While it’s personal training that gets all the credit for being PERSONAL, nutrition programs that aren’t personalized, are doomed to fail. Now I don’t mean a custom, just-for-you, never to be replicated by anyone kind of nutrition program, but if you haven’t consider how YOU, PERSONALLY will do with a program, you’re not giving yourself winning odds.
Here are 4 ways we see clients have success by choosing the right approach. These same approaches can be the wrong way, it just depends on who you are, how you’re motivated and what obstacles to eating better come up in your day to day.
- TELL ME THE RULES & I WILL FOLLOW THEM – This is an abrupt change in eating and is often drastically different than your current eating plan. This is thought of as more “aggressive” and may overhaul your food portions, your food quality, time spent, meal timing, how the whole family eats or even entire food groups. Clients who need education and tools above all else often do well with clear cut directions. This is how most “diets” operate, lots of details in the plan and clients stay accountable to the book (or other media) and track progress. Good for rule followers and planner type people. Others may find these plans inflexible and “fall off” entirely or leave the program prior to completing. Others may be successful but find themselves lacking an appropriate bridge between “all in” and “real life”. Success comes when there is a plan for stepping out of “all in” and modifying the habits and what you’ve learned to fit your day to day rather than reverting back to old habits.
- I NEED A FEW HARD & FAST RULES – Good for rule followers and rebels alike. You can literally have your cake and eat it, too with this approach. Results likely at first, but you may need to add additional improvements or ‘rules’ over time as these habits become engrained and the progress from each one plateaus. Example: You love sweets and always eat too much of everything when you bake. Enjoy eating your cookie dough during the baking process (REBEL) but as soon as cookies are baked they are for someone else (RULE-FOLLOWER). Generally good for those who like to keep it simple, also good for those who don’t enjoy logging or tracking items. Just a few rules are easy enough to keep track of mentally.
- NO RULES, I’D RATHER ADOPT IDEOLOGIES – Big ticket items and overarching beliefs frame your mental attitude toward nutrition. While stemming from a sustainable motivation, how do these convictions manifest in daily nutrition? Journalling is highly recommended for this person to stay centered and continually evolving their vision for their nutrition by revisiting it and how it interacts with other parts of life. Example: Your family’s nutrition and health is important to you. So much so that you make home-cooked baby food and meals for kids but when it comes to feeding yourself and your spouse, you push those convictions aside because of x, y, z and eat whatever. Journaling or working with a trusted professional can help uncover inconsistencies in the implementation of your ideologies and help you narrow down to specific action items that embody your philosophies.
- I PREFER TO DIP MY TOE IN THE WATER – Shifting your compass in a slightly more nutritious direction can take many forms. Progress is slow but compounding. Take ample time to adjust and adopt the new behavior before shifting your compass slightly again, taking time to form new the habit. No strict timelines or rules to follow, just an ever present desire to do better. These small shifts can manifest in the form of rules that require small changes only or in a more spontaneous format. Example: Your company provides a boxed lunch with sides during meeting. Normally you would grab chips exclusively as your side but instead choose a few grapes, a few carrot sticks and 1/2 chips as a more well rounded side. You’re not obligated to choose fruit at the next boxed lunch meeting but you made a positive choice in the present. This method generally works well for the true rule-breaker or true beginner. Build confidence with small action steps.
Do you see yourself in one of these angles? Which approach has worked or not worked for you in the past? Share below and use this information to inform your better eating initiatives in the future.
Addie Kelzer is a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. She believes that by making fitness and good food practical, her clients will hold the power to positively change their health and the health of those closest to them.