Talking about nutrition is inevitable as a personal trainer. Instead of giving my clients a diet, meal plan, or food list though, I prefer to strategize healthy eating habits. There are many strategies that I might suggest to a client depending on their specific situation, but all of them require one critical step.
The most important step to improving your diet is to plan meals ahead of time. Most people trying to improve their diet start and end by thinking about the actual food they are eating:
“I need to eat less fast food.”
“I need to drink less alcohol.”
“I need to eat more vegetables.”
If you've made it this far, you've only identified the problem… You haven’t actually created a plan to solve the problem.
If we don’t plan our meals then we will inevitably reach the point of hunger. Making our eating decisions when we’re already hungry is a recipe for disaster! The amount of discipline it takes to prepare a salad instead of ordering door dash when we’re tired and hungry is ENORMOUS! Making those decisions the day (or days) before, when we’re already satisfied from a meal will lead to healthier choices 9 times out of 10.
Planning our meals ahead of time also allows us to actually shop for our meals. If we aren’t planning our meals, we aren’t shopping for our food. If we aren’t shopping for our food, we’re probably eating restaurant food. It’s no secret that restaurant food is not as healthy as home cooked food. Not to mention the portion sizes are usually much larger.
If planning every single meal ahead of time sounds daunting, that’s because it is. Instead of trying to overhaul everything, start by planning with one meal a day. Get that meal dialed in and then move on to another meal. Baby steps will add up in the long run. It’s like progressive overload… with food!