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Seven Habits for Long Term Success–Part 3

There are hundreds, if not thousands of diets that have been used throughout history. The intent of most diets is to lose weight and bodyfat. Diets that “work” will reduce your intake of calories. This can be done by reducing or eliminating certain food groups, types of food, or macronutrients. If the diet reduces caloric intake enough, then an individual will lose weight and body fat. A good diet will encourage the intake of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and lean proteins, but these aren’t mandatory for weight loss and fat loss. The problem with dieting alone is that good nutritional skills and habits are not typically emphasized so they do not last. Once the “diet” ends, then we revert back to old broken habits and lose all of our progress.

At Fenton Fitness, we utilize the Precisions Nutrition system of habit-based nutrition coaching. We know that in order to change, our actions need to change. And in order to make lasting changes, actions need to remain changed. This is where a habit-based approach comes in. Most people know how to eat better or what they can do to lose weight. What they lack are the skills and action steps to make that a reality. With our Nutrition Coaching clients, we have a 52-week curriculum that helps clients work through obstacles and motivations. We introduce new habits every two weeks along with daily lessons that reinforce and teach the importance of each habit. Each habit builds off of the previous one, mastering one before moving on. For most people, two weeks is a good time frame to get a good grip on each habit, but If there is difficulty, we simply spend more time on that habit until the client is ready to move on.

The six habits which back up the foundation of our program will take most of our clients twelve weeks to work through. These six habits will serve anyone looking to improve their eating habits and can be adapted to virtually any food preference and goal. This series will describe the basics of our program.

Jeff Tirrell, CSCS, CSFC, Pn1

Eat at least 5 colorful servings of Fruits & Veggies: (week 6-8)

Eating more colorful fruits and vegetables improves nutritional quality and helps you feel more satisfied with your food because of the fiber and nutrient content.  Like the previous habit, we are adding food instead of taking it away, reducing any sense of deprivation.  This is another relatively “easy” habit. Most people are pretty much sold on this one even if they struggle with it. Very few will ever argue about the value of vegetables.  Strive to “eat the rainbow”, getting as many colors as possible.  Create a shopping list before going to the store with all the fruits and veggies that you enjoy.  For now, it doesn’t really matter what specific foods you choose as long as you get into the habit of “eating the rainbow”.  Prep food that requires prepping ahead of time so that convenience is never the limiting factor when it comes to getting your fruits/veggies.  Look over your weekly menu and ensure you are incorporating fruits and veggies into each meal. Understand what an approximate serving size is–Vegetables: 1 fist, Fruits: 1 cupped handful.  As you get better at this habit, try to venture outside of your comfort zone and try some new fruits and veggies, experimenting with different ways of preparing them.

Smart Carb choices and portions: (week 8-10)

Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap over the last decade largely in part of some popular and trendy diets such as Paleo, Keto/Atkins, and Carnivore diets.  Carbohydrate dense foods have lots of great health and performance benefits.  What’s important to understand is what carbohydrate sources are best for you, have the highest nutritional value, and how much you need for your goals.  Almost all clients benefit from having some carbohydrates in their diet.

“Smart carbs” are slower-digesting, higher-fiber, and nutrient-rich. These include such foods as: whole grains (e.g. brown or wild rice, quinoa, buckwheat, etc.), beans and legumes, fruits and starchy vegetables (e.g. potatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas and plantains, etc.).  This is a “difficult” habit for some people that comes after two “easier” habits.  “Low-carb” is not ideal; most people look, feel, and perform better with some carbs in their diet, even if they’re trying to lose weight /fat.  Not all carbs are created equal: slow-digesting, high-fiber, nutrient-rich “smart carbs” are a great nutritional choice and not the same thing as highly processed sugars.  Just like the previous two habits, create a spot on your shopping list for healthy carbs that you enjoy and make sure they are in your house.  Come up with at least 4-5 different carb sources that you enjoy and are willing to eat.  At first, it doesn’t really matter what specific foods you choose as long as you get into the habit of choosing smart carbs.  Buy, prepare, and have smart carbs on hand, easily available.  When planning your weekly or daily menu, find a way to incorporate your carbohydrate sources.  Understand what an approximate serving size is: Women: 1 cupped handful per meal, Men: 1-2 cupped handfuls.  Portions may need to be adjusted based on goals, activity level, and food tolerance.