Are you looking to make improvements to your nutrition but not sure where to start? We don’t blame you. There’s a buffet of diets out there to choose from, and who’s to say which—if any—is the best one for you. Plus, who wants to be on a diet anyway?
Instead, we like to meet our coaching clients where they are, helping guide them to where they want to be by making impactful, sustainable changes. For example, here are four things that we ask clients to track for a couple of weeks; sometimes all at once, sometimes one at a time. The goal is to create awareness and then move toward optimal.
Consider tracking one, two, three, or all these things for at least two weeks to see where you are.
Water. Optimal hydration is key to thinking clearly, energy levels, metabolism, physical performance, skin health, and more. It’s not surprising, considering that our bodies are about 60% water. Most people “know” that water is important, but they still don’t drink enough. Water needs can vary, but a good general guide is to drink 8 – 10 eight-ounce glasses of water per day.
Fiber. We like to call fiber a nutrition all-star. Most people know that eating enough fiber can help promote a healthy digestive tract and regularity, but fiber can also support healthy blood sugar levels, it’s heart healthy, and it can help keep you feeling full longer, which usually adds up to eating less and supporting a healthy body weight. You might be surprised, but most people only consume about 15 – 20 grams of fiber per day—which is a paltry amount compared to the recommended 30 – 40 grams.
Sugar. Sugar has become quite the scapegoat over the years, and when eaten in excess, there’s no debate that added sugar contributes to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative decline, and numerous other health issues. The problem is that most people are eating way too much. In fact, the average American consumes about 150 pounds of sugar a year, which works out to about 160 grams per day. That’s dramatically more than the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 25 – 36 grams per day.
Protein. If fiber is a nutrition all-star, then protein may be the nutrition MVP. Protein is the most satiating of all nutrients, helping keep you full and satisfied, and optimizing protein intake has consistently been shown to reduce body fat and improve body composition. It’s also important for boosting and preserving metabolic rate and for managing blood sugar. While an optimal protein intake can vary from person to person, a good starting point is to eat about 0.7 – 1.0 grams per pound of bodyweight per day.
For the next two weeks, consider tracking just one of these variables. Get an idea of where you relative to what may be optimal. Let us know how you’re doing!