I don’t know about you, but I’ve tried MANY diets and nutrition plans in my life! All claimed they would help me lose weight, create optimal health or eliminate some nagging condition (you know, the usual, fatigue, acne, brain fog etc). I listened to all the claims and found myself frustrated when I didn’t get the desired results. It seemed like everyone else was successful going vegan, Adkins or keto and it was just me it didn’t work for! That is until I uncovered the secrets to finding the right plan. Now I’m eating just what my body needs! I’ve lost weight and the best part is I feel and look better than ever! So, if you’re looking to get amazing results from your dietary changes here are the 5 secrets to discovering your best nutrition plan!
5. Forget the Diets
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but I know it’s easier said than done. It’s tempting to take on a radical diet so you can quickly reach your goal weight. I know… I’ve done it! I always think that when I reach that magic number on the scale, I’ll gladly make the long-term lifestyle changes necessary to maintain it! There are just a few problems with this way of thinking…
- Reaching that magic number is tough when you’re feeling miserable and deprived.
- Restrictive diets create bad habits, a terrible relationship with food and your body and set you up for future failure.
- Your health and metabolism can sustain long term damage from the aggressive calorie and macro restrictions required by some diets.
For all the reasons listed above and more you’re likely to fail at reaching your goal weight. And even if you do get there it’s almost impossible to maintain! Most people who lose weight through diets gain it all back and then some in short order!
Even if you aren’t trying to lose weight and you’re simply striving for improved health it’s important not to get sucked into a rigorous nutrition plan. Keep in mind that we’re all unique and need to be flexible about nourishing our bodies. Becoming fixated on eating a “perfect” diet, whether it be for health, weight loss or fitness is an eating disorder called orthorexia. It’s difficult to spot, dangerous and those who suffer from it are truly SUFFERING!
Choose to be less rigid about sticking to a specific plan. Give yourself grace and acknowledge that food is a lot more than nourishment. It’s also about cultural connection, tradition and happiness. It’s important to both your physical and mental health to avoid getting obsessed with a diet. Moderation is one of the secrets to discovering your best nutrition plan!
4. Rethink Weigh Ins
I see it EVERYDAY on my Insta! Someone does a weigh in and they’ve been “doing all the right things” but either the scale won’t budge or it’s moving in the wrong direction… UP!!!
It’s so disappointing and frustrating and almost makes you feel like you’re at war with your own body! Be honest… we’ve all been there!
Warring with your body won’t help you find your best nutrition plan! It’ll take you out of sync, stop you from hearing it and make you more prone to injury and illness!
Consider avoiding the scale! It’s a wildly inaccurate tool to measure your progress and is likely to undermine your success! You can’t really determine whether what you’re eating is serving your body by weighing yourself, even if your goal is weight loss. If you MUST weigh yourself, less is better so no more than once a week… preferably every other week. And weigh yourself naked first thing in the morning. Because obviously your clothes or what you ate for breakfast will affect your weight and just so you know so will these factors…
- Water retention (related to weather, dehydration, salty foods, etc.)
- Bowel Movements
- Undigested food (red meat, insoluble fiber)
- Moving your scale
- Body composition changes (increased muscle mass)
- And much more!
The simplest alteration in your day from humid weather, to difficulty sleeping or even an argument with your spouse can impact your weight. NO, I’m not kidding! So, stop relying so much on weight to define success. Because weighing yourself is NOT one of the secrets to discovering your best nutrition plan! If your goal is to lose weight focus instead on how your clothes fit! You may not see a big change on the scale, but you could be dropping sizes. That should matter more!
And here’s a little bonus tip… when you do drop a size, get new clothes! You don’t have to spend a fortune, head to Thred Up or a thrift store and pick up at least a new pair of jeans. And, don’t keep clothes that are too big, unless of course you’re planning to gain the weight back!
3. Stop Counting Calories
I’d like to say “and macros” here because wow… people are really going overboard!
The idea that all calories (or macros) are the same and it’s all about how many you eat is SO beyond wrong I could write about it all day! And just so you know the “calories in / calories out” philosophy has been under intense scrutiny as of late. We now know that it’s far more complicated! There are plenty of people who are doing activities that should burn more calories than they’re consuming but still gaining weight and vice versa. Not to mention that not all calories are broken down and used the same in our bodies!
Logically I think we all know that 100 calories of broccoli aren’t the same as 100 calories of white bread. I also think we know that there’s a big difference in the carbs found in that white bread and those found in blueberries or even a sweet potato.
