I am NOT a health professional, registered dietician, or nutritionist. Any suggestions below should be helpful to anyone, but if you have a special health consideration ALWAYS discuss your specifics with licensed pro. See also my first post in this series.
While my deepest desire is to help both you and me have eating plans that are simple and easy, I do realize we’re all different and any specific recommendations I give you might not work for you.
You are not me. Or is it “you are not I”? Any grammar nerds in the house?
The point is that you are not me and what I might preach as the diet plan savior of your health might really not be the thing that gets your body running on all cylinders.
Remember, I’m only bringing up health, fitness, and nutrition because without a healthy physical body, our other efforts to live intentionally and effectively are in jeopardy. We have to take care of our bods. We don’t have to look awesome and have washboard abs, but we have to have energy and maintain decent immunity and mental sharpness.
Our families, colleagues, and other stakeholders depend on it.
My Whole 30 and paleo approach might not work for you. I’m not one of those who believe my way is the right way for everybody. That said, you owe it to yourself to find an approach to nutrition that takes into account your particular peculiarities.
As I see it, there are 7 key considerations you must keep in mind when creating your nutrition plan:
1 – Know Your Goals
Are you trying to lose weight?
Are you trying to build muscle?
Are you training for a triathlon?
Are you fighting a particular illness?
2 – Know Your Body
Some of us react horribly to certain foods. It’s a great idea to discover what those foods are. If you have chronic issues like allergies or belly issues, try to remove certain foods for a period of time and see what happens.
Does your body have horrible reactions to dry beans? To dairy? To grains? Do you feel sluggish after certain foods?
Further, since your mind is a part of your body, you know the way your mind works. I, personally, suck at counting Weight Watchers points or counting calories. Trying to eat within that type of plan drives me crazy. So I’ve chosen the guardrails of a whole food eating plan. As long as I eat within those rails, I know I’m heading in the right direction.
This is a good place to remind you that if you have special health circumstances or considerations, consult a pro.
3 – Consider Your Fitness Level and Activities
If you are working out a lot and highly active, you might need more carbs than those of us who are simply trying to get in 10,000 steps a day or doing light body weight strength training.
Eat what you need for what you’re currently involved in exercise-wise.
4 – Know Your Cravings
When and where are you susceptible to cravings?
What do you run to when you’re feeling crappy or are over-tired?
Is there a way to replace those things with a healthier alternative? Or do you want to create boundaries around those things so you can indulge without ending up visiting the bottom of a half gallon of Moose Tracks ice cream on a sidewalk somewhere with your shirt dirty and untucked?
It’s important to be aware of your cravings and either work to eliminate access or intentionally fit allowances in. Food can be a very emotional thing, so it’s absolutely vital to consider how your mindset triggers eating and drinking habits.
5 – Know Your Buds
Don’t choose a meal plan that your taste buds reject (unless your doctor makes you).
Most of us in western society have the ability to enjoy a sensible diet that is also tasty. Enjoy your dang food. After all, I’m a believer that food and fitness should be fun.
6 – Know Your Capacity or Your Current Life Situation
I’m the first to admit that eating whole foods all the time can be a big giant pain in the ass. All the meal prep time and planning ahead can really rankle my free spirit.
If you’re running a household or struggling with certain health issues or have other commitments, it’s important to consider those things. We want our nutrition plan to be sustainable, so committing to a plan that doesn’t make sense from a time and energy standpoint isn’t smart.
That said, you might need to consider your priorities: Are you excuse-making or can you truly not handle the extra stress? Maybe the better food would help with the stress?
I don’t know. It’s none of my business. You know you.
7 – Know Your Budget
I could have combined this consideration with ‘Know Your Capacity’, but I thought it should stand alone.
Don’t go into debt because of some nutrition plan. If you have to choose standard green peppers instead of the organic variety, please do. Don’t guilt yourself into organic. I don’t think the gains in nutritional value are worth it if you’re stressing over cash.
Again, priorities might come into play. If a nutrition upgrade is worth it, update your budget and go for it! After all, if this is a foundation for everything else, perhaps it’s worth it.
Those Are My 7 – Do You Have Any Others?
I didn’t even touch on supplementation and all of that. I don’t know enough about those things to give you any suggestions.
What are other considerations when creating your own plan?
Am I missing something?
Drop me a note or leave it in the comments here.