Now that you have the framework of a nutrition plan and a new level of awareness, you have a powerful tool at your disposal. Whether you want to lose weight, add more vegetables, take on a new form of exercise or any other variable to improve your health and well being, you now have a framework to utilize.
For most of us, it’s always helpful to have a goal in mind. It keeps you moving forward on a path to continually learning and improving. When I set a goal for myself, I always make sure that as soon as I get within an arm’s length of that goal, I take some time to think what my next goal will be.
At this stage in the program, it’s a good time to ask yourself, now that you have more awareness about your food and habits, now that you have a nutrition plan in place, now that you are making these improvements in how you eat, what do you want to accomplish for yourself next? How will you improve and adjust your plan to meet those goals?
Small adjustments in your food can create big changes. (Always remember that – and it works both ways – whether you are making a positive adjustment or a negative one).
Here are some ways that you can use your nutrition plan to take that next step.
To Stay Grounded
Remember that you are creating a lifestyle for yourself. Not following a program. You will continue to hear from friends about the latest diet fad or trend, etc. You, however, have a solid understanding of nutrition and how your body works. You no longer have to get caught up in the latest fad. You know how to make adjustments to the amount or timing of your food and how to measure those changes and how your body is responding to them. You also know that you are on a path to continual improvement, so you don’t have to be steered off course by the ‘latest/greatest’.
To Bounce Back
The other benefit to having the consistent routine is that when life gets in the way or you travel or something comes up that throws your plan out the window, you can still come back to it. You can always start fresh. When you find yourself off course, sit down with your meal plan and go back to what we’ve practiced. Every week, every day is an opportunity to start fresh.
While you don’t have to be steered off course by the ‘latest & greatest’ new fad or new nutritional advance…You can definitely use your plan to experiment. You can weave new foods into your plan and see how they work for you. Or weave certain foods out. Don’t be afraid to try something new. You now have a framework that you can use to measure against.
I am constantly experimenting when I hear new information…I can try something and see how it feels for me. But, I don’t recommend doing anything ‘new’ until you really have your basic practices nailed down and consistent because you won’t truly have anything to measure against. Work on the basics first.
It is too hard to know the source of the result you are seeking if you do too much all at once. Make one change at a time.
If you find yourself at a plateau, but want to lose more weight or you decide you want to try a new style of eating (aka vegan or grain-free, etc.) or you take on a new job that messes up your entire schedule, just remember:
- One change at a time (allow time to experiment & to see the results)
- Always check in with how you feel (your tummy, your energy, your mental clarity)
- Timing is everything (As we talked about early on, meal timing can make a difference on the scale or in your energy. Sometimes just making an adjustment to the time you eat is enough to make a noticeable change in your body.)
- Create space for yourself before making a change (In other words, don’t add stress to your life. We all have enough already. If you want to experiment, make sure it’s at a time when you will be able to allow yourself time and space to listen to the feedback from your body.)
- Always be clear on the motivation for your change (What’s the outcome you’re looking for and is it something you can sustain for the long haul?)
It’s also important to recognize that any new type of exercise will impact your nutrition plan. You may need more calories. You may need to adjust the timing of your meals. You may need different pre/post workout foods. If you take on a new exercise program, always be ready to make adjustments in your nutrition plan.