Nutrition: Not Just for Abs
Everyone has heard the adage that “abs are made in the kitchen” and most people realize that to reach fitness goals, nutrition is an essential part of the equation. I think what most people don’t realize until they start a health journey though, is that the kitchen is important to so much more than just reaching a singular fitness goal; it is truly where health can be cultivated for life. What we eat makes such a huge impact on our overall quality of life, and can affect our fitness and sports performance, sleep quality, energy levels, risk for chronic disease, stress levels, and more.
Recognizing that nutrition is important to you is a great first step, so then where do you go from there? What I often see is people making drastic changes, turning to fad or unnecessary elimination diets, and trying to change too much at once. When you go from zero to sixty without a plan for the future, you are more likely to burn out and feel like a failure. Here’s the thing: you can’t really fail at eating. Do you know how to eat? Do you do it regularly? Good, you aren’t failing. Eating is an essential element to life and something that is innate in us all. The thing to realize is that small tweaks in how we eat can make huge differences in how we feel over time, and that is where the secret to success lies.
So, where do you start? First, take stock of your normal routines and food choices. Think about what you like about your current regimen and some places that you might want to work on. Find 1-3 simple things that you can start changing today, and do those for a while until they become such a habit you don’t even think about them. Then, choose 1-2 more, and do it again. Over time, these little habit changes snowball into bigger shifts and healthier lives. Don’t worry so much about what everyone else is doing, but instead tune into yourself to find the best way forward. If you know that you don’t drink much water and instead rely on coffee all day long, make a goal to increase your water intake by 16oz each day. If you feel like you don’t get enough fiber in your diet, make some conscious choices to choose fiber-filled foods each day. If you feel like you want to eat more at home, try to prioritize that by purchasing foods to cook, or finding a company like Supper Meals that can provide you healthy, homemade meals at home.
It doesn’t have to be revolutionary, it just has to start somewhere. These little modifications coupled with your work at the gym will help you see the results you want, and set you up for a healthy way of life forever.
-Autumn Ehsaei, MS, RDN, LDN, CLT