When I work with clients, I take what I call a habit based approach to their nutrition. There are four core habits that we work on first and master each one before adding on. Small changes add up, just like the pennies here or there in your savings account. The compound on each other and end up as pretty significant changes after all is said and done. Depending on the client’s eating history and other factors, we may not even focus on changing what they’re eating at first.
You read that right. They keep eating the same exact things they’ve been eating and we initially work on reducing the quantity of it… a little at a time. No major slashes to set off hunger because that’s just going to backfire on us. Here’s something to consider when you feel like you have to be extreme in your dieting or your workouts to get results. Back in the 50s and 60s, about 30% of people in the US were overweight but the majority were average weight. Not ripped but lets be honest, most of us don’t strive to be ripped.
Our eating wasn’t perfect back then so what has changed? The average daily calories have gone up by about 350 calories. That’s not much in the grand scheme of things, but now 2/3 of us are overweight as of 2010 with a huge portion of us qualifying as obese. If you look at just the 350 calories, that works out to be about .7 pounds per week… of fat gain. Since the 50s, we also sit more due to technology. We have more TV channels to watch, more video games to play, we walk less and just move less.
All that sitting combined with extra calories means more fat and less muscle on today’s bodies. That equates to fewer calories burned overall due to metabolism in addition to those lost from lack of movement. Most people in the 50s didn’t leap around with hardcore, insane workouts or hit the treadmills in the gym for hours to burn off fat. The played with the kids in the park, rode bikes and did fun activities. They lived life through experiences and not through technology.
If you eat at maintenance calories for your average weight body size and you move more in every day life, the excess pounds will come off gradually and you’ll naturally gravitate towards a healthier body weight. As you can see, the calorie cutting doesn’t need to be drastic and the amount of movement doesn’t either. Think of it like cutting out a flavored coffee drink or a couple sodas a day, and adding in a walk or bike ride after dinner as a starting point.
Sounds like a pretty simple start to me. Still not convinced that a small change will make a bit of difference? Think about three 100 calorie changes you can make in your current days. Maybe it’s trading your mayo on your sandwich for mustard. There’s 100. Cut the rice at dinner in half and add a cup of veggies. Another 100 gone. How about a can of soda that you have with lunch? If you can live without that even for a few days a week, that’s another 100 or so.
300 calories a day can be removed without hardly missing it at all. Now let’s do the math. 300 calories x 365 days = 109,500 total calories removed. Divide that by 3,500 calories per pound of fat and you get 31.29 pounds of fat. Poof! Gone without much of an effort at all in a year. Who wouldn’t be thrilled with those results? You could even keep the rice and add in a nice walk after dinner to make up that 100 calories.
If 300 calories a day is too much to start with, try a single 100 calorie change for a couple weeks and then add another. It makes a difference so don’t think that your efforts won’t pay off if you don’t sweat yourself into tears or white knuckle through bland dinners. These are just a few of the habits that I work with clients on to make long term and painless changes to their eating and fitness lives.
Your meals and workouts should fit into your life and not the other way around. If it’s too complicated or takes too much effort, you won’t do it for long and you’ll end up right where you started. If you’re looking to make small changes that pay off with bigger results, let me know and we can talk about how working with me on building some new habits will help through online coaching. In the meantime, check out what some of my clients have to say about me.