You are likely reading this blog because you have an interest in nutrition and or have some questions about nutrition. So, where to start?
Perhaps you have goals in mind and you know that a big part of reaching those is through proper nutrition, as they say, “abs are made in the kitchen” which is pretty accurate!
Here are a few goals that come to mind:
-Energy and Vitality
Nutrition is a foundational piece of our lives. Proper nutrition provides fuel for our bodies, our brains, and improves our performance in all areas. With proper nutrition we can optimize our performance and functioning at work, with our families, in our workouts, at church and in our relationship with God.
We are spirits with a body, but that doesn’t mean that we neglect the body whatsoever, we must still give Glory to God for the vessel he provided us, and we do that by taking care of our physical bodies and physical needs, such as proper nutrition, exercise, sleep and hydration.
With that being said, and lets reemphasize, optimal nutrition is important for MANY areas of our lives!
So where to start and what about it?
Let's lay down some philosophies and maybe bust a myth or two.
-There is no perfect diet
-There are no foods that are “good or bad” (unless of course you are allergic to something)
-You don’t need to cut out entire food groups (i.e. carbs are the enemy)
-Meal plans do you a disservice, you need to LEARN HOW to eat better consistently
Usually, most people simply aren’t educated on proper nutrition, they are just pushed around by the media and what the new diet fads are, and most people simply aren’t aware of how much they truly eat.
Here are nutritional philosophies I have that I use when working with clients
-Food diaries or food journals: These are an incredibly helpful tool, not to count calories, but to bring awareness to food choices, food amounts, and to TEACH people about their eating habits, and learn about calories, macros, food quality
-Nutrition is personal and individualized: Each and every person will have a nutritional lifestyle that works best for them, what i eat, how much, when, etc will vary from what you eat, when, how much, etc.
-Learning about nutrition is crucial: because it will help you discover what works best for you and what doesn’t, even something that might be deemed healthy, your biological makeup might not agree with that certain food, even like a tomato for example, so experimenting and find what works for you
-Eating better consistently: is the goal! It’s not about changing EVERYTHING overnight, never eating cookies, carbs, fats, again and only eating veggies and protein. We know that doesn’t last long. It’s about learning, growing, and over time all the small things add up. You want to create a lifestyle that is sustainable that you could still eat that way 3 years from now
-Optimal Nutrition: means optimal, not perfect, which means we strive to fill most of our daily feedings with high quality, whole, nutrient dense foods. Nutrients, like vitamins and minerals provide our cells and bodily functions with proper fuel to function best. We’ve all heard of nutrient deficiencies, let food be thy medicine.
Where to start?! If you’re brand new to anything nutrition or eating healthy,
I suggest starting with a food diary!
This is bring awareness to how much you eat, how often you eat, what you eat, even why you are eating.
Buy a notebook, or use my fitness pal, or create an excel or google sheet and start journaling and tracking everything that enters your mouth from wake up until going to bed. Do this for one week.
As a bonus, take note of the calories of what you are eating. As you write down how many servings of said food you ate, start looking at how many calories are in what you eat.
i.e. 1 bagel with about 4 tbsp cream cheese and a venti starbucks latte (this meal may be around 800-1000 calories in one meal, and considering RDA is around 2000-2500 depending on the individual, this is already half or close to your daily calories)
Do this for one week, and after the week, reflect on WHAT foods you choose, HOW MUCH food you ate, how often you ate, if you ate when you weren't hungry, and find patterns. Also, reflect and see what small changes you could make to some food choices, food quantities, to get a little closer to better nutrition.
i.e. replacing a big sugary coffee with black coffee with stevia and fat free milk or fat free sugar free creamer, and opt for more nutrient dense breakfast like oatmeal.
Happy food journaling! Nothing changes if nothing changes, so if you truly want to make changes to your nutrition, start with food journaling/tracking!
What else would you like to know about nutrition? What questions do you have? Reach out to us!
Charissa Sutliff is an Online Fitness & Nutrition Development Coach, a Competition Prep Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, and holds a B.S. in Kinesiology. She also holds an M.A. in Higher Education Administration. She is enthusiastic about faith, working out, healthy nutrition, meditating, learning, growing and coffee!