have the energy and motivation to start or continue on with a health & fitness program.
Ready for step two? Click here!