3 Big Nutrition Mistakes to Avoid in the New Year
by Liz Barnet, Fitness + Food Coach
With every January 1st comes an onslaught of well-intentioned resolutioners to my Fitness + Food Coaching practice. Each person vows that this year will be different and that this will be the year I’ll make those major health changes I’ve been putting off. As much as I would love to see clients reach their lofty health and wellness goals, I know from experience that small, sustainable changes are the key to lasting results. In order to support you this new year, I’m letting you in on the top 3 nutrition mistakes to avoid:
1. Expecting to immediately and completely overhaul your diet
Whatever health concerns or issues you may be facing, they didn’t pop up over night. Why would you expect to resolve them in a flash just because the calendar changed? Rather than hop on to the latest diet trend or subject yourself to some unsustainable juice fast, take the opportunity to first do an inventory of your eating habits.
I recommend keeping a food diary for a full week in order to assess what you’re doing well and what needs some improvement. Be sure to be honest and not only highlight your most laudable moments. When it’s in writing, you can gain clarity with your struggles and even give yourself credit for your successes. Salads every day for lunch? Awesome! Eat like you’re going to the electric chair all weekend starting Friday at 5pm? That’s an opportunity for improvement. Once you identify the weak points, set up a long-term plan of action to address them one by one, and not all at the same time.
2. Signing up for a “detox” plan to jumpstart your weight loss efforts
I hate to be the bearer of obvious news, but most “detox” plans are little more than overhyped, overpriced wastes of your time, effort and money. Your body is a beautifully built machine with specific organs and complex processes to naturally and consistently rid itself of junk. The problem is, your lifestyle and diet probably aren’t doing much to enhance it.
Be sure to consistently drink plenty of fluids, particularly water. Fiber is your friend when it comes to getting rid of waste, so be sure to up your fruit and vegetable intake, in both raw and cooked forms. If you are going to abstain from something for a hot minute, perhaps consider alcohol. Your liver is a major player in the detox game, and when it’s working overtime on recovering from your weekend benders, it has a lot of catching up to do. Sweating is one part of the detox process, so be sure to include daily movement, even if not formal exercise.
3. Believing eating healthfully is difficult and without enjoyment
No one is going to argue that ordering Seamless and going to the grocery store, coming up with recipes, and preparing your own food take the same amount of time or effort. But when was the last time you ordered takeout that would be considered healthy? Foods that are good for you can also taste good, but just like a chef does in a restaurant, you have to manipulate them to enhance their flavor. A modicum of effort will be required, but there are ways to make the process easier and the food enjoyable.
First, forget the latest diet trend and focus on eating wholesome foods, chock full of nutrition that make you look good and feel even better. Eating produce that is in season and when possible organic is a great start. Feel free to cut corners and purchase pre-sliced or chopped or even frozen vegetables, fruit and protein. Invest in a few clean condiments, spices and sauces (low in sodium and sugar, no weird-to-pronounce ingredients). Take an hour and scour the web for some healthy-cooking blogger whose recipes you can use for guidance and inspiration. Plan ahead and prepare food for the week on a Sunday; you’d be surprised what ground turkey and steamed broccoli can turn into with some effort and imagination.