When I meet a new prospective client I am always looking for as much background information on this individual as possible. I want to get a good idea of their commitment level, exercise history, injury history, experience with personal trainers and espcecially their nutrition knowledge and CONSISTENCY.
One of my favorite things to tell prospective clients (you may remember me saying this in your consult with me!), is “its 2018 (insert whatever year), I don’t need to tell people to eat more veggies and less fast food. ”
Generally, people know WHAT to do, but they aren’t doing it CONSISTENTLY enough to see results. Which is why they reached out to me and/or other coaches. Often times I hear people say “yeahhh I know this stuff, I know what to do, tell me how many calories I need to eat to lose weight.” Or better yet, “can I start fasting, nothing else works for me! When I was a less experienced coach I believed these people. I believed that they did in fact have something wrong with them and they probably needed extreme measures to see results. I mean they had convinced themselves that’s what needed and they were stuck on this. Over the past few years, there is one thing in common I have seen with 99% of my new clients. There is in fact nothing wrong with their metabolism. But, there is a lot wrong with their consistency in regards to healthy habits 🙂
That is where I (or any coach) come into play for 99% of my clientele basis. I don’t need to be teaching fancy nutrition protocols, fasting strategies, carb cycling etc. SIMPLE is what works. Often times this seems boring to some of my clients and they push back. They want to progress faster than they are ready. I am better now at reigning people in, keeping things simple and helping clients truly gain SUSTAINABLE habits. In my head I categorize new clients in to three different categories of nutrition knowledge and CONSISTENCY. Again, I have met a lot of people TELL me that they know “stuff.” I don’t care about that. I want new clients to SHOW me what they know by exhibiting consistent healthy habits. Because, you can have a PhD in nutrition, but if you are 100lbs overweight, you obviously don’t know that much….
When it comes to nutrition knowledge, the only thing that matters is if you can apply it your lifestyle. Anything other than that will leave you frustrated, looking for a next fad diet and constantly being in a cycle of yo-yo dieting.
So lets get to it. Below are the three levels of nutrition I would categorize anyone into.
**Note: 90+% of my clients are Level 1 and will be there forever. That is OK!
**Note: You are not “better” for being higher on the scale, it simply means you have more advanced goals. Actually, being higher on the scale means you probably aren’t has happy because you have to sacrifice much more.
**Note: You CANT be at Level 2 or 3 unless you are CONSISTENTLY show competency with ALL the habits in Level 1. Often times people think they are ready for Level 2, but in fact they should still be at Level. Again, this is NOT a bad thing!
- Here you are still learning the fundamental habits of nutrition and doing them CONSISTENTLY (this means every single day).
- Eating 4-5 servings of protein per day
- Eating 5-8 servings of veggies and fruits per day
- Drinking enough water (half your body weight in ounces at least) every day
- Limiting processed food intake.
- Learning proper portions. Maybe a little calorie tracking.
- Eating to 80% full most of the time. Not food coma status. Learning when you are physically hungry and emotionally hungry.
- Eating slower. Each meal should be at least 10-15 minutes.
- Learning how to not have an “all or nothing mindset.”
- On this level your main goal is to have a better quality of life, live longer, be happier with how you feel and be able to sustain results for the rest of you life…..lifestyle change 🙂
- You can be at this stage forever. In fact, most people never need to progress any higher than this to be happy with their progress.
- To be on this level you must be able to CONSISTENTLY show you can do ALL the above habits.
- You eat protein at every meal.
- You eat veggies 2-3 meals per day.
- You drink water throughout the day. No soda or caloric drinks.
- You rarely eat processed foods.
- You know what portions will allow you to maintain your current weight and body fat level.
- You rarely eat to food coma status. This is reserved for holidays only 🙂
- You eat slow and enjoy meals.
- You don’t feel guilty for over eating. You don’t give up after one bad dinner. You can eat a little ice cream without eating the entire gallon.
- Since you have the above habits down pat, your main goal is to improve your body composition and appearance. This does not mean you will be healthier or happier. Remember, leaner doesn’t = happier.
- This means you MUST be tracking your calories and macros. If you say “I want to look leaner, you MUST be tracking.”
- You realize you have to make more sacrifices which probably means you miss social events.
- Your life begins to revolve around how you look. Are you sure you want this? Are you really sure?
- This level is reserved for short term goals. Usually 6 week to 6 month goals.
- You should not expect to live at this level, but it can pretty rewarding to go “all in” for a short period of time to see BIG results. Know that bumping back down to level one and living a HAPPY life is what really matters.
- These are professional athletes. That’s all I will say 🙂
Where am I? I bounce between Level 1 and Level 2. I have all the above habits down pat….its my lifestyle. I don’t even have to think about them, they are just a part of my normal routine. When, I get bored “maintaining” or sitting at Level 1, I pick a goal that makes me sacrifice more for a 6 month period. For example, bulking or trying to gain 10-12lbs by gaining as muscle as possible. This mean I must be tracking ALL my calories. But, this also means I don’t need to be tracking every day for the rest of my life. I use calorie/macro tracking as a tool for when I need it. I don’t live by it.
Remember, being at Level 1 is not a bad thing as long as you are progressively improving on your HABITS. You can learn all the habits listed and stay at Level 1, living a happy and healthy life forever. Isn’t that what we all want anyways? 🙂
Where are you at on the spectrum right now?