Prerequisites to Dieting

Nutrition • September 17, 2021

Would you ever take Calculus without ever taking Pre/Calc and Trig? 

You might get by for a while, but eventually, you will get lost in the process and not pass the class. 

The same goes with dieting. If you don’t have an understanding and ability to execute the nutrition basics to a healthy diet, then dieting to lose weight will be twice as hard.

Before you start counting calories or trying to do keto. Nail down these basics first:

  1. Eat your vegetables! If you are above the age of 18, then you should have no problem eating your vegetables. You are an adult, stop complaining, and EAT YOUR VEGGIES! Aim for 3-5 servings per day (½ cup cooked or 1c raw = a serving).
  2. Eat lean protein! Lean protein is an animal or plant-based protein source that does not contain a lot of additional fat such as poultry, eggs, fish, shellfish, tofu, seitan, tempeh, beans, etc.  Protein helps with both fullness and satiety to your meals! It is always a good rule of thumb to aim for 25-35g of protein per meal and 10-20g of protein per snack.
  3. Wat whole grains! Yes, I know pasta and bread are delicious, but try to make the swap to whole grain pasta and bread when possible. Maybe even aim for some starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn. The caveat to this, is that you don’t have to do this all the time, but at least sometimes. For example, I eat white rice (it just hits differently) but eat whole grain bread!
  4. Eat consistently! Whether you eat 6 meals or 3 meals, the biggest thing is eating consistently. Skipping meals out of your norm is when the cravings start to hit! Not only that, skipping meals makes hunger come back with a vengeance!
  5. Eat ALL foods! Just eat some more than others. No food should be off-limits. This does not mean you should consume a whole gallon of ice cream. If you do not have a positive relationship with food then dieting will also be harder. Restricting leads to what I like to call the Red Elephant Effect. If I say, hey! don’t think of a Red Elephant, you are probably going too! Same concept applies when you restrict food.
  6. Drink yo water! Remember half your body weight in ounces per day!

Once you have met the nutrition basics, then you may diet, right?

Ahh not yet!

Even though you hit the nutrition basics, here are a few lifestyle challenges to address as well:

  1. Sleep! Aim for 6-8 hours per night. If you don’t have a good sleep routine then you need to address the habits around your sleep such as screens, sleep hygiene, caffeine intake, etc. Not having enough sleep can increase hunger and also contribute to more belly fat deposits aka the bad kind. I understand this may not be easy for some (i.e. kids, jobs, etc), so if this is an uncontrollable for you at the moment, then understanding it may impact the degree of weight loss.
  2. Stress management! Okay so we are all stressed and busy, I get it. But it that stress actually warranted. If you have chronic stress or anxiety, seek help for management of these but this can be more harmful to your health than eating at McDonalds everyday.
  3. Physical Activity! Not saying you need to work out 7 days a week, but movement is important. Physical fitness is actually a stronger predictor of mortality than your weight.

These lifestyle basics not only help you feel better, but thier impact goes a long way on your daily life, quality of life, confidence, strentch, mood, energy, and so much more.

Now you can start a diet if you feel like it! But honestly, once you nail the basics, a diet is normally not necessary. 

Of these 9 nutrition and health habits, how many of them are you meeting consistently?

Just some food for thought! 

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