I get a lot of questions from people about their diet. Many of these questions come from people who are already conscientious about what they're putting in their mouth. Others come from people who are trying to lose weight. And another pool of people are almost always athletes trying to tweak their diet for more energy or power.
Before you make changes to your diet, take stock. What seems to be working? What's not? As a general rule of thumb try to adhere to this rule: IF IT'S NOW BROKEN, DON'T FIX IT.
Personally, I'm a big tweaker with my own diet. I like to try doing different things to see if they'll make a difference. Will I run faster? Will I have more energy? Sometimes the changes I make are fantastic, and work like a charm. Other times they backfire terribly. I'm a big (very big) believer in biochemical individuality. Certain foods make some bodies healthy, and other bodies less than healthy. It all depends on who you are, your lifestyle, age, stress level, etc. This applies to me just as much as anyone else.
For instance, my body has always done better with more carbs in the morning. I had no real reason to change. I don't want to give anyone the wrong impression. I would never sit down to a big bagel with jam, or even a big bowl of Cheerios (I think they're terrible...but that's my two cents). I lean toward quinoa or oats with almonds, or some other healthy form of protein and fat...maybe with a little fruit. One week I thought I'd change things up by eating more protein in the morning, so I started having one of my husband's protein shakes instead of my normal mostly-carb breakfast. I didn't add anything, substitute or cut out anything else in my diet...but over that week I gained about three pounds! I was floored! The protein powder had a lot of other "stuff" in it and I suspect that was the problem. I noticed the weight because I was puffier and retaining fluid. I cut out the protein powder and went back to my usual breakfast. The weight was off, and all was normal again.
I guess the point is to really pay attention to even the most subtle changes in your diet. If you suddenly go on a pizza bender, and eat three slices of pepperoni every night, sudden weight gain shouldn't be too much of a mystery. But if you start changing around your macronutrients (protein, carb, fat) for any reason whatsoever, take note of even the slightest change.
A few common reasons to tweak your diet:
- Lack of energy
- Erratic blood sugar levels
- Inability to lose weight
- Inability to gain weight
Here is my advice for making a change or two in your own diet:
- Make them one at a time.
- Stick with it for four days, unless things get worse.
- Introduce another change
Giving your body a chance to figure out what works is important. If you make 12 changes in one day - or do a complete overhaul, knowing what works and what doesn't becomes a guessing game. You could end up throwing the baby out with the bath water!
If you have any questions, set up a consultation with me and we can review your diet plan together. It's just as easy to work in a fitness plan as well. You know where the reach me.
Traci is a nationally recognized health and fitness expert who has been featured on The TODAY Show and Dr. Oz. Traci is available for corporate speaking events and wellness coaching, as well as private training. Contact Traci here.