FOCUS AND MINDFULNESS HELP ACHIEVE NUTRITION SUCCESS
by MELISSA FOX
‘Lose weight’ holds a prime position on New Year’s resolution lists and is almost always the first to fall by the wayside. If getting healthier is a big part of what you want from 2022, set yourself up for success with an outlook, not a diet, that fits your lifestyle.
A HEALTHY BODY IS 80% DIET
Whether the goal is to go down a few sizes or increase your explosive power on the track, proper nutrition is vital and something in which health coach Tania Kowalski strongly believes.
“We want to be taking in adequate calories to get the benefits of our training, to fuel our workouts and to give us the nutrients that we need to recover and to build muscle right,” she explained.
The way you eat will depend on your activity – an elite athlete is going to have higher caloric requirements. In contrast, someone looking to lose weight will have a calorie deficit, choosing more nutrient-dense foods with fewer calories to feel satisfied.
KETO, ATKINS, SUGAR-FREE. DO THESE EATING PLANS WORK?
For decades, fad diets and programmes promising the ‘body of your dreams’ have existed. But are they too good to be true? In Ms Kowalski’s opinion, yes and no: “Fads can work in the short term, however, have meagre success rates overall, often because of their extreme restrictions.
“Typically, diets are something that people follow for a while and then they go back to ‘normal,’ and the weight comes back. That can be disheartening; you feel like they’re constantly on this diet roller coaster.”
There are bound to be aspects of fads that appeal to you, so feel free to cherry-pick the concepts that intrigue you such as low carbohydrate/high fat, dinner for breakfast, and see how they fit into your overall plan.
HOW CAN I EAT CLEAN ON A BUDGET?
Eating healthy can come with a hefty price tag, although when you crunch the numbers, you’ll find a ‘bad’ diet can be equally awful on the wallet. Fresh fruits, vegetables and organic products go for a premium, especially in Bermuda, but it’s still economically doable.
“This is easier than people think,” Ms Kowalski explained, pointing to the growing trend of local farmers’ markets as an easily accessible source of organic produce. “When it comes to protein, a little goes a long way.
“I think that people have a misconception that they need to eat a tonne of food, but for most people, that’s not the case for their goals. So, when you add it up, it can often be less expensive than buying a lot of snack foods that tend to be less filling and a little higher cost.”
GEORGE BUSH SR. DIDN’T LIKE BROCCOLI, AND NEITHER DO I. NOW WHAT?
Despite the near-constant barrage about the importance of this food group in primary school health class, an alarming number of adults struggle to eat the right amount of fruit and vegetables per day.
“Often, we’ve had a bad experience with being forced to eat vegetables or ones that we don’t like at all,” she says, and she regularly encourages clients to explore the vast world of vegetables and the myriad forms of cooking them. If all else fails, she said, try a powdered greens product in a shake or smoothie. “At least you’re getting benefits of the nutrients from those vegetables.”
VITAMINS, MINERALS, AND SUPPLEMENTS, OH MY!
The fitness and beauty industries are rife with products and wild promises. Some are snake oil, but others can and deliver on the premise.
“Are supplements worth the hype? Of course, but, again, it’s person-specific,” Ms Kowalski said. Supplementing can make a “world of difference” if someone is nutrient deficient in a specific area, she explained, “but that doesn’t mean every single person should use it.
“Let’s use fish oil as an example. Someone who eats salmon regularly, uses flaxseed, and uses olive oil may not need an omega-three fatty acid supplement. But for someone who generally doesn’t have any of those things in their diet, then having a fish oil/omega-three supplement can be helpful.”
There’s a lot to take in when changing how you think about food and nutrition, and all that decision-making can be overwhelming. So rather than quit before you begin, “focus on staying hydrated, and when it comes to food, opt for nutrient-dense but lower-calorie,” she suggested.
ONCE A CHEATER, ALWAYS A CHEATER?
Desserts, fast food, snacks in front of the TV. Somehow, when you’re watching what you eat, the temptations always make themselves more available. But they don’t have to derail your success.
“I don’t like the word cheat,” she said. “It means that you’re doing something naughty, something that is off of a rigid type of plan. I like to use the word treat, and I think you should have treats in your life.” When treats become the norm however, you stop seeing results.
“I talk a lot with clients about mindful eating and treats and work on that with my kids at home as well.”
WHAT YOU PUT IN IS WHAT YOU GET OUT
As much as we beg and plead, there is and never will be a quick fix on the road to health. A sobering truth, but don’t be discouraged. Instead, focus on portion control and making a healthy choice when it’s available.
“Do little swaps in your daily life, like try to switch something like sour cream for Greek yogurt because it’s got more protein and less saturated fat, right?”
Ms Kowalski explained that, with her clients, she aims for a balanced approach that doesn’t cut out food or food groups but focuses on mindful habits that allow you to indulge in a little but not all. Coupled with setting realistic goals in the gym and your daily life, you’re much more likely to meet and exceed your expectations throughout 2022 and beyond.
Are you interested in learning more about Tania’s coaching ideology? Send her an email [email protected] or find her on Instagram @taniakfitness