The nutrients in your food are far more important than the calories or macros it contains. They provide energy, disease prevention and even help with appetite control! Focusing more on getting a great variety of nutrients to ensure success which is one of the secrets to discovering your best nutrition plan!
2. Eat More Plants
And… that last point leads to this! If you’ve been around UA or my social for a while you know I’m a bit obsessed with eating plants (and no I’m not vegan or even vegetarian)!
You should be eating at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies a day, EVERYDAY! I know, it sounds like a lot, but you can do it! For the vast majority of people getting in 5+ servings a day is the cornerstone of a healthy diet.
- A wide variety of nutrients supports health and weight loss and creates satiety (which prevents hunger and cravings).
- Plants are filling and most provide long term energy.
- The variety is sure to address any craving.
- Vitamin deficiencies are the cause of many modern discomforts, eating plants bolsters vitamin levels naturally.
- Plants contain unique antioxidants and phytochemicals that support health and wellness.
- They feed our gut microbiome which helps regulate everything from mental health to immunity to chronic disease.
- Plants are all natural!
Incorporating more plants in your diet is the easiest way to improve nutrition. And one of the simplest secrets to discovering your best nutrition plan! Because there is NO healthy nutrition plan that omits plants. So, if you aren’t sure where to start just add more plants into your day.
I set a plant goal for myself and once I’ve hit it, I can eat whatever that junk is I might want. It’s pretty rare that after eating my 7 servings of plants I still want chips or ice cream but if I do, that’s ok, a treat can be part of a healthy diet!
By the way… I don’t suggest you start with 7! I worked up to that over time and I often exceed it and eat 9. That can be a big shock to your digestive system so take it slow. Consider adding one a day for at least a week before adding another. And pay attention to how you feel.
1. Use a Tracker
By far, the most important secret to discovering your best nutrition plan is to use a health tracker! Keeping notes about not only what and when you eat but how it makes you feel will give you the insight you need to find your ideal nutrition plan. Because here’s the thing… one fix won’t work for everyone!
For example, many people struggle to eat peppers, potatoes, eggplant and tomatoes (nightshades). Are these amazing plants to incorporate in your diet? Yes… well, generally… but not for everyone! You can’t find out exactly what works for YOUR body if you aren’t keeping track.
Plus, it’s not just about food, it’s about sleep, activity, mood and stress and so much more! Keeping everything in one place along with any negative or positive symptoms or cravings you might be noticing is invaluable. It’ll give you the ability to recognize what’s working and what’s not!
I was asked to keep track of TONS of health information when I was going through the diagnosis process for Hashimotos (you can read my health journey here). When I noticed the huge impacts of the smallest things, I was totally shocked! It was truly the first step to creating not just my best nutrition but also making adjustments in other parts of my life for health and wellness (not to mention relationship and self-esteem improvements and much more).
This might sound silly but let me share an example…
I drink a smoothie in the morning to optimize the number of plants I consume in a day. When I started, I always tossed a banana in. They’re such a strong, sweet flavor they make every smoothie delicious. When I started tracking, I noticed that I get very tired and irritable within a couple hours and start having terrible cravings for carbs and sweets. This caused me to review my health tracker and I was immediately able to identify that the banana was causing a sugar crash! Seriously… who would think a banana would make such a big difference! Cutting it out completely changed my day!
I haven’t met a single person who has started tracking like this and not benefitted. So, instead of weighing and measuring your food or counting macros start tracking how you feel. Your nutrition plan should give you energy and make you feel amazing! If it doesn’t, you’ll know just what adjustment to make to create your best nutrition! And if you’re struggling to identify the problem a health tracker will help so much through an elimination diet!
I couldn’t find a health tracker on the market that had everything I needed to track for optimal health. So… I wrote and published one! Get yours NOW!
Staying Well Nourished
Using these 5 secrets to discovering your best nutrition plan will help you lose weight and create optimal health. But the key to maintaining that weight loss and health is to continue staying well nourished. Throughout your life implementing these tips and continuing to track will ensure that you eat what YOUR body needs to thrive!
Now, clearly if you have a medical condition for which you’re receiving care from a nutritionist, dietician or specialty diet you MUST follow the protocol that’s been laid out for you. But having a health tracker you can share with your medical provider will offer insights that are beneficial to your care. So, take it to your appointments or make copies! You’ll be glad you did and so will they!
As y’all know, I’m not a dietitian, nutritionist, doctor, or psychologist. I’m just a gal who’s gone through some pretty difficult health challenges, did a bunch of research, consulted with a bunch of pros and reclaimed my health. So, as always be sure to check with your doctor before embarking on a health journey!