Tips for sticking to your nutrition goals
Welcome to 2016 and the month where every second person is vowing to “get fit” and “lose weight”. Christmas and the weeks preceding it take their toll on everybody, so we go into January feeling bloated and lethargic with the best intentions only for us all to fail by the 3rd week.
Statistics show that by the end of January only 53% of people who made a new years resolution will be powering through and on their way to towards meeting their carefully set goals. Looking further down the line and into July, this number dwindles drastically to just 8%. Keep reading for some awesome tips on how to become one of those 8%!
Firstly, any goals you set should meet the SMART goals criteria.
Specific, measurable, achievable, results focused and time bound. Specific – Your goal should be simple and clearly define what you’re going to do. Saying you’re going to ‘lose weight’ is not enough. Writing that you aim to lose a stone in 2 months will give you an end target and something to work towards.
Measurable – Because you have been specific you will now be able to measure your progress via weekly weigh ins and the use of measurements and photo’s. Without this evidence you’ll quickly become bored and sway off track and plan.
Achievable – Don’t set yourself a target so unachievable that you want to give up before you’ve begun. If you have a lot of weight to lose then set yourself bite size targets, i.e. drop 6kg by March 1st. Once you have achieved that, you can congratulate yourself and set your next “mini goal”.
Results focused – Your progress should be measured in results not activities. Don’t make yourself hard and fast rules like you wont eat anything bad for 1 month, because inevitably you will fall off the wagon at some point and view this as a failure. It is very plausible that you can have a few “off plan” treats and still manage to drop fat.
Time bound – Goals should be linked with a time frame that creates a practical sense of urgency or results in tension between your current reality and the vision you have of your goal. Without this, the goal is unlikely to produce a relevant outcome. Put simply this means you wouldn’t want to set your goal as “I’ll lose 5kg by Christmas 2016”, the likelihood of you procrastinating and waiting until “nearer the time” is high!!
An example of a SMART goal in relation to weight loss would be, “I’m going to loose 1kg per week for 8 weeks resulting in being xxkg”. You can then decide which way you’re going to go about achieving your goal.
So now you know how to set your goal, how do you go about making sure you can keep it…
Food diary –
Logging your food intake is just another way to keep you accountable. Its very easy, especially if you have children, to pick at bits of food, or eat absent-mindedly whilst at your desk. Keeping a record means that before you eat something you’ll think about it as you know you’ll need to write it down. There are some great apps you can download that also track your macro nutrients and kcal.
Varied diet –
As humans we crave variety in our diet, if we feed our bodies the same things day in day out, eventually we get bored and reach for the processed junk. Keep your diet fresh by trying out new recipes, adding different herbs and spices and mixing up your protein sources. Eating well doesn’t have to mean eating chicken and broccoli everyday.
Buddy system –
Enlist a friend (or several) to help keep you on track, they can be on hand to support you when the going gets tough and its another way to keep yourself accountable.
Good food in easy reach –
Do yourself a favour and clear out all the foods that are not on your plan out of the house. If you have to keep it, either for your partner or children, make sure its out of sight. Keep some boiled eggs or some homemade turkey meatballs in the fridge to snack on, have fruit on the counter and some activated nuts to dip into when you’re feeling peckish.
If you know you’re going to be out of the house for a while, have some snacks that you can easily take out with you. This will stop the temptation to just grab something off the shelf, which is never as healthy as something you have made yourself.
I often find it useful if I’m going out to eat to look up the menu online first. This allows me to choose what I want to eat before I’m super hungry and surrounded by people who may be eating food that isn’t on my plan. It also takes away the temptation you may feel once you arrive.
Plan your meals –
Much in the same way as planning what you’ll eat before you go to a restaurant, plan what you’re going to eat the next day, the night before. If you have an idea of what you’ll consume for meals and snacks you’re less likely to deviate and just grab anything.
Get perspective –
Everybody is on a different journey and everyone has different goals, but when the cravings come or you feel like you’re falling off the wagon, take a step back and remember why you started in the first place. Achieving a goal is hardly ever a linear process, you will have bad days and good days. Just like one healthy meal wont make a difference to your overall health or appearance, neither will one unhealthy one.
Food prep –
Several of the points above mention having food prepared or within easy reach, you can make your life easier by spending a few hours food prepping on the weekend or one evening in the week. Meals made in the slow cooker, large mince dishes filled with vegetables, boiled eggs and baked sweet potatoes all keep for a few days in the fridge. You can also peel and chop vegetables in advance to save you time on work days. Homemade granola bars are fantastic if you need a handy on the go snack and you can make them in bulk so they last a while (if you can resist them).
Many women when dieting immediately cut their calories to 1200 which is some mythical magic number that enables you to drop fat quickly. WWWUK don’t recommend anything as drastic as this, or worse embarking on a juice fast, or expensive pyramid nutrition scheme.
A really easy place to start is by switching your diet to one of real food. This basically means that if its meat, fish, full fat dairy, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, you can eat it. Anything that comes pre packed in a box or needs an advert on the television or a cartoon character on the front to make you buy it should be avoided like the plague. If you’d like more advice re nutrition you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and find out about different plans and coaching and coaching options.