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Thursday
Aug272009

Changing your nutrition habits? Don't bite off more than you can chew!

Written by Tom Nikkola - Director of Nutrition & Weight Management

If you've been exercising for a while, or spoken with a personal trainer, it's likely you've come across the topic of periodization. While this is a technique common in designing exercising programs, it may be just what you need to make big changes in nutrition as well.

Periodization is a well-known concept for developing training programs. It is a systematic way of changing a program over time to continue making improvements. Exercises are substituted or modified, training schedules are changed, rest periods are shortened or lengthened, etc. These changes take place with a methodical schedule to ensure your physique changes according to your needs and goals. Each week is some kind of step up from the previous week. Obviously, it would do more damage than good to attempt a workout you should be ready for in month four, during your first week.

Nutrition is much the same. One of the reasons people revert back to old habits is they attempt too many changes all at once. Many people find they are more successful by attempting small changes each week and building on the previous week. In our nutrition seminar, we talk about a series of habits you can work on over time. The idea is to make each one a habit before moving onto the next one.

For example, we know that taking a high-quality multivitamin and fish oil is a necessary part of a complete nutrition program for almost everyone. This is an easy first-step as it does not require changes in your schedule or modifications to what you're eating. Making that a habit for a week or more should provide a great sense of accomplishment. If you have success with your first habit, it's more likely you'll be excited to attempt the next change. Step two may be to become more aware of your total calories for the day, or to eat a well-balanced, higher protein breakfast. Either one of these will require a little more effort and change to your lifestyle than the first step, but should still be easily manageable. As time goes on, you can attempt more challenging changes to your lifestyle, such as eliminating sodas and juices, or finding a local farm to purchase your free-range, organic eggs.

Eating mostly whole-foods from organic sources, getting enough protein in your diet, supplementing appropriately, and all the other characteristics of a nutritious lifestyle are great goals to shoot for. Just be sure to take your time in doing so. Make each aspect of good nutrition a habit. If you try too much all at once, it can be difficult to stick with it all for the long run. Take on only as much as you can "digest," and "don't bite off more than you can chew." I know that's pretty cheesy, but hopefully it will help you remember this lesson. I would also strongly encourage you to take advantage of the next nutrition seminar coming up in your club. You can ask a Personal Trainer or Nutrition Coach when the next one will be, or be sure to check the Nutrition Page for upcoming Club-in-Club Events.

Written by Tom Nikkola - Director of Nutrition & Weight Management

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

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