Welcome to the next instalment of our nutrition focus with Coach Shaun. To read the first entry of Shaun’s nutrition focus, click here.
Week 2 – Always Have A Plan
In my previous post, I explained a few reasons why I wanted to focus on my nutrition and set a few goals to work towards. This time around it’s all about the how as planning and implementation tend to be some of the biggest hurdles to change. In the past, I have begun diets reasonably well, but have fallen off the bandwagon along the way. I don’t want that to happen this time around.
I have my 3 goals locked in, so I set about researching the best way to tackle each problem.
1. Portion control
2. Sugar intake
3. Subconscious/boredom eating
First up was portion control. After a bit of online research, I settled on the Zone system, which without going into too much gory detail is a simplified way of measuring macronutrients (protein/carbs/fats). Zone allows me to restrict my overall food intake and control portion size but doesn’t exclude specific food groups. There is some science and weighing of portions to get used to, but it’s much easier than counting calories and/or removing certain food groups altogether.
Sugar intake is gonna be a challenge. I get sugar cravings daily so instead of going cold turkey and removing sugar from my diet altogether, I’ve decided to get my sugar fix in the healthiest way possible. That meant getting my sugar from natural sources like fruit and vegetables or honey, instead of lollies or ice cream. In the last couple of years, sugar has become the new tobacco. There are tonnes of research articles both old and new about how bad too much sugar consumption is for us. I’ve known this for ages, but that hasn’t stopped me from demoing a bag of pineapple lumps in one sitting. If like me you have a sweet tooth and you want to find out sugar’s real impact on the body, but don’t want to read through all those scientific papers, I would suggest putting aside 90 minutes and watching “That Sugar Film”. It’s an easy watch and really shows how processed sugar has infiltrated almost everything we eat.
The toughest goal for me personally is going to be stopping the mindless eating. The simple reason for this is that it’s not a physical change. Again, a little bit of googling I found plenty of techniques I could try to apply to curb my impulses. These range from drinking a glass of water every time I feel hungry, to making sure I eat every 3-4 hours. I’m gonna try a few different options and I’ll let you know which ones work in a future blog.
I don’t like the phrase “work-life balance”.
It reminds me of those cheesy, day-long workshops your employer sends you on. You know the one where the lifestyle coach gives a one-size-fits-all, do this do that spiel to justify their extremely expensive consultancy fees.
Yes, I’m changing my nutrition habits, but I don’t want it to rule my life. I work full time, coach Crossfit part-time, and I’m also a busy husband and father.
With so much going on maintaining a nutrition plan is going to be tough.
There are the regular work breakfast shouts, and there is a ridiculously good pie cart just down the road. On the home front, my wife just happens to be one of those really annoying people that can eat large amounts of crappy food and still look like an extra in a pool scene from Entourage.
She has promised “not to eat junk in front of me”, but as you can imagine the idea of meal prepping is foreign to her as eating deep-fried tarantulas!
So in order to make the adjustment as smooth as possible, I’ve given myself a couple of hall passes. I’m allowing myself one luxury meal a week. By meal, I don’t mean 12-course degustation, but I’m not going to be that guy that brings his pre-portioned chicken and rice with him to the restaurant on date night. Nor do I want to feel bad about grabbing a pie for lunch on a Friday.
I must stress though, I don’t want the cheat meals turning into cheat days. Or else I’ll be doing myself a disservice. The other hall pass involves the option to have a square of chocolate a day. I’ve been trialling a good quality 85% dark chocolate that will satisfy my cravings but is so intense that one piece is more than enough. I almost forgot… coffee.
It’s not quite a religion for me, but I usually have 1-2 coffees a day (I’m a long black drinker) and I plan to stick to that. So that’s that.
Next time you hear from me I’ll be a week or so deep, I’ll give you a rundown of what I’m eating and my first experience of food prep.