When it comes to fitness and nutrition there’s a huge variety of information out there. Within all this info is also conflicting messages. One blog may condone low-carb diets whereas a mainstream website shuns the process of low-carb and preaches how we should be eating all the amount of carbs we can guzzle down. Which side of the fence do we sit!? It’s obvious why you don’t know what to do! There’s so much confusing information out there nobody know’s where to start or begin in nutrition.
Now, this is me just showing an example of one simple conflict, but there’s hundreds out there, some even legitimately work for one group of people for one reason, and the other side of the story works for another. This is where it becomes confusing, but I’ll highlight an example later of where one message of low-carbs is bad for one group of individuals
The point is, with the array of unlimited information out there, how do we know what’s right, wrong, gospel or pure garbage? Experience helps for sure, it’s taken me since 2008 to really understand what health and good nutrition means to ME. And along the way I’ve learned via good and bad avenues of what not to do. I was very close to anorexic tendencies around 4 years ago when I thought starving myself was the route to weight loss and this was definitely a BAD lesson in weight loss. This was subconcious thinking on my behalf but it’s the situation I accidently fell into. On the other hand a good experience was me seeking help from a professional, giving me more food than I EVER had, and losing weight in the process. This was a life changing lesson to me and eventually taught me that there’s much more to nutrition than one route to success.
I digress though…
Since I started taking on clients I’ve seen a wide range of people and personalities, I love working with people and it’s a really fun challenge with such a diverse population. But there’s also clear commonalities amongst a lot of my clients, from their current eating habits to their mis-understanding of nutrition. Here we explore three of the most common nutrition issues that new clients come to me with and why they weren’t making progress themselves:
Three Nutritional Mis-doings
1. Eating WAY too few calories for your lifestyle or activity level.
In today’s modern age we’ve become very used to the fact everything can be on demand. I’m damn right impatient, wanted results YESTERDAY and happily admit I want stuff now. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Supermarket Deliveries. These are just a few examples of where we can everything we want on demand, at our calls, advert free and convenient for us. It’s the best way, but it’s all taught us all to be impatient and we’ve lost a bit of patience when it comes to our health and fitness goals.
Hence the cashing in on all the ‘get ripped in 6 weeks’ or ‘lose 10lbs in 10 days’ programs. We’re impatient and drawn to anything that can give us time AND results. I agree there are brilliant workout and exercise programs which we can split into time-periods but when it comes to nutrition it’s been shown over and over and over that a slow, patient program of weight loss always leads towards a more permanent one, and less of a rebound to bad habits. What we all bought into however are the celebrity fad diets of calorie restriction and the magazine promises of ‘doing this one trick will shift your body fat’. It worked and someone is selling you the program, but that isn’t necessarily a good fit for YOU.
Cutting calories IS the best way to lose weight, as it mainly happens in a calorie deficit. We’ve all got that one bob-on, woop! The problem, however, is that when you sit in a calorie deficit you’ll lose weight, but your body will also adapt to this lower calorie intake, shutting and slowing down body processes in order to only expend the lower amount of calories you’re consuming. It’s a gradual change to your metabolism, but if you sat at 1400 calories daily for a fairly lengthy time, your metabolism will slowly change to this, altering your physiology and body process to only burn 1400 calories a day.
This is metabolic adaptation – check it out here: Click me. This has been proven in many many studies.
Quite simply, we turn to restricting our calories in order to lose weight, which is the right thing to do. But your body catches up and your metabolism slows down, halting weight loss as well as altering your whole physiology. When the weight loss slows down we try an even lower calorie number, lose a tiny bit more weight and suffer from the same metabolic adaptation. What happens then is a miserable lifestyle of eating nothing, suffering from sudden binges of food and subsequent weight gain, as our bodies are only used to burning 1400 calories and so will store most excess calories as fat. The vicious cycle begins…
The majority of my clients come to me under-eating doing exactly this. Most recently, I have seen three clients who do CrossFit 4-6 times a week on around 1000-1200 Calories, considering these clients require on average 1900 calories a day for maintenance, and add roughly 400 calories for CrossFit recovery alone, they’re not just damaging their body but severely inhibiting any room for performance related goals. Some of these clients come unaware they’re eating SO little, others do know and believe this was the best strategy. The issue is that we’re simply not educated enough, don’t blame yourself though.
