How do you choose a nutrition plan? There are so many choices; High fat-low carb, paleo, keto, Mediterranean, standard American diet (SAD), vegetarian, vegan. Where do you start? What do you need to consider before deciding?
Please note that I am not a licensed dietician, nutritionist, or doctor. This article is not intended to offer medical advice. Please see your doctor or a licensed practitioner if there is a new or pre-existing condition that dictates your nutritional needs. Starting any new journey will begin with lots of questions and what seems like no answers. The intention of this article is to help point you in the right direction to take the first step.
The very first thing that we need to do: Evaluate! We need to be extremely specific as to why we want to do this. One of the biggest reasons that people will fail is because they do not know why they are doing something. The first and most obvious answer that someone will give as to why they want to change their nutrition is ‘health’. That is a great answer, but it is broad and generalized. We all know we need to be healthy, but we still eat cookies, chips, and fast food. So, we need to drill down from the health answer. Is it heart health? Maybe diabetes is the reason. Or maybe your family history is riddled with chronic diseases. Maybe it is gut health? Please note that there is no mention of weight loss because that is a broad answer as well and another top common answer. The weight loss (if you want it) will happen as you change your nutrition lifestyle.
Next you are going to have to do a little bit of work, which will then turn into a lot of work. Whatever the reason is, there will have to be an overview of the different types of nutrition plans out there. The first initial research will have to be what plans are geared toward what you are looking for. If a plan advises to eat less than 1200 calories a day for an extended period, eat crazy food you never heard of, or to take lots of pills please weigh the long term effects and outcome of those plans. No good nutrition plan will ever call for you to starve yourself. After a plan or 2 are picked the real research begins. Look into each plan carefully and through research find out if it is a sustainable plan. Remember we are looking for long term lifestyle nutrition. Not a fad diet or a quick fix. Changes to our health come from long term solutions. Often fad diets and quick fixes will cause more harm than good to our bodies.
Next on the list is to implement the changes. This typically happens at a slower pace. Unless there is a medical reason to completely change your nutrition overnight. When we eat over processed, high sugar, fatty foods (the bad for us kind) and change to a healthier lifestyle we could experience some other changes at the same time. Most notably will be our digestion/gastrointestinal system. There could be bloating, gas and stool changes. If this happens do not be discouraged and give up! Our bodies our amazing and complicated works of art and it is normal to experience these things. The time it takes for our bodies to change is slower than what we think. As you are making changes your body is detoxing from everything we have been eating and adjusting to everything we are introducing. If a reduction in caffeine or sugar is in the plan, headaches may happen as the body/brain switches to this new lifestyle. The increased blood flow to your brain is a big reaction and it will make your brain hurt! Most of the time headaches will start on day 2 and could last up to a week. Every body is different and will react differently to changes. 2 important things to remember, (1) give yourself time. You spent a lifetime building your eating habits, you will not change them overnight. (2) Consult your doctor if you are making drastic changes to your nutrition or if you are experiencing issues that you feel are not normal to your body.
The final thing to do is to be open. Just because a certain plan looks good on paper does not always mean it is going to work for you. We do not fit in a box, therefore we will not all eat the same way. The nutrition plan that one person is using for weight loss may work for them but does not mean it will work for you. If eating out is how you have been eating for some time now switching to a full made from scratch meal plan is probably not going to work (right away). Make sure there is grace during this phase. After a few weeks, the realization may be there that this specific plan is not working. Be open to tweak things to fit your lifestyle.
The research phase never really stops. We are a study of one. We are our own research and development committee. No one can tell us that we are or are not doing something correctly, except for us. Our environment always changes and that effects our nutrition. Remember that one plan might work for a period and then another change must happen in the future. Nothing is set in stone and there is no need for it to be. If you are continually educating yourself about your own health, you will change many times. Applied knowledge is a powerful tool to a healthy you!
Jilisa Ghareeb has been a Beachbody coach for 5 years. Her favorite part of being involved with fitness and nutrition is watching her clients change and open up a whole new world. As a coach she, is able to help others by introducing them to a change that is often scary, intimidating, and full of “what ifs” to an encouraging and inspirational lifestyle full of “I cans”. She uses her own story to show others that everything is possible with hard work and determination. If you’re interested in reaching out to Jilisa for more information you can contact her via email ([email protected]), on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/jilisa_ghareeb_cim) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/castironmama)