I have a special place in my heart for nutrition because it’s my first passion and really what has made the biggest impact on my own life. My love of deeply understanding nutrition and guiding others on their own journey took my small passion project and turned it into a successful business. It’s what took me from a gym owner & nutrition coach years ago to branching out even further and becoming a functional health practitioner. It’s what led me to this moment in time where I am taking my 10+ years of experience and trying my best to consolidate it for you all so you don’t have to go through all the failures but rather jump ahead to see success faster. It doesn’t mean you won’t have your own failures…it’s just my hope that I can help you avoid some of them (or at least lessen the blows).
My goal is to give you the most applicable information so you can get started on strengthening this pillar of health and begin seeing results immediately. What I want to review are three important key factors that are required for you to understand in order to see sustainable success.
First off…looking at ingredient labels will change your life. We are so distracted by clever marketing that we often forget about what is actually important when it comes to what you put in your body. I don’t care how fancy the package is. I don’t care if the front label has catchy phrases like “all natural”, “simple ingredients”, or “gluten free” because the truth is…even with the craftiest marketing the product may just suck! And the ONLY way you are going to know is if you begin looking at the back of the product, not the front. Look at the ingredients. Look at the nutrition facts. Begin to understand what it all means.
Secondly…learn how to accurately count macros/calories. Not because you need to become obsessive with it- I don’t think you should. But because it’s a valuable skill that serves a purpose. Not just for weight loss but rather for awareness around what you are ingesting. It prevents you from lying to yourself and it will slap you in the face with reality. I can’t tell you the number of times a client would tell me that they really don’t eat that much (thinking that automatically equates to not eating many calories). When we started accurately tracking everything, we began seeing that they were over consuming calories and under nourishing their body. How backwards to what we really want to do which is fueling the body with the right amounts of calories to optimize health & longevity while utilizing nourishing and healing foods.
Forever ago, before big tech, big pharma, and big agriculture took over our lives, individuals would NEVER need to track calories and macros. Because of how they lived they had a wide variety of single ingredient foods that were nutrient dense and not processed the way we see with foods today. Because our palates have been hijacked, we have less awareness around what true satiety even feels like. And to make it even worse we move less than ever. These are two BIG problems that are contributing to sickness and disease.
So whether the goal is to gain muscle, lose weight, or just begin to give life and energy to your cells (think curing your fatigue)…what you put in your mouth throughout the day should be analyzed. The problem with how most people track macros is that they miss the boat with what really matters. First off by thinking its ok to fill calories with anything so long as it fits your macros (hello IIFYM). And secondly because you miss looking at your micronutrients (the minerals!). Such a travesty because as I talked about in the hydration post last week…minerals run the show! You are depleting yourself of everything that keeps the cells running optimally by cramming crap calories into your macros. So yes…I think tracking macros (accurately) can be helpful for awareness and understanding around your habits and to reach specific body composition goals.
Lastly…stop extreme dieting. People often will ask me…”what do you think of the carnivore diet?” What do you think of keto?” My answer, and a hill I am willing to die on is, “we need a balance”. Only eating organ meats lacks fiber (and I don’t care what the carnivore experts say…fiber serves a purpose). Only eating keto will starve your body of much needed carbohydrates (again…I don’t care what the keto experts say…carbs serve a purpose). Only eating a vegan diet will deplete the body of vital key vitamins and minerals that you can only get through animal meats. There is no arguing this- it’s a fact. I can go on and on with more fad diets, but you probably get the point. So, what’s the solution? Eat whole, single ingredient foods as often as possible while focusing on balanced meals/snacks for blood sugar regulation and nutrient density. Yes, there is some nuance to this (like anything) but start there!
And I lied. I said 3 important key factors. There is one more key to success I want to add. And it doesn’t just apply to nutrition but applies to ANYTHING in life. There is a good/better/best/optimal scale to everything. The more you know the more you realize you don’t know. You can always improve. So, focus on that versus feeling like everything must be perfect in order to succeed. It just won’t be perfect. Ever. I’m sorry to break it to you so just accept that. When you know better, do better. You will keep relearning, refining, and reapplying. You will get better as you gain more knowledge and understanding.
As I continue with this series on the pillars of optimal health you will see me cycling back through each of them to dive further. This is so you cannot just have a broad understanding, but also a deeper understanding.
Until next time…use the information I’ve shared thus far and APPLY it! Begin building a strong foundation the right way and see the sustainable changes roll in.