Small Changes, Big Results with a Behavior-Based Nutrition Plan
Why a behavior-based nutrition plan works best.
Written by Jenn Giamo
Keto. Paleo. Atkins. South Beach. Even if you’ve never tried these diets, chances are you’ve heard of them. As a nutrition coach, I’ve experimented with all of them in hopes of educating my clients on the pros and cons of diets trends. As we all know and are sometimes frustrated by, the world of nutrition advice is ever-changing. One day, we are told to eat low fat, the next it’s high protein or low carb. It can be very confusing. The bottom line is that there is no “one-size-fits-all” plan for everyone. Our genetic make-ups are different, our gender and age dictate our hormones - as we age women lose estrogen and men lose testosterone - and our activity levels vary tremendously.
It’s not popular or trendy to talk about “long term results” when it comes to weight loss. Many of us want to lose weight for an occasion like a wedding or high school reunion. While those motivators are fine, they are very, very short lived. We’ve all been there. We’re just going to do this cleanse for a week or “eat clean” for a month leading up to our big event. Then what? What happens when that day has come and gone? Even if you begin to slowly get back into your old habits, the weight comes back (usually plus a few extra pounds too) and you are back to square one.
Then there are those who view weight loss or getting into shape as an overwhelming goal that they’ll never achieve. So they don’t even try. Have you ever said to yourself, “I’ve already had one french fry, I may as well eat them all” or “if I’m going to have one glass of wine, why not drink the bottle?” These are the ‘all or nothing’ statements that will defeat us every time. It’s that attitude and mind-set that contribute to being overweight to begin with. Guess what? You were not born overweight. Sure, you may have been pre-disposed to it via genetics or perhaps you have a thyroid issue or some other condition that makes it difficult for you to maintain a healthy weight. I am not discounting that. However, research shows that most of the factors influencing weight gain are lifestyle related. We consume too. much. food. Combine that with little exercise and sedentary jobs and there you have it!
The good news? YOU CAN CHANGE THIS. You are in control of the majority of factors affecting your body. Now here is where the excuses come in….”I don’t have time”; “It’s too expensive to eat healthy” or “I get really hungry when I’m on a diet”. We need to change this narrative by understanding that if we dig deeper, none of these things are really true. You make time for things that matter to you. Prioritize your health and that excuse is eliminated. If you look for farmer’s markets in your area or prepare your meals at home using fresh ingredients (not necessarily organic but unprocessed), it is very affordable. Check that one off the list. Hunger is real - I won’t deny that. However, you’re likely hungry on “diets” because they are usually about food deprivation and major calorie restriction. That does not have to be the case.
Enter the behavior-based method of weight loss. Have you ever stopped to think about WHY you eat certain foods? Are you a stress-eater? Are you bored? What is going on around you when you reach for a cookie? If we identify these behaviors and understand why they’ve become habits, we will be able to approach food differently.
It’s the stuff we do on a consistent basis that changes our life. If you view this as a marathon and not a sprint, you will see those results and they will last. It’s one small change, one healthy choice each day compounded by the next that form our habits. You don’t need to overhaul your diet in one day. You don’t need to spend hours at the gym everyday. Make one small change. And then another. And another. Get it?
I am going to share an excerpt from a testimonial from a client who completed a one year, online nutrition program with Trainers in Transit. This is not a sales-pitch but a way to give you an understanding of what I’m talking about from someone other than me:
So if you’re serious about creating a healthy lifestyle, one behavior at a time, consider our online nutrition program. This one-year program focuses on the small changes, not the overhaul. It will be the best decision you’ve ever made for your health.