With so much information out there floating around the internet it is no surprise we are all confused about what we should or should not be consuming in our diet. You can spend your entire year jumping from one fad diet or supplement to the next without seeing any overall progress in your health and wellness.
So what is going to make what I have to say any different… because what I am about to share with you is a tool. A diet audit you can use on a monthly basis that will make sure you are on track to a healthy diet and your ideal weight. This method allows us to self-reflect on what we are doing and then set a plan. It’s not a 30 day challenge or a 21 day fix, it’s a way to look at what goals you set and check in on your progress and what worked, didn’t work, and how you can continue on the path in the next 30 days. So let’s stop right there. Take out one sheet of paper write out what you consumed in the last 48 hours. Then flip over the paper write down a typical routine day or days of eating.
This first step allows you to really look at your diet and reflect on what you have been doing over the last 30 days. We are all creatures of habit. We typically eat the same things, even to the extent at the same time. Let’s now look at what you typically eat compared to what you consumed over a weekend. Do they match? Or do you have a habit of letting your nutrient dense meals go out the window on weekends. It very easy to say we eat healthy most of the time, but when you really look at the 80/20 rule it’s very easy to break it. There are 7 days in a week right? So in order to follow the 80/20 rule, you would need 5.8 of those days to be quality nutrient dense meals. So a weekend of high calorie, less nutrient dense foods choices would over time stop or even reverse your progress.
Our second question to ask is are we consuming enough calories? Do you know how many calories you need based on what you are doing in the day. Simple fact we have all heard a million times Calories IN VS Calories OUT. What you consume must equal what your body needs for the day. Our bodies are like cars, we need fuel to run effectively. Once our tank is full, anything over is not needed and will be stored for when it may be needed in the future. Our bodies just like cars run the most effective when it is fueled with nutrient dense foods. Think about how your body reacts when you eat a large high calorie high fat meal. That’s your body saying that’s not what I need right now. When calorie intake falls below 50 percent, your body goes into starvation mode. Fat metabolism stops and lean tissue and muscle mass metabolism begins. You lose muscle mass, metabolism slows ever further as decreasing muscle and tissue mass requires less energy to function, and weight loss slows or stops. To CALCULATE YOUR CALORIE INTAKE, visit https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/calorie-calculator/itt-20402304. Then to lose weight subtract 500 calories or burn and extra 500 calories a day. (which equals a 5 mile run EXTRA)
Our last audit questions is what is your day made up of? A nutrient dense diet needs all food groups, with a variety of types and colors. If you are unsure of what a plate should consist of I recommend this free resource. www.Choosemyplate.gov. It’s full of information and recipes to help learn what your body needs to consume to operate in the most efficient manner.
If this seems overwhelming, well I can’t lie it’s the most important part of healthy living. We have the complete wrong image of a healthy diet drilled into our minds every day with social media, and billion-dollar fitness and supplement companies. I would suggest meeting with a nutritional therapist that can help you look specific to your diet and help you navigate ways to make changes behaviorally and diet wise that will lead you down a path to your ideal weight and limited risk of chronic health problems. Once educated and ready, ask yourself these Diet Check Questions:
- Was there a veggie with every meal? (This is also a category that by eating tons of you may not hit your calorie goal)
- How much dairy did you consume? (One category you could be missing all together)
- How many times did you consume something processed? (80/20 rule)
- Lean Meat in your diet what was the total serving size for the day? (Americans overeat this food group.)
- Was there variety in your diet? (Creatures of habit, do you have variety and color?)
- How do you feel? Guilty, Happy, Sick, Hungry (Behavioral eating is a big part of this journey, and also why diet audits monthly are helpful. Celebrate your successes.)
So what’s next after you complete the audit…Commit! What will I do in the next 30 days? Then Act! Don’t restrict yourself, make the positive changes you are fully confident in. Accomplish one and then add another. Make a list and put in in order. Stay Accountable! Find a group of people who will be honest and true. Remember you’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of SUCCESS!
-Renee Sannan, Nutritional Therapist