7 Steps to Success (Nutrition): Step 3—TriageTriage, a term most often used in medicine, is a process in which things are ranked in importance or priority. We can take the triage concept and apply it to your diet. What can you identify as the most glaring wound in need of attention? What stands out to you as the biggest obstacle standing between you and progress toward your goals? What one or two changes can you make that will have the greatest impact on your results?
The Seven Steps to Success with Your Nutrition Goals—Step 3
Triage, a term most often used in medicine, is a process in which things are ranked in importance or priority. Typically, one would treat the most severe, life-threatening injuries first. Now, let’s take this concept and apply it to your diet. What can you identify as the most glaring wound in need of attention? What stands out to you as the biggest obstacle standing between you and progress toward your goals? What one or two changes can you make that will have the greatest impact on your results?
If you kept your Visual Food Diary diligently for several days, you would notice that you have habits and patterns that repeat and that you generally make the same errors, often at the same times, each day.
Here are two examples of triage based on your Visual Food Diary findings:
Example 1—“Dinner is where my good intentions fall apart.”
You have a hard time controlling portions and frequently overeat at dinner time, defeating your intended weight loss goals by consuming too many calories.
Control Dinner Portions
- Commit to a small but balanced afternoon snack within two hours of dinner that takes the edge off of your hunger and stabilizes your blood sugar.
- Eat a salad and/or a low-calorie broth before your meal (be careful with your dressing choices).
- Limit yourself to your intended dinner portion by placing the extra food out of sight before you sit for your meal.
Example 2 – “I’m good all week, but on the weekend, the wheels fall off.”
When you lack your normal structure on the weekends, you are more likely to miss meals, eat out, and eat and drink all of the things you have been depriving yourself of all week. You may feel as though you have negated an entire week of hard work.
Be more consistent on the weekends
- Plan ahead the same way you do the rest of the week, and maintain as many of your good weekday habits as possible. For instance, if you start your weekday mornings off with a bowl of oatmeal and eggs, maintain that on weekends. Don’t skip breakfast or opt for the gooey cinnamon rolls instead of your balanced breakfast.
- Don’t let one indulgent meal turn into a weekend of bad choices. Just because you had fast food for lunch on Saturday doesn’t mean the weekend is ruined. Get back on your plan at the next meal.
- Set intentions for the weekend before it begins. This can be anything from limiting alcoholic beverages and desserts to prioritizing lean protein and veggies at as many meals as possible.
- If you feel “deprived” of certain foods during the week, consider making a fun, healthy version of that food one night during the week. You will be less likely to binge on that food over the weekend. For example, I make cheeseburgers and fries at home during the week regularly. My version is far less greasy and probably has half the calories and fat compared to a restaurant meal. However, it satisfies the craving, and I actually enjoy it more than most burgers that I get outside of the home.
It is important to keep in mind that there is no one correct way to triage your diet. Triage needs to combine high-priority goals and actions with something that you are ready and willing to do.
As I mentioned last week in Step 2: Identify Your Non-Negotiables, it helps to know your non-negotiables when starting to triage. This will allow you to take action while maintaining and preserving what is most important to you.
Making changes can be terrifying and overwhelming. You will find that the greatest resistance comes from within. Stay with us over the next four weeks while we continue to navigate the steps to achieving and sustaining your goals in the long term.