Daily Dose of Coach #188: How to Start Eating Better

Alexander Pope said, "Not to go back is somewhat to advance. And men must walk, at least, before they dance."

Change in nutrition is the same thing. The hardest question to hear, yet simplest to answer from a new client is, "What diet should I go on?" It's hard to hear, because the mindset is in the wrong place. It's easy to answer because the answer is, start with one thing .

I've learned a lot as a coach about how people work. Going from a diet of primarily fast food, convenience foods, wine, diet soda and 1 glass of water a day to eliminating carbs or eating a Paleo diet just isn't going to happen. Instead, the goal is just looking to fix basic nutrient deficiencies.

I usually start by asking three questions. These are things they eat or do habitually on a daily basis:

  1. How much water do you drink a day?
  2. What is one thing you can completely cut out of your diet?
  3. What is one thing you could modify?

If they don't drink water, or enough water, I always start there. It's a simple way to get some early success and make the client start feeling better all the way around.

The second question could be soda, sugary drinks, more than two alcoholic beverages per night, fast food for lunch, snacks from the vending machine. I ask them if they are willing and able to eliminate this one thing. And if need be, I help them find a healthier replacement we can both agree on for them to try.

The third is something they can modify. This could be, instead of drinking two glasses of wine a night, they could go down to one (you've got to start somewhere right). Instead of eating nothing for breakfast, they could make a simple breakfast smoothie. If they have a problem with fast food, help them find a "healthier" option.

Then we commit to at least one of these things for the first seven days. If they are successful, we'll add another and so on.

The goal is changing the mindset. It's teaching to eat well so that the body gets the proper nutrients and starts functioning at a higher level. When you add this with a well thought out and progressive training program, they work hand in hand.

If you're just starting out, or need to get back to eating well, ask yourself the questions above. Start with and commit to one positive change and go from there.