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What's Stopping you Changing Your Diet

I strongly believe that food and nutrition is NOT just about science. Yes, an understanding of the underlying principles such as caloric intake and food composition is all very important but if you can’t apply this information in the real world then it is useless.

Even with the perfect, textbook nutrition plan and most advanced training programme, obstacles, sticking points and difficulties will surely arise and understanding the tools, protocols and mindset you need to overcome these barriers is really important to help you make the changes you want

In this blog, I outline 3 common barriers to achieving health and fitness goals and discuss the methods you can use to overcome them so lets chop this into bite size chunks ...

 

Time


“Really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.” Thomas Edison

It’s cliché, but for many of us there just aren’t enough hours in a day. Almost every new client I have worked with has highlighted their struggles of balancing family life, social events, 50 hour working weeks, keeping the house clean, striving for 8 hours sleep a night and committing to leisure activities and hobbies. For many, the idea of adding in meal prep alongside 2 or 3 hour long training sessions a week seems impossible. But there is a way .. read on

I’m not claiming to be a time management expert at all, but I do have plenty of experience working with busy mums, people caught up in the stressful corporate world and athletes balancing training with studies and part-time work. There seems to be this misconception that healthy cooking means endless hours in the kitchen, Tupperware’s overflowing out of cupboards and infinite Instagram pictures. Below I will pass on some proven techniques and protocols that have helped both me and my clients

3 Day Meal Prep - Spending 1-2 hours preparing your meals for the coming days is a great way to save time, money and control your portion size. Get all your meals cooked in one go and reheat them to serve. Preparing 3 days’ worth of meals on a Sunday and Thursday is my preferred method usually while I'm watching a movie or the football!

15 Minute Meals - There are plenty of recipe books available that specialize in quick, simple and healthy meals. 2 of the top 10 bestselling books of 2016 were in fact these kinds of books so chances are you probably already own one anyway! I am of course talking about Joe Wicks, whose “Lean in 15” series specializes in 15 minute meals and workouts designed to keep you lean and healthy.

Mentality - Okay so now I'm going to get a little bit controversial…

I like to think I am an empathetic coach, I understand that few people will consistently follow a meal plan perfectly. Whilst your health is very important, life is for living. If you are unable to commit to regular meal prep or finding the time to cook because your priority is spending quality time with your family, or your priority is an important social event or your work or education then that’s great

BUT… don’t fall in to the trap of mistaking a lack of time with low priorities. I want you to stop reading right now, grab a pen and piece of paper and make a list of your priorities and what REALLY matters to you. I expect most people will rank the health and well-being of themselves and their family highly

Now, recognise the simple fact that if something is a high priority and genuinely important to you, you WILL find the time for it. So, for those of you who regularly find yourself saying “I haven’t ever got time to cook a decent meal” accept that what you really mean is “Improving mine and my family’s health is not a priority to me”. You are accountable for that decision and any consequences of it be it big or small

 

Money


Once you’ve paid your mortgage, rent, utilities and put fuel in the car it’s likely your next highest expenditure will be your food intake.

Money has a huge impact on all areas of life, including health. There is significant evidence suggesting a link between poverty and an increased prevalence of obesity. To put it simply, the poorer we are the more likely we are to be fat. There are many possible explanations for this phenomenon ranging from inequalities in education to food environment

An explanation I’d like to highlight is the availability of extremely cheap, highly processed products. Such products often contain white flour, refined sugars, trans fatty acids and lack any real nutrient content. They provide calories, but little quality or nourishment - notice I have referred to them as ‘products’ not food 

For example, a packet of Tesco Everyday Value Chicken Flavour Instant Noodles costs just 20p but contains over 400 calories, 4.5g of saturated fat and contains maltodextrin, a form of sugar, as one of it’s main ingredients. Those who live at the very lower end of income ranges may be forced to buy such highly processed products because there is no other alternative and I've been in this situation towards the end of a long winter term at University

Now it’s not all doom and gloom. I am by no means suggesting that a healthy and balanced diet MUST be expensive by nature. In fact, a healthy, nutrient dense and delicious meal plan can be adjusted for any budget and at even the lowest of budgets improvements can be made so here are some money saving suggestions that I think will help

Frozen Vegetables - How many times have you had to throw away vegetables because they have spoiled? Freezing is a natural method of preservation that has little impact on micronutrient content. Frozen vegetables are also often cheaper then fresh, total win win

Shop Choice - Certain supermarkets like LIDL or ALDI are generally much cheaper than others. A short drive to a cheaper supermarket could save you plenty of money on your weekly shopping bill. Obviously, there is a trade-off here, don’t travel so far that you end up spending all the money you saved in fuel

Happy Hour - this is the time where supermarkets reduce the price of fresh produce including bakery produce as well as fresh meat and fish. You may have seen a dedicated discount isle section before with a group of people surrounding a trolley as staff apply reduced price tags. Happy Hour typically falls between 6pm and 8pm but each individual store will differ - why not ask?

I’m not going to lie this can be an aggressive and quite frankly hostile experience so I would keep children away and avoid open toe shoes!

 

Social Influences


“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Jim Rohn 

Humans are very social creatures by nature, our thoughts, behaviours and physiology are all susceptible to social influences. It should be no surprise then that our food choices, eating patterns and dietary success is strongly effected by social influences

This can be an extremely powerful and positive tool for people just starting their health and fitness journey. Having an experienced gym buddy to guide you through your first steps in the gym can improve confidence make the experience a lot less scary as will our friendly LED instructors who are always on hand to help!  Sharing your journey with someone at home, friends and work colleagues can make the experience more enjoyable and may keep you motivated towards your goals - they can also hold you accountable when faced with temptations and support you through tough days

However, your social group can just as easily have a negative impact on your dietary success. Some people may try to undermine your ambitious goals, they may even be jealous of your progress and actively try to prevent change. It can be very difficult to keep your flame going with toxic people trying to put it out!

I’m not saying you should quit your job because your supervisor mocks your lunch and I’m certainly not suggesting you should search spareroom.com to avoid your lazy and gluttonous housemate. Sadly, negative influences will always exist. What you CAN do however is drown out the white noise by surrounding yourself with likeminded, positive people who want to help you. Some great places to start include:

Weight Loss Clubs - Slimming World is a club that meets weekly to track weight loss progress and discusses a new topic each week. Another benefit is finding local people who share the same goals as you. They may have overcome barriers you currently face and can provide valuable advice that a nutrition textbook cannot.  As an extrea carrot, Members of Slimming World are also eligible for a 10% discount on LED Unlimited memberships

Social Media - If weight loss clubs isn’t for you then do not worry, social media offers a great alternative. Support can be found by using hashtags on Twitter and Instagram and groups on Facebook can be extremley motivating. The benefit of these groups is instant access to thousands and thousands of people who can help you, without having to leave home.

Nutrition with LED - We currently provide 30 minute nutrition consultations where the focus is all about you. We're here to help anyone achieve their goal and have helped a wide range of people including those looking to lose weight for their wedding day to Exeter City FC Academy prospects

 

Hopefully you have found my blog insightful and you feel better equipped to overcome any dietary, fitness or health barriers you encounter in the future! If you have any questions or would like to book a nutrition consultation with one of the team please contact us here or call me on 01404 814317 for a chat