As a nutrition coach, I’ve seen it all. From fast food for every meal to less than 900 calories a day – not much surprises me anymore.
What does still surprise me is how much I absolutely LOVE working with people on their nutrition. Every day when people send me their food logs I get geeked out to begin dissecting them. What’s cool is that there are two parts to nutrition: Structure and Fun!
Simply put, your body is a machine and the food you put in it is the fuel. By measuring your age, height, weight, sex, hormones, activity levels, body fat, goals, etc.…. good nutrition coaches can formulate an equation to figure out the perfect amount and type of fuel for you and your machine.
You’re actually a lot more than a machine. You’re an incredibly intricate creature with different preferences, allergies, environmental influences, and you even have psychological components that can play a huge role in the type of food you eat and the way your body responds to that food. A great nutrition coach can utilize data and an equation, can teach you how to feed yourself properly, AND is able to connect food with your higher values.
What do values have to do with food? Great question! Here’s an example: the fast food for every meal I mentioned earlier? That client came to me and gave me honest food logs (which I’m thankful for!) Instead of saying “fast food is bad, eat more vegetables,” I was able to connect why swapping a few fast food meals with home-made crock-pot meals would help this particular client be able to have more energy to keep up with their grand-kids. After a few months of confidence building, educating, and connecting values and purpose to food – my client joined a recreational baseball team, improved their sleep, and is now able to keep up with their grand-kids most of the time!
Nutrition can be incredibly complicated but it doesn’t have to be. Here are the three best tips (in order!) to improve your own nutrition prescription:
Improve Food Quality – Swap as much processed foods with whole foods as possible. Aim to eat REAL food…. Not food-like products.
Understand Food Quantity – Once your quality of food is high, the next step is to figure out just how much food you should be consuming. Often people actually aren’t eating enough! You can use almost any calorie calculator online to get a rough idea.
Work on Food Timing – 3 cups of pasta at any time is not really ideal for the general health population. It’s also probably not a good idea to spike your blood sugar with a massive dinner immediately before bed. A good general rule of thumb is to try to keep your meals light and spread evenly throughout the day.
Food doesn’t have to be hard. It can be structured and fun! Connect your values to your nutrition, aim to eat real whole foods, understand how much food you should be eating, and aim to eat consistently/at the right times. Ann Wigmore once said, “the food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” So pick the medicine!