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3 Steps to Improve Your Nutrition and Get the Results You Want

Few topics generate so much “content” as nutrition, much of which is contradictory.  It is extremely easy to become overwhelmed and give up, or to jump from one ‘diet’ to another, trying to balance results with toleration.  This points to the two key issues people have when trying to make changes in their eating habits: (1) change is hard, and (2) we want results NOW.  Those two issues fight one another, preventing you from making real progress.  But there’s a simple thing you can do to break this cycle and begin a lifetime of healthy eating.

Related: 3 Key Elements of a Successful Nutrition Plan

The key is to accept that making a change permanent requires you to take time to allow a change to become a habit.  Once you accept this fact, you give yourself permission to make one small change at a time that, when put together over time, equal a massive change.   Start the process by doing one thing at a time – one small change!  When each change has become a habit, make another change.  What this gradual approach lacks in speed, it more than makes up for in sustainability.  And sustainable changes to your eating habits are what create the results you crave.

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When you’re trying to eat healthy, it’s easy to focus on the food alone. But what about what you drink? Sugary beverages are empty calories that spike insulin, rapidly become body fat, and cause a host of health issues.  Fruit juice also packs a ton of sugar — albeit natural, but your body doesn’t know the difference — and causes the same issues.  Artificial sweeteners, whether they harm your health in other ways or not, keep your threshold for sweetness high, so naturally occurring sugars don’t satisfy.

Step 1:  Replace highly sweetened beverages with unsweetened drinks.

The best option is water.  Coming off of flavored, sugary beverages, you may find water unsatisfying.  If so, try teas or coffee.  Both are much more available than they used to be, so it’s an easy replacement.  If it’s still too bland, add only enough sugar (not artificial sweeteners) to make it palatable.  Then cut back on the amount of sweetener in your drink until your taste buds can appreciate the beverage without added sugar.  Just give your taste buds some time.

Step 2: When you’ve become accustomed to unsweetened drinks, it’s time for a bigger challenge: breakfast.

Eating a well-balanced breakfast of real, unprocessed food, will set you up for a successful day, reduce your total calorie consumption for the day, and give you the healthy start that will help you avoid cravings later on that may cause you to slip from your progress so far.

Step 3: Once breakfast is a habit, the next change to make is to reduce the amount of processed food you eat.

With the notable exception of bagged fruits and vegetables, the closer it is to open-the-bag-and-eat, the more processed and the less healthy it is.  If it has a list of ingredients, it’s a product, not food.  It may be edible and even very tasty, but someone else decided how much salt, fat, carbohydrates, etc. it should contain.  And keep an eye out for sugar.  It’s added to almost everything.   Once you start noticing that, it will be easier to make the commitment to preparing your own meals, which is probably the single most important thing you can do for your health.

If you’re looking to kickoff your healthy nutrition habits, join us December 10th at 10:45am for a one hour nutrition session “3 Steps to Improve Your Nutrition in 2017” with Rasa Troup RD LD.  Information about the event can be found here!

–John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

john@crossfitslipstream.com