They overcomplicate it!!!!!!!
Don’t get me wrong, the study of nutrition and the human body IS very complex. It’s understandable why you would want to get personalized nutrition advice from someone like a registered dietitian that has had intense collegiate training and passed a nationally recognized credentialing exam, not someone who took a home study course.
But the application of said studies, meaning the “what to eat part” of it, is much less complex.
It’s time to ditch all the food rules and end the quest for the “perfect” diet. Even if nutrition researchers could figure out the perfect diet for everyone, striving for perfection can backfire if it’s not also DO-able.
When it comes to reaching any goal in life the most important factor is consistency.
A well-executed mediocre plan will take you much further than a poorly executed perfect plan. So, the best nutrition plan is one that you can consistently follow, not the overly detailed plan that you jump on and off of.
Interestingly enough, when I ask clients in my coaching programs why they aren’t reaching their goals, the #1 response I get is “I lack consistency”.
Before I get into meal planning or behavior and mindset coaching with clients the first step toward consistency is decomplicating nutrition. Most people come with a ton of complicated food rules and misinformation thanks to diet culture and Google, RD. So we must wipe the slate clean and start simple.
Some Uncomplicated Nutrition Advice, as simple as it gets:
Eat food, not too much, not too little, make it mostly plants and enjoy the heck out of it.
To break that down in a smidge more detail, here are some simple nutrition guidelines:
Eat a variety of foods- By eating a variety of foods you’ll be less likely to have nutritional gaps or missing nutrients. Variety also ensures you don’t overdo one particular food. Yes, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
Emphasize plant based foods- Studies continue to show that eating plant based foods leads to better health outcomes and increased healthy biomarkers. While I don’t think everyone needs to convert to full veganism, making a conscious effort to reduce your consumption of animal products and increase your intake of plant foods is a great way to start. It’s okay if you take it slowly and allow the shift to happen over time.
Whole foods are foods in their original state: whole fruits & veggies, nuts & seeds, eggs, fish, and meat & poultry without added ingredients.
Minimally processed foods are foods that have undergone some level of processing but contain little to no food additives. For example, turning milk into cheese, nuts into peanut butter, or adding several whole foods together to make a frozen convenience meal.
Foods that are packaged, have undergone extensive processing, and/or have a long ingredient list are likely highly processed.
You certainly don’t have to give up convenience though. There are a wide range of minimally processed foods that make meal prep saner and get the green light from nutritionists.
Enjoying processed foods in moderation can certainly bring a lot of joy. I certainly wouldn’t like anyone who told me I couldn’t have Oreos or ice cream.
Enjoy your food- How often do you actually slow down to enjoy your food? The benefits are beyond just getting to enjoy the pleasure of eating. You also digest your food better and are less likely to overeat when you eat mindfully. Here are 16 tips to slow down and enjoy your food.
Listen to your body- Intuitive eating has been a game changer for me and so many of my clients. Learning to eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full, and let your body guide you on what to eat is truly a liberating experience if you have been chained to diets for most of your life.
It can also be scary to put trust back in your body instead of trusting some meal plan to tell you when, what and how much to eat. Trust me when I say, when you fully surrender to the intuitive eating process the urge to overeat is significantly diminished.
Honor individuality- It’s easy to get defeated when we get wrapped up in what works for others. If you see your friend doing great on keto, but it doesn’t work for you or just doesn’t fit your lifestyle or food preferences, then you may just end up feeling frustrated.
Back to what I said in the beginning. Consistency is more important than perfection. Find what is do-able for you.
Sure, you can keep complicating nutrition with food rules, fancy meal preps and a huge list of do’s and don’ts. But that will likely lead to one of two things. Either you won’t be consistent long-term, which will lead to poor outcomes, or food might start to become more of a burden than a pleasure.
If you want to learn more about a simple way to put these guidelines into practice stay tuned for my next post about PF3® nutrition. PF3® is an acronym for protein, fiber, fat, fun.
It is a simplified system that will show you how to implement the guidelines above without having to overthink it. I’m all about Easy, Simple Systems. If you are too, subscribe below.
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