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When it comes to setting custom nutrition goals and creating a personalized nutrition plan, there are no secret hacks or tricks. It takes a bit of reflection on your habits, recognizing what and why you desire change, and taking small steps toward those changes every day.
By eating fruits and vegetables, ensuring adequate protein intake, selecting unprocessed fats and carbs, and paying attention to serving sizes are all helpful tips when it comes to nutrition. However, every single person is different, and what works for one might not work for another.
This article will explain how working with a Nutrition Coach can help you to better understand the long-term effects of your goals, how to build healthier habits into your life, and how to effectively align your action plan with your custom nutrition goals.
Benefits of Long-Term Nutrition Goals
In this day and age, it’s difficult for many people to be patient. One reason is because of the advancement in technology, which has spoiled us. For example, packages no longer take up to 2 weeks to be shipped to our doorstep, it now usually takes just 1 day. Unfortunately, instant gratification does not work when it comes to setting custom nutrition goals and patience is a must.
There are many issues with fad diets, but one of the biggest problems is that they are not sustainable. Spend a few weeks starving yourself and you’ll feel lethargic, miserable, and miss out on some of the finer things in life. Is this really worth putting your health at risk to fit into a dress that you will wear for less than 4 hours of your entire life? Some might say it is worth it. But what happens once it’s over? You’re so tired of lettuce and plain chicken that you binge on pizza and beer. Or what if you develop an unhealthy relationship with food? The constant flux of yo-yo dieting is not safe or ideal for anyone.
Smart nutrition goals, on the other hand, focus on the long-term. They are created based on sustainable changes that you can make today. Maybe that’s simply writing down what you had to eat so you’re more mindful. Or maybe it’s adding meal prepping to your Sunday routine.
Building Healthy Habits
When you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle, it is important to focus on the process. Adaptation is a process and being process-oriented rather than results-oriented may lead to better long-term results. Although it is tempting to want immediate results, hiring a Nutrition Coach will help you to learn, grow and progress towards your custom nutrition goals in multiple areas of health and wellness.
Building the following healthy habits may help improve your chances for success in accomplishing your custom nutrition goals.
Increase Your Awareness of Current Habits
Many people have a tendency to mindlessly consume food and having an awareness is the vital first step in developing healthier habits. A Nutrition Coach can help you to recognize and care about what you are (and are not) eating and how much. You do not always need to count your calories, but every calorie does count. For example, keeping a detailed food journal (either on paper or online) will allow you to identify patterns and triggers/cues.
Plan and Prepare Weekly Dinners
Making smart choices can be especially challenging when life becomes hectic. Consider a typical evening after a long day at work, picking up the kids, sitting in traffic and arriving home at 7pm. You are likely feeling mentally and physically exhausted, many people are far more likely to order a pizza or grab fast food rather than decide what healthy food to make and then take the time to actually cook it. When you plan a dinner menu for the week removes the energy associated with making a decision when you are tired and hungry. Further, it helps create a strategic shopping list for the week with food items that you will be using to prepare your meals.
Sit Down to Eat, Share and be Present
When you eat alone, it can be associated with both less nutritious food consumption and increased technology usage. In other words, individuals are much more likely to engage in emails or social media, rather than having a conversation or focusing on the meal. Sitting down to eat with family or friends can encourage healthy behaviors and allow you to be more mindful. This can help you to stay on track and remain focused on your goals while enjoying some company.
Periodically eating indulging foods should not produce guilt. When referring to foods and behaviors, eliminate the words good and bad. Instead, consider what should be done more frequently and what should be done less frequently. It is important for you to eat a variety of foods and it is absolutely okay to live life and indulge occasionally. Developing a good relationship with food is essential when it comes to your ability in achieving your custom nutrition goals.
The Power of Goals and Sub Goals
When you establish custom nutrition goals and create a series of sub goals to progress toward that end goal, it will allow you to practice consistent healthy behaviors that develop into habits. An example of this could be to sign up for a race or event (5k, half marathon, Warrior Dash, etc.). This is what will motivate you to complete those extra 20 minutes of exercise that might not otherwise have been done. And those 20 minutes, a few days a week, over the course of a year add up to a significant change and hopefully new habits. Additionally, a Nutrition Coach will encourage you to have a growth mindset that will not allow you to define yourself by your shortcomings or failures. After a minor hiccup, do not wait until Monday (or the 1st of the month) to reboot, but instead start back up on a healthy eating plan the very next day.
At the end of the day, hard work, consistency and patience are vital to fostering lasting results.
Align Action Plan to Your Goals
A Nutrition Coach can support you to not only identify your custom nutrition goals but can also assist in creating an effective action plan. Once your goal has been determined, an action plan should take the following factors into consideration:
- Tracking your progress
- Identifying potential barriers
- Getting support
Tracking Your Progress
Keeping track of your progress helps you see how far you’ve come while also holding you accountable to stay with your plan. Below are a few suggestions a Nutrition Coach might ask you to do to track your progress against your custom nutrition goals:
- Use a notebook or food journal to keep track of the healthy things you do. You can use this to look this over when you begin to doubt yourself or feel discouraged.
- Pay attention to how you feel. Can you notice any difference when you are eating better? Or do you notice any difference when you sometimes eat poorly?
- Notice whether your food preferences change. As we change what we eat, we learn to like new foods. You may find that you don’t like some of the foods you used to eat before you started making changes in your diet. And you may learn to like new foods that you thought you didn’t like.
Consider Your Barriers
Take the time to think about what things could get in the way of your success. By taking time to think about potential barriers to achieving your custom nutrition goals, you can plan ahead for how to deal with them if they happen.
Here are some tips for dealing with barriers:
- It’s perfectly normal to try something, stop it, and then get mad at yourself. Lots of people have to try and try again before they reach their goals.
- If you feel like giving up, don’t waste energy feeling bad about yourself. A Nutrition Coach can help you to remember your reason for wanting to change, remind you about the progress you’ve made, and guide you back on track.
- When you hit a barrier, your Nutrition Coach can talk you through how to navigate through it.
You can expect to encounter some barriers and a Nutrition Coach can help you to identify them ahead of time to plan what you will do to deal with them.
The more support you have, the easier it will be to accomplish your custom nutrition goals. If your Nutrition Coach, friends, and family members are telling you that they love the idea of how you are becoming healthier, you will probably be motivated to keep up the good work.
And there’s more support out there. You can even ask for encouragement. Here are a few things to look for:
- Friends and family can encourage you by saying how they admire you for making challenging changes. Don’t be afraid to tell family and friends that their encouragement means the world to you and that you appreciate their support.
- Don’t forget to reward yourself when you reach one of your goals. For example, if you hit your protein goal every day for a week, your reward could be buying a new protein powder flavor to try or a new cookbook. The reward should be something that excites you and makes achieving your goal satisfying.
Successfully creating, planning, and achieving custom nutrition goals is never straightforward. Creating custom nutrition goals is never simple or easy. However, when you work with a Nutrition Coach, it makes the process a little easier by helping you to understand the value of setting long-term goals, building healthy habits, and developing an action plan that aligns with your specific goals. When you have a certified professional guiding you throughout the process, it will allow you to remain focused on your action plan and continuously make progress towards accomplishing your goal.