March is National Nutrition Month: Survey Yourself Before Making Changes

national_nutrition200.jpgI kicked off this month with my clients and members featuring a nutrition plan that focused on changing 50 % of the foods they purchased.  This may seem like a lot to ask, but the truth is we all buy about 20 of the same foods each week or 80% of the same groceries.  So if we can can make better choices impacting 50 % of them - you can expect general improvements in your nutrition.  You can expect to lose weight over time, improve how your body feels and enhance the function of your brain and body.  I made the suggestion that changes be made for 6 weeks - be as strict as you are willing to be. 

The many people that decided to participate in this gameplan attended the community grocery shopping workshops held at Dominicks.  They were given a specific packet of information.  The first thing they were asked to do was fill out a survey.  The focus of the survey was to force them to take a look at how strict they were willing to be in changing their overall diet. It is easy for any fitness professional to make strict suggestions on decreasing calories, but most of the time people fail because the suggested diet/meal plan does not consider the personality and the lifestyle changes the individual is willing to make.
So here is the basic survey they were given.
  1. What is your goal for changing your eating habits? (more than one can apply)
  • lose weight- if yes, how much?
  • lean out
  • gain muscle - add weight - if yes, how much?
  • reduce fat in a specific area - if yes, where?
  • maximize your workouts
  • have more energy for your workout
  • function better at work
  • stabilize your moods and energy levels

2.  Are you willing to change your social behavior? If yes, how?

  • go out with friends and lrder less food, leaner food - while friends order luxurious meals
  • order water, diet drinks, instead of alcohol
  • grocery shop once a week
  • grocery shop twice a week
  • eliminate all sugars (except fruit)
  • elminiate all alcohol
  • meal plan twice a week
  • draft menus of your meals and food options
3.  How important is it to go out and enoy your favorite foods and drinks? (rate 0 to 5)
4.  How strict are you willing to be in order to reach your personal goals? (rate 0 to 5)
5.  How long do you feel you can follow a strict eating plan?  Number of weeks?
6. Do you feel it is possible to lose weight in specific areas?
7. Are you willing to learn about nutrition before beginning 6 week program, to better understand why you are making the changes being suggested?
8.  What is the least amount of drinks a week you are willing to be happy with?
9.  List out your favorite 5  foods?
10. Will you portion out your food to avoid over consuming?
These questions gave tremendous insight into each individual's expectations and then allowed Bernie Lecocq (Owner of iFit Fitness) and myself to tailor everyone's gameplan.  For example, one girl wanted to follow the plan during the week, but have anything she wanted all weekend long.  It was a fairly common and realistic desire, but when she gave me the list of foods that were included in 'anything' she wanted, I explained that she would probably be starting from scratch each Monday.  She would find nice progress on Friday, and even a small decrease in weight (because I know the workouts she does), but Monday morning might be a discouraging time when she regained the 1-2 pounds she lost during from the discpline and hard work she put in during the week.  
So, I felt that my role was not to convince her that she should not enjoy herself during the weekends, but rather think about how important her goals were with respect to enjoying herself over the weekend.  The outcome was:  she wanted one day to feel 'free' - as she put it.  I said great ! And, I felt like that was progress.  If one day a week gives her the joy in food she wants - she should have it.
I know however, that over 8, 10, 12 weeks, if she keeps it up - with healthy meal planning during the work week, one bad weekend day and the other somewhere in the middle, that she will lose weight over time.   Her palate will change, her overall health will improve, her body will adjust to smaller portions and even when she cheats on her 'free' day, it will ultimately result in less bad calories in.
If you need a little guidance, please contact Bernie or I and we can send you the information for this program and hopefully send you some realistic ways to alter your overall eating habits.  
More to come on how these people are doing over the next 6 weeks.
Some information on March as National Nutrition Month.
If you suffer from any diseases, are on medications or have dietary restrictions or allergies you should alway consult with your physician or nutritonist before making changes.

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