Dealing with good nutrition is challenging, especially with all the information out there, which can often be very confusing, but here’s how you can approach nutrition in a more sustainable manner.
1. Start Slow
We’re typically in the biggest pain and want to rush to “work” when we discover how we look and feel. After all, it doesn’t feel good to feel sluggish, or not like what you look
This often leads us to drastic measures that doesn’t last very long. We might end up exercising WAY harder (7 sessions in the gym, 3 times a day anyone?), or eat way lesser than we are used to. Either way, these scenarios can be very devastating to our situations both physically and mentally.
Injuries aside, you are likely to feel overworked, mentally exhausted, and hungry all the time, making the whole fitness thing feel like it’s impossible to attain. In scenarios like these, take a deep breath and re-assess what you’re willing, able and ready to do for the next 12 weeks.
A good starting point often is to begin with spending one day a week doing an exercise you enjoy, and perhaps replacing half of your rice, noodles, pasta or bread with a healthy serving of vegetables. From there, you can progressively increase what you are willing to do.
2. Don’t be A Perfectionist
As with anything in life, there are bound to be bumps and challenges in fitness, like missing out in workout sessions or eating something you feel you shouldn’t.
Staying “off-course” about 10-15% of the time tend to be relatively negligible compared to the whole picture, so don’t worry about falling down sometimes.
For reference, assuming you are creating a 500 kcal deficit daily to lose 0.5kg per week, replacing a huge meal like Burgers and fries with soda (est. 1200 kcal) from your usual 500 kcal meal will typically cause you an extra 700 kcal, which will set you back from your goal weight by a maximum of 3 days, or a theoretical 100 grams.
You only face an issue when you’re eating the same meal every time, creating a huge calorie surplus where you eat way more than your body needs, causing your body to store the energy as fats and in turn, cause you to gain weight.
3. Enjoy the Journey
You’ll only keep doing what you like. Fitness & Nutrition might be new for you, but with anything new, look for things you will like to eat, or enjoy as movement, and treat it like an exploration journey. This keeps the journey fresh for you all the time!
For example, instead of running, you can look into cycling, swimming, rock climbing, or even sports like badminton or tennis. You can also look at joining community running groups or look for a hiking buddy. With the existence of Facebook groups, these are usually pretty easy to find. Otherwise, joining a group class like Zumba may be a good starting point. If exercise as a whole doesn’t attract you, how about finding an excuse just to get out? Some of my best excuses are to do a photo walk, grocery shopping, and to just meet up with friends for a catch up. They’re definitely not exercises, but they promote movement, and that still gets you one step closer to a healthier, more confident you.
In terms of nutrition, if salads are not your thing but you need vegetables, look for vegetables you might already enjoy or be willing to work with first. Spinach, cabbage, beansprouts and broccoli tend to be good starting points to work with.
When it comes to fitness and nutrition, the name of the game is really consistency. Those who show up constantly often end up as the biggest winners.