The Nutrition Series

The Nutrition Series

Stop yo-yo or extreme dieting. Learn principles & PRACTICAL habits to use your nutrition to meet your goals & enable your strength.  Enjoy this series with host, Niki Sims, and guest, Gillian Ward.

Ep 1: Demystifying Nutrition & Nutrition Coaching

Nutrition is a complicated topic, which comes with more emotional baggage and controversy than training.  We have to eat, whereas we don’t have to train or exercise.  Difficulties abound, including trigger foods, grocery shopping, mindless eating, misunderstanding and underestimating calories, certain times of the year, alcohol, family, food preferences, dietary restrictions, and much, much more.

Gillian does not have “a way” or “a diet” when it comes to nutrition coaching.  The person or client must adopt consistent, sustainable behaviors.  Dieting too often implies a limited time period, but what happens after that?  

Ultimately, you have to create a caloric deficit one way or another. regardless of goals or approaches taken.  You can decide to be more or less aggressive:  do you want to compete in a bodybuilding competition or just lose some weight to get healthier?  How fast do you want to lose weight?  What are you willing to give up?  Are you doing this to support training and performance or for health or aesthetics?  

To move toward your goals, you’ll have to have metrics to evaluate progress.  Bodyweight is one, imperfect measurement.  Others include body measurements, for example waist circumference.  Some people like, some hate, progress pictures.  Another may be trying on your favorite outfit or pair of jeans and seeing how they fit compared to before.  

You’ll also have to break down large goals into smaller goals.  How did you do this meal?  Today?  This week?  How do you feel about how you did and how you feel?  You’ll have to be honest with yourself and your coach–especially if progress is slower or stalled.  It may be that you’re following the plan but progress will come, you just need to be patient.  It may be that you’re not including calories from an unanticipated snack, alcohol, or mindless eating.  

Regardless, we eat for the long haul and to improve our lives.  This may mean that we have some non-negotiables that we’re unwilling to forego, though we may have to limit these.  This also means, however, that we adopt healthy habits, we get better, we move toward our goals, and we adopt voluntary hardship to improve our lives.

Ep 2: 6 Components of Success & Common Pitfalls

Reaching our goals through nutrition comes with common pitfalls.  Help us arm you with tips to overcome these common obstacles.  

First and foremost, as with training, we apply a minimum effective dose framework, whether you want to primarily gain muscle or lose body fat.  This means, we don’t cut calories to 1200 or double your calories.  We first observe so we can understand your habits, metabolism, and intake.  We then can recommend small, realistic changes to begin progressing you toward your goals.  This cannot and should not be rushed.  We don’t want to play all of our cards and end up with stalled progress and little or nothing more we can do.  

The biggest issues come from lack of preparation and meeting hunger or a surprise challenge, such as someone offering a treat or confronting what you do with the food left on your kids’ plate.  Developing plans for these things that align with your goals and nutrition plan helps you through these obstacles and help prevent backslide and regret, ultimately helping you achieve your goals faster.  

Tips to combat these are having emergency meals or snacks if you get hungry–at home or on the go.  Portion out foods ahead of time.  With complicated foods–such as lasagna or a stew–weigh & measure it once so you have the information.  The initial work will enable you to better understand your calorie intake.  

Ep 3: Real Life:  Planning & Awareness in Action

You understand the basics and understand the importance of preparation:  how does this look in real life?  How does a potential meal, day, or week look?  Gillian & Niki delve into how to approach nutrition plans practically.  

Looking at the week and the day helps.  When you look at a week, think about when you go grocery shopping, which meals will be eaten outside the house, how much food you need and how many meals you need to prepare.  What staples do you always keep in the house, regardless of meals?  What meals or snacks do you have on hand if you cannot cook, get unexpectedly hungry, or life just gets in the way of your plans?  

If you look at a day, look at the meals and snacks you’ll eat.  Are there certain meals you know you’ll have to prepare ahead of time versus certain meals you can cook right before you eat?  Do certain times of day tend to cause you to deviate from your planned meals or snacks?  What causes this to happen?  

Once again, planning ahead increase your compliance and aids you in accomplishing your goals, faster.  This means planning for the grocery store, meals, days, and weeks.  It also means incorporating habits that you enjoy into the plan, such as a drink at the end of the day or dessert.  

Learn the practices, including specific recipe ideas, that help make healthy eating more fun.  

Ep 4: Making Good Decisions During the Best & Worst of Times

The holiday season is coming up, and for many of us this is a time where we gain weight:  whether we justify an unexpectedly large bulk or simply seem unable to avoid our weight inching up despite our best intentions.  Learn some practical methods to achieving your goals and preventing or limiting holiday weight gain (or even enabling holiday weight loss).  

The holidays present unique challenges:  huge meals, home-baked desserts, calorically-dense food items, peer & family pressure, fond memories.  We can enjoy the holidays while still moving toward our goals.  

First, leave room in your food & training journal to assess why you deviated from your plan.  This isn’t to judge yourself, but to build awareness.  Were you hungry?  Did you eat because you always eat at a certain time?  Did you not want to disappoint someone?  Did you mindlessly eat?  Or, did you just really want that food item?  

Approaching holiday meals and time periods with realistic plans.  Fasting prior to a meal is likely unrealistic.  Eating a protein-rich meal the day of a big meal that will have plenty of fat and carbohydrates, however, makes sense.  

For the big meals themselves, have a plan to help you prevent or at least limit overeating.  For example, fill your first plate with a normal amount of food.  This may mean limiting the items you put on your plate.  This may mean putting sample-size amounts on your plate.  Then, when you’re done, wait 15 minutes before getting seconds.  

For dessert, assess whether you’re hungry or not.  Take a dessert home if you really want it–you don’t have to try every type of pie that meal or that day!  

Finally, Niki & Gillian discuss the idea of “volume eaters” and “intensity eaters.”  Though people may be some combination thereof, volume eaters tend to overeat through large quantities of food, whereas intensity eaters tend to overeat through calorically dense items (eggnog, anyone?).  

Arm yourselves with the knowledge and tips to better battle the holidays!

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