I always submit my Iron Girl articles at least 2 1/2 weeks in advance, in order to publish on the first of every month. In December, I knew exactly what I would write about for my January article. While the topic of resolutions and diets are common and easy to discuss, it was important to me that I didn't just give advice as to how to "stick to your resolution". I find it important to always look at the bigger picture and to address the many strengths and weaknesses in your current lifestyle that are affecting (either positively or negatively) how you reach your goals and live life.
I hope you enjoy my latest article from the Iron Girl Newsletter, also found at Irongirl.com
Need a little help with your daily or sports nutrition? Looking for a little structure with your exercise routine? Check out my NEW website for services and info about me and my philosophy on nutrition and exercise.
The 31-day "MTC" Diet Plan
By Marni Sumbal, MS, RD, LD/N
Now that I have your attention with a catchy diet name and a specific length of time, are you going to make up the little less than half of the population who resolves to lose weight in the New Year?
When it comes to improving health, losing/maintaining weight and becoming more physically active, how many times have you said to yourself,
“I know what I am doing wrong and what I should be doing, but..... Oh well, I’ll be better tomorrow.”
Or, maybe you have no idea as to what it takes to feel your best at this point in your life?
Regardless if you have the knowledge, skills and tool-set to achieve good health, achieving weight loss results, reducing risk for disease and improving physical fitness, modifying lifestyle habits may be extremely difficult when done alone. Because there is no one size fit all approach to weight loss, improving health and changing body composition, why place all your trust in a diet book?
In order for you to feel and see long-lasting results without abiding by a structured diet plan or rigid weight loss routine, it is important that you Make Today Count by placing trust in yourself. According to John C. Maxwell in his book Make Today Count, “Good decisions help to create a better tomorrow, yet many people don’t appear to connect their lack of success to their poor decision making. Some people make choices, then experience negative consequences, yet wonder why they can’t seem to get ahead in life....No one says that good decisions are always simple, but they are necessary for success.”
It is easy to fail with dieting because you are always focused on food. The old dieting rules included weighing, measuring, counting, re-reading and over-obsessing. Today, we have cell-phone apps to help with all of that, along with long lists of made-up “good” and “bad” foods in order to “stay on tract”. And by the way, the food and body image obsessing will never go away on any diet. Although personal health, fitness and a greater sense of well-being may help keep you motivated at the beginning of your program, it is well-known that diets don’t work because they offer a temporary solution to an ongoing problem.
My personal philosophy in regards to nutrition is to learn how to develop a healthy relationship with food and to prioritize food that the body recognizes and knows exactly what to do with when consumed. By providing the body with a healthy, consistent dose of exercise, changing the food vocabulary and understanding how to prioritize plant-based meals in a wholesome and balanced diet, you will reduce the chance of feeling unsatisfied with meals (or missing old habits) as you find yourself with more energy and a new way of living life.
When it comes to making today count, it’s important to focus on the factors that have a significant impact on your current eating habits. Among the most common issues include:
1) Little understanding of individual calorie needs
2) Altered metabolism (and hormonal control) due to dieting, sedentary lifestyle or overeating/under eating
3) Uncontrollable blood sugar levels due to skipping meals or relying on pick-me-up high-carb/sugar snacks
4) Excessive food cravings as a result of improper meal/snack planning and emotional eating
5) Inability to control food intake (for multiple reasons)
6) Poor stress and sleep management
7) An unhealthy relationship with food
8) Little support from friends and family
9) An inability to recognize the need for food for fuel
10) Lack of emphasis on wholesome food and a balanced, plant-strong diet
To start your nutritional journey, it’s important to address the following topics:
1) Regular meal and snack planning (aka - a training plan for your nutritional needs)
2) Consistent exercise and strength training
3) A positive food vocabulary
4) The power of goal setting
5) Plant-strong, balanced eating - wholesome lean/low-fat protein, heart-healthy unsaturated fats, whole grains and a large emphasis on fruits and veggies.
6) An emphasis on a whole-food diet and a decrease in the consumption of processed, high-sodium, “diet/free” or “artificial” foods.
As you embark on this journey, it is important to always monitor/address how you feel on a daily basis. By focusing on what you CAN do on a daily basis (as in, TODAY), you will be able to make small, yet realistic changes, in order to achieve life-long “diet” success.
Starting today, start by working on the food vocabulary and developing a healthy relationship with food. Designate at least 2 rooms in the house (one being the kitchen and one being the bedroom) where you avoid negative body self-take and avoid using the words such as:
FOOD THAT MAKES ME FAT