If you’ve ever embarked on a healthy eating regime, fat loss diet, or new nutrition plan, you might have noticed something unexpected. It’s not the huge changes which bring about the biggest results. It’s actually the smaller tweaks and little lifestyle habits. Here are 7 small nutrition changes which bring huge results.
An organised approach to nutrition
What is it they say? “Prior planning prevents poor performance”? This is certainly true if you want to see big results from your nutrition plan. Just a few small changes to your routine will guarantee far greater success than if you try to wing it. Here’s what we recommend:
- if you have a nutrition plan or diet from a coach, print it out and put it somewhere highly visible (stick it to your fridge?)
- every evening, make sure you know what your eating plan is for the following day
- if you need to prepare any meals or snacks for tomorrow, do it before you go to bed
- twice a week, set aside time to batch cook and do food prep. Chop vegetables, cook meat, bake potatoes, cook rice, and separate it all into portions. You will eventually get so quick at this that it’ll be second nature.
The power of positive choices
One of the most empowering things about embarking on a healthy eating plan is the knowledge that you can always make positive choices. It’s you, and you alone, who can decide what to eat and what not to eat. Until such a time as you’re actually eating the food, you have the power to say “no”, to put it back in the cupboard, or to leave it on the supermarket shelf. Practice making good choices whenever you are faced with a decision about nutrition. It’s so rewarding.
Good quick-grab foods
No matter how organised you are, there will come a time when you need to buy a quick snack. Make sure you have go-to foods which you can turn to in a pinch without derailing your dietary efforts. Start looking at healthy choices in shops, supermarkets and popular restaurants. Get into the habit of reading food labels, and paying attention to menu descriptions. When you need a quick-grab snack, look for protein, healthy fats and low-GI carbohydrates, and avoid highly-processed foods which are full of sugar, trans-fats and chemicals. Most supermarkets, as well as high street food shops like M&S, will have cooked chicken or turkey, rice salad or rice cakes, fruit, raw veggies, raw nuts and other natural foods. Grab a bottle of water, and your nutrition plan is still on point!
Being consistent with small changes to your nutrition will lead to bigger (and longer-lasting) changes in your weight, body composition and health. Big, one-off efforts are much less effective than smaller changes done regularly. So stay consistent with the small details of your nutrition plan (here are our top 5):
- drink more water
- prepare your lunches
- eat a healthy breakfast
- be mindful of poor habits (like late-night snacking)
- cut back on caffeine
Hydration, hydration, hydration
Almost everybody is under-hydrated. Did you know that just 0.5% dehydration can affect important physical systems including digestion, sleep and heart health – yet 0.5% isn’t even enough to prompt a thirst response. The solution is to try and stay hydrated all the time, not to wait for the body’s thirst signals. Try these tips from the Bodyscope team:
- start your day with a large glass of water with a squeeze of lemon juice
- keep a bottle of water in your bag, on your desk and in your gym bag (basically, never be without water!)
- make sure you are hydrated before you start exercising, rather than focusing on rehydrating afterwards
- drink water during any dead time in your day (driving, waiting to pick the kids up, commuting)
- find a herbal or fruit tea you really love and drink one or two cups a day (more if you like!
- end every day with a herbal tea to boost hydration, encourage relaxation, and foster a bedtime routine
Smart use of caffeine
Caffeine can be friend or enemy of a healthy eating routine. Use it wisely, and it can boost physical and mental performance and even encourage fat loss. But overdo it, or rely on it, and it can lead to poor hydration, stress and stress hormones, sleep disruption and digestive issues. We advise clients to enjoy one or two good-quality coffees per day (espresso or Americano is best) and to limit these to first thing in the morning and just before exercise (unless you exercise in the evening). Try to have one caffeine-free day per week to give your system a break.
Think about nutrition for life
The most successful dieters are those who don’t see their nutrition as a diet at all. People who enjoy living a healthy lifestyle tend to have a body which sits naturally at a healthy weight and bodyfat level. These folk enjoy the food they eat, look forward to nourishing their bodies (and minds) with natural, fresh foods and like cooking and preparing food. If you want to achieve success with your own eating plans, we encourage you to think beyond the diet. Look at the bigger picture. Is the way you’re eating now a way you can see yourself eating for 2, 5, 10 or 20 years? Do you enjoy the foods you eat? Does your nutrition plan allow you to socialise with friends and eat with family? Do you feel satisfied, nourished and healthy? Make your nutrition plan part of your life (not the other way around) and you’ll see the best success yet.
Here’s to your health!