If you are as active as this, and eating less than half your daily required calories, you can wave your chances of performance goodbye and you can certainly forget about trying to lose weight when you’ve been eating so little calories for a lengthy period of time. Does this sound familiar? Increasing your calories fuels your metbolism, and allows your body to start the fat burning process itself, instead of going into ‘survival mode’.
2. Unrealistic goals.
This was a really clear cut reason why a fair few of my clients previously weren’t progressing as they hoped.
They started out on their journey with the best intentions and lofty goals. Sadly these goals were to lose 10kg for that holiday in 10 weeks time. This is merely an example but an example of a fairly lofty one. It’s probably achievable if you have a lot of weight to lose, and probably so with an aggressive weight loss only, but I’d always avoid aggressive methods as that almost always ends up with a rebound to bad habits and kess-permanent results. Binging and mental breakdowns will only ensue.
One reason a new client may not have previously achieved this goal was they may have been focusing on the bigger picture instead of smaller, strategic goals. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when your goal is to lose 10kg in say 4 months. You may get disillusioned when you see the scale not moving as fast as you thought, resorting to old habits and letting enthusiasm seep away. Instead, break it down into a shorter time-frame and a shorter goal. Aim for 1kg in 2/3 weeks. That’s 0.3lbs a week, definitely achievable.
Fat loss isn’t a a natural downward liner path either. Our hormones fluctuate and as a result fat loss also fluctuates, resulting in a graph with increases and decreases in a short period of time. When you’re not aware that this is how fat loss occurs you may very well be disheartened when the scale stops making downward linear progress. These clients are actually ones which greatly benefit from coaching as the main changes to make our ones of mindset and actual process coaching as opposed to the strict nutritional changes. True coaching through education.
Break your goal into smaller chunks, build on habits to drive that goal and you’ll build some serious momentum to keep going.
You risk impacting your diet like the above if you give yourself such a short time frame!!
3. There is no such ‘one program fits all’.
This is a big one and an error I first encountered on my health and fitness journey.
I’m 6ft1 and 84kg. Not only do I have a naturally faster metabolism than most people but I always did a lot of sport too. When I started following a program on bodybuilding.com to ‘get ripped’ I was eating 1500 calories a day as per the prescription. My job at the time was very active and I just started doing CrossFit. In truth I probably needed 3000 calories a day to break even, I’m on 3400 calories daily right now. Instead I blindly followed a program designed to ‘work for everyone’ and instead I ended up quitting a job because of depression as a result of 6 months of this diet. I turned a bad shade of grey and pushed all my friends away. Not a good place.
No nutrition program should ever be ‘one size fits all’. And nutrition ‘calculators’ have zero place if all they ever ask is information on your bodyweight and height. You’re unique as an individual, not in a cheesey, sickly sense, but your body makeup, your activity level, current social circumstances, everything is unique to you. How can I expect to follow a program in a healthy way whatsoever when a girl at 5ft5 eating 2000 calories a day can also pick up this program. It makes no sense, one of us is surely getting on the wrong program…
When I coach my clients we look into all their circumstances, incorporating work, personal circumstances, relationship with food and many more variables. We then make an evolving program with adjustments every week to ensure this is relevant to them right now and their current goals.
You are unique, and you ened a program tailored to you, not the ‘average joe’. When you follow a program which isn’t taking any of your personal factors WHATSOEVER, you should run a mile. Because it damn well doesn’t purposefully benefit you over the next person.
These are only three brief pointers of what you may be doing wrong on your own but for me and the clients I work with, these are the most common things I’ve seen between all the clients I’ve helped so far.
If you reckon some of these points apply to you, send over your details and click HERE NOW to put yourself on the list and we can talk over your current nutrition and goals for free. IF we’re a good fit, then we’ll chat further! 🙂
Our monthly Nutrition Program is just short of capacity and soon to close for a few months as to focus properly on these clients.
Summer is only just round the corner so let’s Charge Up our nutrition and smash these next few months together.
Really hope you’re well and you had a fantastic Easter Weekend.
Charge Up team!