Below I outline a set of simple principles that you can apply for each day which will help you build a Nutritional Strategy that actually works for you and your busy lifestyle.

Day 0 – Open Your Mind

Perhaps the biggest issue around Nutrition I encounter is people dogged determination to hold onto a belief about food that is hurting them. You can tell people anything but start telling them what to eat and what not to eat and the barriers go up and stay up. So, the first step in better health, performance and nutrition is to open your mind and change your thinking around food.

We often overcomplicate Nutrition and go along with the latest fads in food. That might be Coconut Oil or a particular diet but we often miss the sensible, practical and often most effective ways of eating. What I have learned from dealing with professional athletes is that they have learned that supplements are often over-rated and nutrient rich foods are often underestimated. So open your mind to change. Not only concerning foods and Nutrition but also the results you can achieve if you do right things on a daily basis.

Day 1 – Plan, Shop, Prepare

I always say that your success in Nutrition will be determined by your ability to plan your food. This is true for athletes, mothers, professionals and casual gym users. It doesn’t take as much effort as you think either. Start small -just look at your lunches and dinners for 5 or 6 days and build a routine. Our physiology is designed to recognise patterns. So, develop a healthy routine around food is crucial. The amount of positive energy you will get from taking this small step will really help influence your food choices and make for a healthier you.

Day 2 – Kill Toxic Hunger – Help your body

Did you know that you can change your taste buds? Did you know that you influence chemical and neural receptors in your body by what you eat and how much you eat? The idea is that we want to kill cravings and detoxify from all the high calorie, low nutrient food. The best ways to do this is to include more fruit, vegetables and salads. You can make soups, salads, smoothies, curries and lots of other tasty dishes. It will take a few days but you will start to feel better, energy will be more balanced and cravings will slip away. You will actually start to crave healthy delicious foods. You train yourself how to eat and what to like!

Day 3 – Routine Breakfast

Start as you mean to go on. When we wake, our blood sugar is low and we have depleted many of the micronutrients in our bodies. Get into the habit of eating a healthy breakfast. My suggestion would be to go with whole grains like oats or a plain muesli mix. You can also add milled linseed, chia seed, hempseed and fresh or frozen berries. Including these in your diet will increase fibre intake and keep feelings of hunger at bay. This breakfast will provide a steady supply of energy until your next snack. The seeds are high in Omega 3 and lignans which are exceptional for our health. Your skin, hair and nails should also be glowing after a few days eating like this.

Day 4 – Stabilize Blood Sugar

You can include spices in your foods and things like cinnamon which help stabilize blood sugar levels. Some people find taking a magnesium and chromium supplement really helps subdue sugar cravings. Getting in some exercise and good sleep will boost your “happy hormone” – serotonin which has a big impact on mood. Reducing stress through meditation has also been shown to help cravings in a recent study from Berkley, California.

Day 5 – Develop Cookery Skills

We are losing the skills to cook! One of the top pieces of advice I have for people is to learn how to make 3 or 4 go-to dishes that are quick, easy, tasty and can be rustled up in no time. You simply have to learn a few recipes if you are going to succeed. Either that or pay somebody to do it for you! You might be surprised at how gratifying and effective it is. I had a friend who ate as much as she wanted as long as she prepared the food herself. I might add she was not overweight, very healthy and did not suffer from any cravings.

Day 6 – Plan to Fail

I cannot stipulate this enough. The most successful people you know or hear about have failed way more than you! Know that you will fail but don’t allow it to define you, restrict your efforts or stop you from trying again and again. Think about long terms goals and efforts. Each time you try to eat healthier, you will be moving forward and helping your body. You don’t have to wait until Monday to try again, you don’t have to eat all the nice stuff in the house to “get rid of it”. Start again the following hour or even the following day and remember that every failure brings you closer to success. Build the consistency over the months, not over the course of days.

Day 7 – Keep a Diary

In a recent study, it was found that over 85% of participants who kept a food diary were successful in reaching their weight loss goals. There is something very powerful about writing down your progress. This ties in very well with planning your food. You can use the same book, it does not have to be complicated. Track what you eat – you might be surprised as how much of one particular food you are eating. It gives you clear data to see if what you are doing is correct and motivates you to succeed.

All in all, the message and method is actually easy enough. Increase good quality nutrition and this will help kill cravings, increase energy, motivate us and impact on our actions. A little bit of planning and tracing is vital as well. With repeated effort, we will do more than reach our goals, we can and will surpass them. Enjoy the journey and please, please if you feel like you need more help or support -contact us directly tom@mynutritionireland.ie